Is It Too Much? Virtual Safety Training

future, technology and people concept - man in futuristic glasses
Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Let it be said that Health and Safety training has not always had the greatest reception in most organizations. It is often perceived as dry, directive, outdated and, due to the mandatory nature of several Health and Safety components, simply a ‘must-do’ in order to get on with the business of the day.

It is no wonder that most employers are looking for effective and engaging methods to change how health and safety training is delivered in the modern workplace.

Enter virtual safety training.

Using existing virtual technology, employers can now offer simulated settings to any workplace that provide the feeling of a real-life situation in a safe and secure environment.

Human Condition Systems has developed virtual training programs for numerous environments. These programs simulate potentially dangerous work settings so that workers can develop effective responses to extremely stressful situations. The most recent program introduced by Human Condition Systems is a virtual training tool which can be used to prepare workplaces and employees to respond to active shooting situations.

Click here to read the article and watch the promotional clip.

As Canadians we may not perceive this type of ‘extreme’ training tool as necessary. We pride ourselves on having low incidents of violent workplace shootings but they do exist. Perhaps the introduction of this type of technology will allow for more discussion, more engagement and more safety preparedness linked to the possibilities of real threats to and within our current workplaces.

If a virtual reality program helps save one person’s real life in the workplace, then maybe the time has come for this change.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What types of industries do you think would benefit from offering virtual safety training to employees?
  2. What types of risks might be related to the introduction of virtual safety training in Canadian workplaces?
  3. What was your reaction to the video clip embedded in this article?


Is Technology the Great Equalizer?

Blind person using computer

Most of us are able to access a myriad of information and training opportunities through the effective use of communication technology. Some members of our respective communities, however, are not able to access the same information and training opportunities because the technology is, for them, inaccessible.

The issue of accessibility to training, development, and employment is a huge barrier for persons with disabilities.  In many cases, this barrier can be eliminated through effective modifications or enhancements of technology, so that persons with disabilities can access training programs provided by technology-based delivery platforms and devices. When individuals who are disabled are given the tools to access training programs, they are able to access the future, just like everyone else.

Recently, a successful training program for persons with vision loss or who are blind, was implemented in South Africa.

Read an article on the training program

It is interesting to note that the resources used to provide training to persons who are blind or partially sighted are already available through Apple touch technologies. This availability knocks down a second barrier that gets in the way of hiring persons with disabilities. These technologies are not only available, they are also affordable. No longer do employers have to argue about the cost considerations involved in providing modified or adapted equipment for persons with disabilities. The technology is in itself adapted and modified to fit multiple employee needs without additional cost.

With accessibility and affordability obstacles out of the way, a disabled person who is trained in the effective use of technology should have fewer barriers preventing them from their rightful access to equal employment.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Identify three different types of accessibility functions that are available on your own personal technology devices. How do these accessibility functions assist persons who may be partially sighted?
  2. What types of technology based training programs do you think can be modified easily for persons with disabilities?
  3. As an HR Practitioner, how will you ensure that your workplace training programs are accessible to employees with disabilities?

Motivation with Meaning

Motivational word graphic
Source: Kheng Guan Toh/Shutterstock

Motivation is one of the fundamental principles linked to effective employee training and development. It is pretty simple – If employees are motivated to learn, they will learn, if employees are not motivated to learn, they will not learn. The more employees are able to learn, the more connected they will feel to the organization. When employees are not connected to the organization, organizational growth and positive employee engagement just does not happen.

As highlighted in our Training and Development studies, motivation comes in two forms:  extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic rewards are fairly standard in that they rely mostly on compensation based systems. It is a bit more difficult to build intrinsic reward systems as these rely on individual value based connections that may vary from employee to employee. From a value based perspective, however, the more difficult things are, the more important they become. This also applies to the development of intrinsic reward systems.

According to the Ivey Business Journal, intrinsic rewards are more important that ever, given a historical pattern that shows significant decreases in rigidly structured and directive driven organizations.

