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March 05, 2007
How (and Why) to Get Feedback About Your Safety Training

Training's done, so your job's done, too, right? Wrong! A successful training program isn't complete without an evaluation of training effectiveness. It's important to know whether trainees learned what they needed to learn in training to work safely on the job. And you won't know that unless you ask them. Don't forget to ask trainers and supervisors (who might or might not be the same person) for their feedback as well. Without feedback from all angles about the effectiveness of your training programs, you could be wasting a lot of time and money.

What kind of information do you need? Feedback about safety training helps you assess future training needs and develop effective plans for meeting those needs. That means the input you get about your training programs needs to answer questions such as:

  • Was training delivered as planned, on time, and to the appropriate employees?
  • Which training methods worked well with which topic and trainees, and which methods failed to achieve desired objectives?
  • Can you identify any specific problems that interfered with the overall effectiveness of a training session?
  • How effective were trainers at engaging trainees and conveying information?
  • How did training affect employee performance?
  • Did it satisfy regulatory requirements?
  • Were all stated goals achieved? If not, why?

How can you get the answers? One way to get the answers you need is to evaluate your training programs from four perspectives.

1. Ask for input. You need feedback from trainees on both content and presentation. This is easily accomplished by using uniform feedback forms to be completed by trainees immediately following the session. Feedback forms usually ask questions about the program such as:

  • Were the objectives of the session clearly stated?
  • Do you think the training achieved its objectives?
  • How would you rate the content of the program?
  • How helpful do you think the training will be in performing your job safely and effectively?
  • How can we improve this training program?

Feedback forms should also ask about trainer effectiveness. For example: Was the trainer well prepared? Did the trainer's presentation hold your interest? Was the presentation clear? Did the trainer answer all your questions?

Why It Matters...
  • You spend a lot of time and money on safety training, so if it isn't meeting objectives, you're wasting valuable resources.
  • The best way to find out if training is working is to get input from trainees, supervisors, and trainers.
  • Feedback ensures that the information and skills taught during training sessions and required for regulatory compliance is getting back to the worksite and being used by employees on the job.
  • Feedback also helps you improve the quality and effectiveness of your training programs.

You also want to talk to trainers and trainees' supervisors following a session to get their thoughts about its effectiveness and to hear any suggestions they have for improving the program next time around.

2. Measure learning. In order to know what trainees learned during a session, you need to use some kind of measurement tool such as a quiz or practical test that will tell you objectively whether trainees really learned the information and/or skills taught during the session.

3. Monitor on-the-job behavior. You need to observe trainees when they go back to work to find out if they're actually using what they learned in training. Observations should continue for several months after a training session just to make sure employees have made a permanent improvement in performance based on training.

4. Look at the bottom line. Finally, you need to evaluate the success of safety training in terms of a variety of concerns that affect operating costs, such as reduction in accidents, lost workdays, turnover, and grievances, and improvement in quality, production, and morale.

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