EHS Training Solutions Now and in the Future

On April 16th, 2015 the NAEM Upper Midwest Chapter hosted its spring event at Liberty Diversified International (LDI) in New Hope, Minn. Three presentations and roundtable discussions focused on EHS Training Solutions Now and in the Future – Materials, Methods, Systems and Strategies. Some of the companies in attendance of the chapter meeting include: Liberty Diversified International, Target, General Mills, Antea Group, University of Minnesota, WSP, Shutterfly and Dakota Software.  The following is a summary of our discussion and some of the key questions we addressed:

Upper Midwest chapter event

Members of NAEM’s Upper Midwest chapter discuss EHS talent management.

Joy Lindsay, Vice President of Human Resources at LDI, kicked off the discussion with an in-depth look at leadership within organizations. What do CEOs of leading companies worry about? Is leadership ready to deliver? With the realization that leadership is a critical ingredient in the retention of employees and success of an organization, she shared the three pinnacles of focus for LDI: authenticity, innovation, and management of change.

Continuing on this discussion, Sue Roether, Learning & Development Specialist at LDI, presented on Leadership Development at LDI. Sue began by asking the group, “What was your most significant leadership development opportunity?” Roundtable responses included stretch roles, switch roles, project management, managing up, and managing peers of different generations.

Currently there are four generations in the workplace: Traditionalists, Baby Boombers, Gen-X’s, and Millennials. Each of these four groups has a unique background and contrasting learning styles that best suit their development. LDI has developed diverse training program to reach out to all of their employees and prospective leaders. These strategies include targeted development, guide-on-the-side, and 70/20/10 training (on the job, mentors, and formal).

To further investigate effectiveness of on-boarding and performance within an organization, Pete Schwalbach, Senior Project Manager at Antea Group, presented on Culture Assessment: Accelerating the Journey to Excellence. When measuring a company’s culture, there are three integral elements: structure, framework, and the intangibles. Intangibles include beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, perception, motivation, and values. Is your company’s culture working toward your performance?

Workplace culture assessments and surveys can play an important role in answering this question. The process for completing surveys includes: Plan & Assess, Review & Analyze, and Set Strategy & Road Map. For culture assessments to be a success, the organization must be committed to respond to the results of the survey. The culture surveys can assist in determining if the company’s culture working for or against you. Take stock and make a game plan.

Organization and record keeping of complex EHS training programs can be a time consuming and cumbersome endeavor. Peter Blackstad, President/CEO of Classroom Manager.NET led a discussion on Training Management Systems. Spreadsheet tracking and inefficient training management systems can cause hours of redundant work within a company. Efficient training management systems are flexible and administrators can simply add new users, records, and new training objectives.

Following the speakers, the roundtable discussions circled back to the theme of leadership. Questions discussed within the group included:

  • How do we ensure that we have effective knowledge transfer for adult learning?
  • How do we deal with a multi-national workforce relative to training, context, delivery, language barriers and cultural norms?
  • How do we develop leaders?

For those of you who work in other regions of the country, how are you answering these questions for your organizations? Do you have any training tools or talent management programs that would make good examples for us?

About Marc Juaire

Marc Juaire is the Director of Environmental, Health, and Safety for Liberty Diversified International, and the head of NAEM's Upper Midwest chapter in Minneapolis, Minn.

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