Click Here to Read the Article

As noted in this article, implementation of effective intrinsic rewards systems begin with management training on what intrinsic rewards ‘feel’ like. By developing a concrete understanding for the ‘feel’ of intrinsic rewards, the hope is that those managers will re-create a similarly positive feeling state for employees that report to them.

It is important to note that this article does not advise or advocate for the abandonment of all extrinsic rewards systems.  From a Human Resources perspective, we can learn from this advice by developing a solid blend of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards systems that act as motivators for excellence both for ourselves and for the organizations that we serve.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Thinking about your own work experience, how do extrinsic rewards influence your work performance?
  2. What are intrinsic motivators that drive you to be successful in your career?
  3. From a Human Resources perspective, how can an organization be explicit about rewarding performance from a value based, internal motivation system using the four steps identified in the article?
  4. Why is it so important to have management training based on intrinsic reward systems?
  5. Is striving for excellence an internal or external motivator for you?
  6. Why does excellence in employee performance matter?

How To Keep On Learning – Read on, read on , read on!

How does the HR professional keep on top of their industry?   Like any other seasoned professional, continuous off-the-job (OTJ) training and development is required. There are many ways to stay current; conferences, TED talks, or reading current management journals.

One of the most effective methods of OTJ training is reading – but what should the HR professional read? Material vetted by a reliable source is essential! Harvey Schachter, a regular contributor to the business pages of the Globe and Mail recently created a list of his choices.  Schacter’s list has a few different categories and titles that should capture the interests of an HR Professional; including, Work Rules, Power Score, and Hiring For Keeps.  

Here is the list from Harvey Schachter:

  1. Work Rules! by Laszlo Bock
  2. Power Score by Geoff Smart
  3. Hiring For Keeps by Janet Webb
  4. Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter
  5. Transitions at the Top by Dan Ciampa and David Dotlich
  6. The 27 Challenges Managers Face by Bruce Tulgan
  7. The Wallet Allocation Rule by Timothy Keiningham, Lerzan Aksoy and Luke Williams
  8. Leadership BS by Jeffrey Pfeffer
  9. Your Strategy Needs a Strategy by Martin Reeves, Knut Haanaes and Janmejaya Sinha
  10. I Know How She Does It by Laura Vanderk

Click here to read the article.

After reviewing the list, which books look interesting to you?  Perhaps that is a topic you should explore as part of your OTJ training development!

Discussion Questions:

  1. If an organization wants to become a true learning organization, what are some strategies that the organization can implement to encourage OTJ professional reading and development?
  2. What strategies could a HR Department implement to encourage employee to employee transfer of knowledge?

Who Says Management Training Can’t Be Fun?

What a great time it is to be a leader!  There are so many different training techniques and programs for management and leadership development.  Where once there were only traditional management programs focusing on the serious, hard side of business leadership, now the menu of options includes unconventional approaches for much needed leadership development of soft skills.

Source: Kues/Shutterstock
Source: Kues/Shutterstock

A fresh approach on the scene is improvisational training for organizational managers and leaders.

Click here to read the article.

One of the more intriguing leadership tools that this type of training promotes is the practice of saying ‘yes, and’ instead of ‘yes, but’, which is, according to the article, just ‘no, in a tuxedo’.  When leaders  promote a ‘yes’ approach it opens the door to possibilities and opportunities. Does this mean that a leader needs to agree by saying yes to everything that is put in front of them?  Probably not.  What it does mean, is that it is important for leaders to learn how to shape their reactions in a positive way instead of just shutting ideas, and the people with those ideas, down.  This skill takes a lot of development and practice.

Management training should offer the opportunity to develop  positive reactive and responsive skills for effective organizational leadership.  Improv training might be an effective way to get this done.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How would you benefit from improv training in a leadership role?
  2. From all of the management and leadership training programs discussed in your course of study, which one would be the most effective?
  3. Do you think improv training is just a trend or is it a program that will find a sustainable future?
  4. If you had to recommend a particular manager for improv training, who would that be and why would you recommend them?