In today’s digital age, it’s no secret that the traditional workplace is gone. While organizations still maintain brick and mortar facilities, they’re leveraging digital technologies to expand their workforce and talent advantage by creating flexible work environments. This coupled with the fact that millennials — who now make up the majority of the workforce — came of age during the explosion of the internet, social media, and digital technologies, explains why digital learning has become such an important method for teaching and engagement.
But these days, digital learning is evolving beyond the basic online modules of classic learning management systems (LMS). Employees want more interaction, more insight, more convenience and more clarity to fuel their learning. By meeting these demands head-on, EHS professionals can better manage risk and compliance, and increase employee morale and productivity in the process. Considering the National Safety Council estimates U.S. companies spend $1 billion a week on direct workers’ compensation, the business case is strong for any program that can lighten the financial burden.
With increased scrutiny from the C-suite, EHS professionals can no longer ignore the numerous advancements in eLearning technology, even if adopting them surfaces some unique challenges along the way.
The Core of Corporate Learning Is Shifting
The first boon of eLearning for many organizations was the LMS, which essentially provided course catalogs. The LMS certainly isn’t dead, and in many cases, it has real value for organizations. After all, your LMS keeps track of registrations, facilitates consistent content delivery across the organization, and produces a set of analytics you can measure against your department’s training goals. The problem stems from low engagement rates and lackluster results.
Luckily, the traditional notion of what a course should be is gone. In its stead are platforms like Lynda.com, edX, and YouTube. In two short decades, we’ve gone from painfully long, page-turning courses to engaging videos, upbeat micro-learning experiences, mobile apps, and intelligent, adaptive learning experiences. But truly modern eLearning programs cannot be reduced to uploaded videos that learners access on their mobile devices.
Remote employees and younger workers seek unique, enjoyable experiences that engage their ambition, provide them with instant feedback, and recognize their achievements. Even more advanced tools that make use of interactive quizzes, gamification, and VR continue to emerge so that eLearning can keep pace with your workplace.
New Learning Imperatives = New EHS Responsibilities
Apart from engaging your employees with modern eLearning platforms, EHS folks must juggle a number of other responsibilities that can impact the overall success of corporate EHS training programs including:
1. Combating Compliance Fatigue
When employees stop viewing learning as something that can enhance their performance or fuel personal growth, they disengage with the content in and out the classroom. It’s the responsibility of EHS departments to advocate that companies take their EHS training programs beyond the bare minimum while still aligning with business goals.
2. Managing Strategy and Change
As the workplace and workforce continue to evolve, and new regulatory requirements crop up, there’s a need for increased strategy and change management. EHS professionals will need to step up and leverage their technical expertise to become agents of change within the organization, developing sustainable, high-level performance across levels and functions.
3. Measuring Success
To truly declare a health and safety program a success, companies must succeed in creating a proactive safety culture. Many organizations incentivize workers when their injury and illness rates drop, encouraging employees to sweep incidents under the rug. EHS professionals should instead look to reward employees who demonstrate critical values in line with the process training they have received. As safety gaps emerge, EHS experts can use greater transparency to dig into data and training materials to strengthen their program.
The Major Need: Blending Digital Learning with Traditional Coaching in EHS Training
The most effective safety training method has long been a subject of debate. Digital learning options and resources are essential for keeping up with technology and changing workforce demands, but that doesn’t mean completely disregarding the value of human interaction either.
One of the keys to successful learning is employee engagement, which transforms passive learners into active learners. From our perspective, blending online scenario-based simulation with in-person classroom training is one of the most strategic ways to ensure consistency and gauge learning progress.
No matter the path you choose, finding the right balance between digital and face-to-face interactions is imperative if you want to develop a sustainable health and safety culture across your organization.
Empower your employees with the confidence, knowledge, and skills they need to create and maintain a safe work environment. Learn more about designing your own custom EHS training program and get started today.
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