Using the correct training method for…anyone

by todaystrainingblog

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 ran into a few of them. And it is usually those companies that need it the most, whether customer service or security.

Many employees will be, and are, reluctant to get trained. 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 in 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.

Writing and implementing your employee training program is not the easiest thing to accomplish. You need to do a couple of things first.

  • Gathering the necessary materials.
  • Picking an instructor or ‘teaching aids’
  • Scheduling to reach the most employees 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 all of your employees. Pick the right one and they’ll soak it up & talk about it later. So how many different ways are there of training?

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

Let me briefly explain why 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 (money).
  • Posters-a silent way of getting the word out. The problem is that you’ll never know if the employees have taken it to heart or even read it. But a good reminder of the training.
  • Lectures-This is as bad as plain 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.
  • Socratic-I call this making the audience train themselves. And it is very effective & efficient.

I prefer the Socratic Method along with KISS in conducting my training, workshops, or even simple discussions about security topics. So exactly how do you conduct a session in the Socratic Method? Simply put, you ask open ended questions and expect them to come up with the correct answer. If you have to, let them sit and stew for a bit. Giving them the answer is a 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 that you need in this instance. Don’t grill them like a dungeon master, just be casual about it and let them think about the question.

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 talk back amongst themselves and supervisors, then maybe the Socratic Method will work best.

But 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 under estimate them. Some of your ‘lower level learners’ will grasp your material faster when spoken to in a higher level & likewise with your college gaduates, they won’t be able to grasp the material.

And what is the last main point in training your employees, whether they are security officers or front line employees in a manufacturing plant? The same as I stated 2 paragraphs above. 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.


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

                                 I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear