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Training and development – your organization needs a plan!

Training employees is a compliance issue—even if your organization is not in Quebec.  In Quebec organizations are legislated to direct 1 percent of total payroll to be allocated to eligible training costs.

However in Ontario and other provinces, various Health and Safety and other legislation pertaining to training also mean that employee training is mandatory.  Budgeting 1 percent is probably not enough!

This article is going to look at developing your annual training plan from a tri-level approach to training needs analysis. The three levels are: 

  1. the organizational level
  2. the department level
  3. the employee level

Within the three levels it is helpful to consider the following three categories of training needs:

  1. Compliance training
  2. Risk management training
  3. Development—growth training

Examples of the categories of training will be identified at each level.  Much of the compliance and risk-management training will be applicable to many different types of organizations.  The individual employee level training and organizational development & growth will be specific to your organization.

Level 1:  Organization

Training goals for the organization as a whole are set by the Board of Directors, the CEO and the external legislative environment.  Examples of training needs that would be identified at the organizational level will be organized by the 3 categories.

  1. Compliance training examples at the organization level:
  • AODA training:  all employees must have training about the Accessibility for all Ontarians with Disability Act.  Training is also required about the interaction of the Human Rights Code and the AODA.
  • Bill 168 – Workplace Violence and Harassment: employees need training on your workplace violence and harassment programs and policies.
  • Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC): depending on the size of your organization, one or more employee member of the JHSC must have industry specific JHSC certified training
  • Mandatory Health and Safety Awareness training for Workers and Supervisors. This is not an annual training requirement – but all new workers and supervisors need this training.  As the Ministry of Labour has recently (Nov 2014) expanded the definition of worker to include coop students & interns and unpaid learners – all Health and Safety training requirements are also applicable them.
  • First Aid training: depending on the size of your organization, you are required to have one or more trained first aiders on site at all times.
  • Health and Safety training; including WHMIS, slips trips and falls, PPEs and incident reporting.
  1. Risk management training example at the organization level:
  • Mental Health First Aid training.  Considering the June 2014 Ontario Human Rights Commission Policy on prevention of discrimination based on mental health disabilities and the recent WSIB shift regarding claims of mental illness caused by work – this is a risk management training well worth it for the entire organization.
  1. Development training example at the organizational level:
  • Ensure all employees are aware of and able to communicate the your organization’s revised vision and values statement.

Level 2:  Department

  1. Compliance training examples at the department level:
  • Ensure all employees have training certificates needed for their department. This may include fork-lift training, food handling certificates or any industry specific training.  For example the retirement home industry has extensive training requirements legislated by the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority.
  • Job/task specific orientation and health and safety training for all tasks; including possible hazards, and policies and procedures such as the proper donning of personal protective equipment. A position specific orientation checklist is highly recommended with a sign-off for both the supervisor and the employee.
  1. Risk management training example at the department level:
  • Managers and supervisors need a higher level of training regarding your company policies and procedures in a number of key risk areas such as: absence management, progressive discipline, return to work, incident reporting, diversity management, conflict resolution, hiring and termination.
  1. Development training example at the department level:
  • Training on an as needed basis on any new procedures or processes.
  • Training around team structure or team goals.

Level 3:  Employee

  1. Compliance training examples at the employee level:
  • Some professions have on-going professional development requirements or required annual certification such as a radiation control specialists, nurses and even CHRPs!
  • Companies may support on-going certification and professional development or they may make it a condition of employment that employee certificates are kept up to date.
  • Court ordered diversity or sensitivity training requirement for an employee (for example as the outcome of a human rights tribunal decision).
  1. Risk management training example at the employee level:
  • Training on new procedures and processes.
  • It is always advisable to have at least one manager or member of your HR team extensively trained on workplace investigations and documentation of the investigations.
  1. Development training examples at the employee level:
  • This training will be individually decided between the employee and manager. It is often identified as a training need or skill gap and set as a training plan during the performance management process.    Improved Excel skills are a good example.
  • Cross-training of employees – for cross-pollination of departments, labour flexibility and succession planning for mid-range positions.
  • Leadership training of employees with high growth potential for succession planning for key positions.

Having an annual training plan, tracking with the plan, holding managers & employees accountable to the plan and documenting completed training will contribute to compliance, risk management and the ongoing development of a learning organization.  Happy learning!

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Marcia Scheffler

Human Resources Generalist at Wawel Villa
Marcia Scheffler, M.A., CHRP Candidate is a Human Resources Generalist with M.A. working full-time as a Senior HR Officer. She is interested in the intersection of human resources theory and current best practices in HR. Read more
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