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Training: Are you engaging your employees?

yawn-smThe Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), as amended by Bill 168, and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) have created a high demand for professional-calibre workplace training services.

There is training, and then there is engaging training. I know that employees don’t line up outside in the cold to get tickets to my training events. Most employees feel they are being punished when they are scheduled to attend harassment prevention workshops. And maybe they are. I am very often asked to provide training following an incident where a worker’s human rights have been abused.

While setting up for a recent workshop, I overheard a participant remark:

“We have been targeted; that’s why we’re here.”

Because one person often reflects the sentiments of the group, I knew I had my work cut out for me with this particular group and that I needed to engage these people and get them to talk to me about what was going on. Have you heard the expression, “be careful what you ask for?”

Talk they did.

The details of what they told me are, of course, confidential. The point is, I realized from the outset that I needed to toss out my prepared agenda and “wing it” with this group, in order to gain their confidence and conclude the session with a positive message the participants could take away with them. Before the end of the workshop participants had replaced defiant glares with smiles and nods of agreement and understanding. I saw their defensive body language disappear as the participants realized I really was there to help them and not to lecture them.

The overwhelmingly positive feedback participants provided at the conclusion of training informed me my decision to “wing it” was the right one.

Read about a similar experience by my good friend and colleague Jill Malleck.

Are you engaging employees during training, or simply delivering information?

Andrew Lawson
Human Rights Advisor, Learn Don’t Litigate

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Andrew Lawson

Trainer and advisor at Learn Don't Litigate
Andrew Lawson is a human rights and health and safety trainer and advisor, currently consulting to both the federal and Ontario governments. Since 1996, he has conducted extensive legal research in the areas of human rights and occupational health and safety law. He has worked in the people management business for over 25 years. Read more
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One thought on “Training: Are you engaging your employees?
  • Susan Trevers says:

    My employer makes elaborate attempts to provide interesting and meaningful annual training sessions to all employees. Most of my staff enjoy these and I love preparing for & delivering them. Of course, there are always the few who think they know everything and should not be required to attend any training sessions.