A training course is a relatively low investment and can go a long way to increasing the safety of your business travellers. But far from being a ‘one-and-done’ activity or a tick-box exercise here’s how you can ensure that your training sessions deliver maximum value, impact and employee engagement. From our many years of delivering Inclusive Traveller Safety Courses, some companies have really stood out due to their excellent execution.
Attending a training course is an investment of people’s time and comes at the cost of not doing something else. A poorly attended course can be a ‘bit of a flop’ and won’t have the same energy as one where you have a bigger, enthusiastic group of attendees. Whether it’s online or in-person people need to understand the benefits to them of investing this time.
Excellent pre-course communication is the key. Much like your external marketing communication you need to think about the timing, avoid out of hours, Friday afternoons, last minute emails. Send regular reminders, and use multi-channels. Besides the obvious email communications, we’ve seen pop-ups on the travel booking intranet, posters in the lifts and engaging internal diversity networks to get the message out. Next make, sure that the communication is engaging, catchy and clearly sells the benefits of attending. Get your attendees excited about that time they are going to spend together.
The duration of the course will depend on your company culture and what has worked well for other training courses. For some companies, a full day training course is the norm but for others we’ve condensed courses into 90-minutes. Next, think about the actual timeslot that the course will run. Avoid the ‘graveyard shift’ just after lunch for example.
Onsite or offsite, the venue or meeting room can make a huge difference to the success of the course. Make the venue easy to get to, remove the barriers to attendance and think about the environment you are creating. Make sure the venue is accessible and that everybody can see and engage with the presenters. If the venue is too warm, delegates will fall asleep, too cold and they will just be incredibly uncomfortable. Provide beverages including fresh water. Consider whether you can run a hybrid course, making it inclusive and cost-effective at the same time.
Think about what you can do to ensure that the learning sticks beyond the training course. Will you run refresher courses, supplement the course with other training assets such as short videos or animations, run refresher courses or hand out post-course material such as concertina cards with handy top tips?
Recording a course could be one way to stretch its impact by showing a recording of the session to new starters or to those who were unable to attend. The decision to record depends on a number of factors and most importantly that of respecting people’s privacy, if delegates have shared something deeply personal within the confines of the group.
Be aware that any kind of course which has an element of personal safety may remind delegates of disturbing incidents which have happened to them in the past. Make sure that the training company you work with can deliver in a psychologically safe environment and that you have the necessary resources or people to signpost employees to if disturbing memories are triggered. This could be a trusted person, or an Employee Assistance Programme.
By creating a safe space, employees are more likely to share their experiences in an open and honest way. This can be incredibly helpful for the individual concerned who can start to get any help or support that they need but also gives you really important feedback as to where your travel safety programmes or suppliers might be failing. You may find that you may learn so much more than what was on the course curriculum.
The experiences your employees share with you will provide invaluable opportunities to take practical and immediate action. One company provided all employees with door wedges and books on personal safety after running a Road Warrior training course after employees shared their concerns. Another set up a women’s network and reviewed a number of policies around deploying women overseas in fragile environments. Others have created online forums and communities for business travellers to share their tips and advice.
Outsourcing the entire experience to a third-party training company doesn’t work as well as taking a more collaborative approach. In most training courses we uncover gaps in the knowledge of the employees relating to internal processes or resources that your internal teams can better talk to. For example it might relate to your company travel policy, how find specific information or report an incident concerning an colleague. Having somebody from the travel team or the travel security team adds huge value to the sessions and provides a new medium to share information and builds deeper relationships amongst your employees.
In some instances, closed courses such as women’s traveller safety training, exclusively attended by women creates a safe space to discuss very specific topics relating to gender. There has been a tendency however to expand the conversation to all employees to build awareness and allyship across different minority groups and garner a better understanding of the risks that employees different to you are facing. It could be how does a deaf colleague know there’s a hotel fire, or that chronic fatigue syndrome means that somebody’s flight schedule needs to be adapted or that your colleague feels incredibly uncomfortable when they are inevitably pulled out of an airport security queue, simply because of the colour of their skin. Watch this video to see some more examples.
And finally, measure the impact, make sure you get feedback from delegates so that you can continuously improve the learning experience. Ask them what more they need and what they will do differently as a result of the training.
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