How to encourage staff training

Everyone's days are busy, filled with plenty to do and get finished. So sometimes things that seem 'optional' get left until last on the priority list, and this unfortunately often includes completing training. 

As an employer, your Health and Safety responsibilities extend beyond being able to demonstrate that you have paid for or organised training, it's important to be able to show that staff have in fact been trainedSo how can you make sure that your staff is actually completing the training that you've made available?

Here are 10 tips to consider. We have had some feedback that the modules part of Fleetcoach in particular are often left low on the priority list for staff, so these tips are written with these modules in mind. But they can be applied to any kind of training at all!

1. Allocate time for the training to be completed - this may seem straightforward but it's really important. If staff feel as though they are being given 'yet another thing' to do on top of their current workload, their initial response will be a negative one. Instead, try and provide some extra time for the training to be completed. The Fleetcoach modules are all about 10-20 minutes long, so perhaps identify 10-20 minutes in the workday that aren't spoken for, and make that time the 'module completion' time. Could you allow a staff member to leave a less important meeting 10 minutes early? Or identify a day where it would be possible to finish slightly earlier/take a longer lunch break, in exchange for the training to be completed another day?

2. Develop a culture of learning in your workplace - so that individuals are accustomed to training being a part of their daily business. It doesn't have to be paid or expensive training, but try and emphasise learning on a regular basis, so that a new piece of learning doesn't seem surprising and strange. Some ways of doing this are to include training in contracts, talk about it in performance reviews, include opportunities in company mailouts, have admin staff search for relevant teaching information that can be forwarded around and discussed, or even allow 3 minutes at the start of every meeting for someone to present one new thing they've learnt. 

3. Management should do the training first! This is a nice easy way to get buy-in. If no one from the upper levels of the organisation has done the training, staff will know. They will feel as though they're being asked to do something that their managers can't be bothered with. Ask managers to be visible with their training, and discuss what they've learnt, commenting honestly if they felt it was at all enjoyable. 

4. Do part of the training together as a group. This is a nice idea to help people 'get started'. Fleetcoach modules are online, so have a big screen available and log into your account and begin the module together. This helps eliminate initial reluctance and helps with familiarity. 

5. Offer rewards for completion. We all know rewards work better than punishment! If you routinely give acknowledgments for the first person to complete training, people will begin to expect this and associate completion with something positive. It doesn't have to be a specific reward item, or even a gift of any kind - even just someone's name on a whiteboard visible for all to see, or some special staff privilege for the week (the best carpark? choice of Friday snacks?) could be a great boost. Competition is another element you can make use of here - who can name 3 facts they learnt? Who can suggest a change to the company Health and Safety policy based on the module contents?

6. Offer support. Try to identify roadblocks and assist where you can. Has someone lost a password and is too embarrassed to say? Or is someone a bit nervous about using a computer to complete training? Anonymous feedback forms can be helpful here, or a quick round of everyone who has yet to complete, and a quick non-judgemental conversation about whether there's anything that can be provided to help. 

7. Have clear expectations and communicate these. What would you like staff to do with their training? By when? If it seems optional, it will come last on their list. If you want half done by the end of the week and a checkin that covers when the rest will be done, say this clearly. And ask people upfront if they see any issues with the expectation. Ie, if they know they will be away/busy through the week you want the training completed, identify this at the beginning and identify an alternative plan. This avoids the 'I didn't have the time' excuse after the fact. A good question to ask is 'what would stand in the way of this being finished by next Thursday?' And then really listen to the answer.

8. Remind staff why they’re doing the training. You haven't chosen the training to give staff something extra to do. You've chosen it because it works, because staff safety is important, and because you're a responsible employer. Driver safety in particular is close to many people's hearts, and your efforts to save lives should be part of the motivation for completion. Ask the training provider to provide a list of benefits of their training. Fleetcoach training has a great many positives that employees may never get to hear about, especially if they're just sent a login and asked to do it. Humans operate much better when they know why they're doing something. So tell your staff the 'why' behind the instruction. 

9. Make sure they know it’s not school! There's nothing worse than feeling disempowered. Remind your staff that within the boundaries of their contracts, they are in charge of their workdays and how they spend their time. Emphasise that the training isn't testing, and that no-one can be expelled. Fleetcoach modules are not 'marked', and there is no way to 'fail'. For those who might be nervous about this possibility, this may help allay those fears. It's always better if individuals have made a choice to comply, so help this be an easy choice to make. 

10. Ask people to talk about it outside the training. Make some time for a discussion about what was in the training. This helps those who haven't completed it as though they are missing something important, and helps anchor the learning so it lasts even longer once completed. It also makes the experience one of teamwork rather than completion in isolation. 

One more general thing to remember is that as with most things we as humans need to do, the thought of doing the work is often much harder than actually getting on and doing it. Everyone who has ever procrastinated doing anything will know what this is like! So try not to feel as though staff are deliberately being lazy, ungrateful or disobedient. It's likely just a very normal human behaviour taking place - putting something off. Once they start, they will probably actually enjoy it!

If you have any specific challenges involving staff completing their driver training, or Fleetcoach modules specifically, we'd be happy to chat it over and see if we can make any suggestions that would help. Contact us and we'll see what we can do.