8 Ways COVID-19 Impacts Global Safety Training Initiatives

Global Safety Training In A Time Of Crisis
Summary: How does the COVID-19 crisis affect your safety training program? In this article, I highlight 8 top ways the pandemic impacts workplace compliance strategies.

Global Safety Training In A Time Of Crisis

Coronavirus has forced organizations to reevaluate their current online training strategies. Even though many countries are now over the curve, the fallout is far-reaching. Face-to-face sessions have given way to online meet-ups due to social distancing and worldwide lockdowns. Though the pandemic has impacted virtually every aspect of business operations, safety training initiatives are particularly hard-hit. For example, companies must now incorporate COVID-19 protocols to ensure the well-being of their teams, from updating sanitary practices to orienting everyone with the new—spaced—office layout. Here are 8 ways the "new normal" impacts safety training on a global scale.

eBook Release: Safety Training Success For SMBs: How To Prep Your Team For A Post-Pandemic Workplace
eBook Release
Safety Training Success For SMBs: How To Prep Your Team For A Post-Pandemic Workplace
Find out how you can implement a successful health and safety training strategy in your organization.

1. Add A V To The ILT Strategy

Your traditional training sessions must move online. At least, for the time being, although many organizations might make it permanent once they reap the VILT rewards. If you choose to host on-site training events, employees must follow all the social distancing rules. This means you must find a larger space for ILT courses and increase your L&D budget. Virtual Instructor-Led Training allows you to gather everyone in one place remotely. Instructors can still impart their wisdom while attendees share ideas in real time. The key is finding the right web conferencing software for your team. Preferably, one that features built-in collaborative tools and video recording/editing so that you can add the event to your online training library.

2. Rethink Hands-On Training

Hands-on training is a bit tricky nowadays, even if employees are sporting gloves and face masks. Thus, organizations must rethink their real-world application strategy. Coronavirus online safety training courses should include simulations and branching scenarios that put everything into context. These resources also build experiential knowledge minus the risk. For instance, an office safety training simulation shows staffers how to thoroughly clean their workspace to prevent contamination. Or how to conduct meetings during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

3. Build Skills While Maintaining Social Distance

Skill-building is another aspect of training that’s negatively impacted by the pandemic. Employees used to be able to get together and cultivate soft skills. For example, group collab projects allowed them to learn from others’ experiences and identify hidden gaps. The new normal involves social distancing. As such, organizations must utilize learning tech to build vital skills. This may include task simulations, serious games, or live events to bring back the social learning element.

4. Adjust Compliance Certifications To Include COVID-19 Measures

Compliance certifications must now address COVID-19 protocols head-on so that employees know how to navigate related challenges and mitigate risks. For instance, your warehouse safety certs should reflect new handling procedures and storage guidelines. They may need to wear additional gear to prevent contamination, while service staffers must sanitize items that have been returned and remain behind the protective plastic barrier when interacting with customers.

5. Offer Flexible Online Training Schedules

Everyone’s dealing with new or exacerbated stressors as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Enact flexible online training schedules that make it easier for employees to earn updated certifications and complete the necessary safety courses. Keep in mind that many are dealing with school-aged children at home, tech hurdles, and other distractions on top of their usual workload. So, launch a JIT support library that features bite-sized online training tutorials, demos, and branching scenarios for convenient bridge gapping. Additionally, give employees the opportunity to pick and choose resources that align with personal preferences and online training needs.

6. Localize Safety Training Content To Reflect Regional Issues

Countries have handled the COVID-19 containment response differently and your global safety training initiatives must reflect regional regulations. For example, your team in the US must adhere to different rules than their German counterparts. State of alarms, lockdowns, and phase plans all play a role in compliance training. Thus, you might consider localization teams for each region to ensure your program addresses the key COVID-19 points. They also help you create content that’s culturally relevant and/or translate resources for maximum knowledge retention.

7. Use Collaborative Tools To Facilitate Remote Peer Support

While the physical impact of the coronavirus is a major concern, there are also psychological side effects to consider. Quarantine may lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness, and even depression in some cases. Employees are out of their usual work environment and separated from coworkers. But they must still maintain a regular schedule and tap into their peer support network. Use collaborative online training tools to facilitate peer feedback and build a stronger online community. For example, employees can log into the LMS or PM platform to chat with colleagues. They can share experiences, both personal and professional in order to bridge the geographical divide.

8. Optimize Safety Training Through Outsourcing

COVID-19 also creates a sense of urgency regarding global safety training initiatives. Time is of the essence because you must bring your team up to speed to minimize the impact on your profit margin. They need to know how pandemic safety measures pertain to their job duties and roles as well as how to avoid the most common hazards associated with the virus. Therefore, many organizations are turning to third-party content providers for office safety training. These vendors create bespoke online training content or supply off-the-shelf safety courses that expedite training implementation. Their insider expertise also helps you stretch available resources and address industry-specific online training challenges.

Every business must adapt to the new normal. However, international organizations face unique challenges related to the COVID-19 crisis. Every geographically dispersed team must adhere to different rules and regulations based on their location. But there’s also the issue of company-wide mandates that everyone must abide by to maintain high standards. For example, all employees are required to sanitize the workplace on a regular basis and follow certain protocols when meeting clients.

Health and safety training should be high on your list of L&D priorities, now more than ever. If you want to find everything you need in order to launch an effective safety training strategy for your organization, download the eBook Safety Training Success For SMBs: How To Prep Your Team For A Post-Pandemic Workplace and benefit from its valuable insights and best practices.

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