Client Success Story: Improving Safety Audits

Blended Learning, Clear Benefits

Reimagining an Essential Training Program

The more complex and critical the skill, the more important it becomes to get the training right. That is never truer than when safety is on the line.

In our client’s case, effective training could literally save lives. The Fortune 10 energy company needed to better prepare its Health, Environment and Safety (HES) auditors to conduct consistent, quality audits of high-risk business processes. As the bar was raised for the auditors’ performance, the company also needed to take the training program for this critical job role to a new level. They partnered with Expressworks’ Learning Solutions group to revamp the program.

Content and timing were key

Despite the fact that auditing was considered a part-time, ancillary responsibility, it required a huge skill set beyond the participants’ primary expertise. Our discovery process found that the existing training program covered too much material in too little time, with too little practice afforded to the auditors. Furthermore, the training format relied too much on the expertise of instructors (a group with high turnover rates), and the material was heavy on outmoded, unengaging PowerPoint presentations. Making matters more difficult for the auditors, the training was being scheduled too far in advance of the actual audit, which meant auditors had trouble retaining everything they’d learned.

Simply put, becoming a good auditor was quite a challenge. It was our job to make it easier. Expressworks helped the client identify and sort through these issues before recommending a fresh approach to this critical program.

Right way, right time

We shaped our solution by identifying all required knowledge and skills for auditors, including a break-down of prerequisite skills versus what needed to be taught. From there, we decided on an optimal delivery format and timing for each competency. In other words, some fundamental skills could be taught through e-learning, while more nuanced, interpersonal topics would be best delivered in a facilitator-led, classroom session or through mock on-the-job experiences. More complex skills could also be taught over a longer time period.

The end result was a carefully crafted mix of learning activities, timed appropriately with actual audits to encourage retention. We developed new training presentations and materials that used more images, audio and video to make the content interactive and engaging. Classroom sessions provided opportunities to practice critical skills and receive coaching from experts. Finally, conducting a full mock audit helped auditors learn to prepare for the job and address mistakes in a simulated environment.

Meaningful returns

To support the complex auditing skillset, we provided an illustrated reference guide that auditors could refer to on the job with process reminders, written examples and reference tools. To help ensure the training was paying off, we also developed a more effective evaluation system to gauge how well auditors were implementing the skills they’d learned.

From the power of professional learning techniques came many positive results. Auditors can do a better job with more confidence. The company is delivering more consistent, higher-quality audits, which help assure that operational excellence is followed throughout the organization. And thousands of employees, communities and environments are safer because of it.

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