Consistent in-service trainings are essential for keeping your staff sharp and up-to-date on emergency protocol. The unfortunate truth about in-service trainings, however, is that they are often ineffective. In-service trainings become ineffective when the content becomes stale, the delivery of information becomes routine, and the staff is not fully engaged.
It’s never the intention to have ineffective or boring in-service trainings - it just happens. Recently SAI discussed effective in-service training tactic with facility managers and SAI’s Director of Quality Assurance and Improvement, Lake White. The discussion highlighted three important keys for effective in-service trainings.
- Know your needs and make a plan. Be aware of what your staff weaknesses are, and cater your in-service trainings to address those areas that need improvement. Create a specific plan before each in-service, so as not to waste time or lose the focus of your staff.
- Keep it lively. Theoretical discussion or watching someone else do something makes an in-service quickly turn stale. Keep your staff moving and actively engaged in what is being discussed or reviewed. Team-building exercises that incorporate skill-building help keep staff engaged, as well as promote staff cooperation. Competitive games are also effective for sharpening your staff’s skills, while keeping everyone eager to participate in the process.
- Put the pieces together. If in-service trainings always focus on a single component of protocol, your staff may operate more like an assembly line than a lifesaving team. Each person may attach to one element of the emergency protocol but may not fully understand the entire process. This becomes an issue when an incident occurs and your staff, who has been present for hours of in-service training, is not able to execute the emergency action plan (EAP) properly. Practice your EAP from beginning to end, leaving out no minor detail. This consistent rehearsal of your EAP will not only get your staff well-acquainted with the emergency protocol, but it will also allow you to evaluate weaknesses that need be addressed during later in-service trainings.