September 28, 2020

Using the correct training method for…anyone

Written by Robert D. Sollars

What training method should you use to train your employees? Whether they are security staff or not, they need to have the training, orientation, on-going, or refresher. And no matter the reason for the training you have to ensure that the method is engaging, interactive, effective, & efficient.

No business likes to spend financial resources on training. Some realize that it’s necessary. Others…eh, not so much. Many managers believe anything beyond orientation is dubious at best, I know that for a fact because I’ve run into more than a few of them. And it is usually those companies that need it the most.

Many employees will be, and are, reluctant. Some have been around for so long they “know it all & don’t need any more”. Others will believe they aren’t being paid enough. Yet others will readily accept the additional training for several reasons. The key to training your employees is to let them know that they are valuable and that you appreciate what they do. As in Customer service, they never hear it enough. They usually own hear when an f*** up occurs, and that just leads to them becoming disillusioned and demoralized.

Writing and implementing a training program is not the easiest thing to accomplish. A couple of things necessary to happen first or it can become a grand failure.

  • Gathering the necessary materials.
  • Picking an instructor, which is definitely preferable, or ‘teaching aids’
  • Scheduling to reach the most people within the organization in the allotted time
  • Most importantly, what training method will you utilize?

You may not think much about this aspect of your training but it is important. If you pick the wrong kind of training, then it will be ignored, and conveniently forgotten by virtually everyone. Pick the right one and they’ll soak it up & talk about it later. You may be asking now, how many different ways are there of training, besides sitting them and lecturing them about whatever?

  • Videos
  • Posters
  • Lectures
  • Books, manuals, or audio recordings
  • KISS
  • Socratic

Let me attempt to explain why I think each works or doesn’t;

  • Videos – Strictly using videos you risk putting your audience to sleep, especially if you’re trying to instruct after the shift is over. If you have instructors around at the same time it’s better but not efficient due to the expenditure of financial resources.
  • Posters – a silent way of getting the word out. The problem is that you’ll never know if the appropriate people have even read it and if you have people who are blind or visually impaired…
  • Lectures – This is as bad as videos. Pick the wrong lecturer and you’ll put everyone to sleep no matter if you have gallons of coffee and interesting material.
  • Books, manuals, or audio recordings – Should we revisit plain videos and a monotone dull lecturer?
  • KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid will go a long way in achieving your training goals. Small digestible segments in a succinct manner which the audience understands. Not overly flowery or verbose verbiage for them to comprehend. Like printed materials are designed at a 6th-grade level, so should this be.
  • Socratic Method – I call this method making the audience train themselves. And it is very effective & efficient.

This, along with KISS, is what I prefer in conducting my training, workshops, or even simple discussions about security topics. Simply put, you ask open-ended questions and expect them to come up with the correct answer. If necessary, they sit and stew. Giving them the answer is the last resort.

You don’t necessarily give them enough to answer the question to answer effectively, but enough to start a dialogue amongst the audience. Just a short quick question is all you need.

Some won’t answer very well in this situation because it makes them uncomfortable. And why does it make them uncomfortable? Mainly, because they’ve never been trained that way and they aren’t used to giving the answers but rather having the answers given to them.

  • The Key

The emphasis in all of this is to know your employees thoroughly. If you know they wish to be detached and not interact, or trust, with management, then use posters or videos. On the other hand, if they are a lively bunch and regularly have talkback amongst themselves and supervisors, then maybe the Socratic Method will work best.

As for KISS. That goes for everyone. If you’re speaking to college graduates then you can speak at a higher level. If you’re only talking to high school graduates or less then… But by no means underestimate them. Some of your ‘lower level learners’ will grasp your material faster when spoken to at a higher level & likewise with your college graduates, they won’t be able to grasp the material.

The last point in training them? Doesn’t matter if they are security officers or front-line employees in a manufacturing plant or office?

You have to know your employees before you can train them. If there is a great deal of mistrust with management… But if they do trust you, then practically any method will work to efficiently & effectively give them the information they need to be successful.

I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear

Copyright 2020 Robert D. Sollars

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