Professional development (or CPD as it is often referred to) is an essential component to building a long term sustainable safety culture within your organisation. Without appropriate planning, implementation and regular monitoring most professional development programs do not achieve the results you were expecting and can have negative effect on the person experiencing the program.
CPD obligations are common to most professions, but are possibly the most important in the delivery of Occupational Health and Safety on a day to day basis. CPD can be defined as a structured approach to learning to help ensure competence to practice, taking in knowledge, skills and practical experience. CPD can involve any relevant learning activity, whether formal and structured or informal and self-directed.
In almost all European countries (and increasingly in others) the vast majority of safety practitioners, safety officers, safety managers, safety specialists, safety consultants, or safety advisors are legally obliged to partake in CPD with at least one recognised institute, such as The International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM) or The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). Within both Institutes membership structure CPD forms an integral part of the proof of competence and is regularly reviewed to ensure it is being maintained to the right levels. It is also becoming more apparent that good CPD programs are being built into membership categories for bodies relating to the Mining, Construction and Manufacturing industries.
At Safety Coaching we believe a detailed professional development program in safety is essential for all levels of management, irrespective of levels of experience or current skills levels. Safety Coaching can help your organisation by carefully mapping the right professional development programs against your current and future risk profiles, as well as your current level of safety maturity. We will help you monitor performance levels and ensure the key issues identified from the training become embedded within your systems and processes.
Building professional development in safety is not just about technical skill or legal compliance, it is much, much larger than this. The area which is often most neglected within programs is the interpersonal skills of your personnel in order to effectively engage, listen and communicate with your internal teams, customer base, key stakeholders and other interested parties.
All to often we see Safety Practitioners and Line Management personnel with good level qualifications in safety often costing companies significant amount of money, but they are unable to improve or deliver on the safety performance due to their inability to influence the people who really matter. It is time to think differently. At Safety Coaching we can map individual levels of maturity on safety and by either working with their direct line manager or working directly with the person we can help identify key performance criteria which needs to be built into their CPD program, then we work with you to identify the right service provider or technique in order to start the initial implementation of the program. Follow up coaching sessions help evaluate the learning and question how this can become one of the essential features on how they can use this on a regular basis.
The follow-up on training & coaching programs is paramount in order to ensure that expectations have been met and the initial increase in knowledge can be turned into tangible actions and subsequent results for your organization. By capturing the feedback early with regards the key points learnt from the experience we can assign the tasks and timeframes with regards to when the new knowledge can be put into action and how it will be utilised. Often during this stage people possessing less maturity in safety will struggle to transmit this and it can result in the technique or knowledge being quickly forgotten or not utilised at all.
Essentially though our professional development programs we need to develop and embed safety habits which become one of the core values of the personnel involved, which remains integral for the remainder of their career. For the safety habit to be created it must become part of the routine and be linked to obvious ‘rewards’ or obvious benefits from carrying it out.
Through regular monitoring discussions through either line management personnel or a safety coach, personnel soon become aware of the benefits of a good sustainable professional development program. It is not just about sending people on more and more training courses, there are other essential learning methods which can help them gain increased professional development in new areas and techniques. At Safety Coaching we ensure to build a professional development program which is blend of a variety of different approaches which can be tailored against peoples different learning styles - visual (seeing) audiometry (listening) and Kinesthetic (feeling)
If you wish to build a lasting safety legacy within your organization it is essential you consider planning in relation to how you will build and sustain the desired competency in safety at all levels. By using Safety Coaching to help you review current competency levels, build specific programs either by role or individually and help you review the benefits you can start to significantly improve your safety performance and the capability of your team to help others achieve results.
Think of the benefits to you and your company, what are you waiting for?