Developing a Learning Culture

eLearning 911: Emergency Situation Training Strategies

Every industry has its own brand of emergency, whether it’s bank procedure in the case of a robbery or data lockdown after a security breach at a tech company. Whatever the type of emergency, the employees that are best prepared are the ones to alert, react, and lead in the aftermath.

Unfortunately, most emergency training programs leave employees feeling less than heroic. Instead, it’s just another layer of corporate training to power through before getting back to work. By rethinking the way your organization approaches emergency situation training, it’s possible to get employees to feel like true stakeholders in the security of the business—whether it’s virtual or physical.

Before you raise the alarm on bad emergency situation training, make sure you have a strategy in place that gives employees the power (and the motivation) to make sure they’re primed and ready—just in case.

Teaching “Relaxed Alertness”

We’re not talking about turning your Accounting department into some pseudo-league of Bournes. Instead, good emergency situation training helps employees understand that their first duty isn’t Spy Games as much as it is Observe and Report.

Employees should be taught two vital tenets of emergency situations. First, the situations to which they should be paying attention, and second, what warning signs to watch for within those situations. Obviously these techniques require heavy adaptation depending on the industry, but can act as a basic foundation for just about any emergency situation.

Being in a state of relaxed alertness doesn’t mean being paranoid, but it doesn’t mean that your employees become adept at spotting anomalies in the workplace. Not only are they trained to spot things that shouldn’t happen (but do anyway) but they’re on the lookout for things that don’t happen (even when they should).

The best emergency situation training gives employees the situational awareness to decide when an action is an anomaly, and then how to react to that behavioral, informational, or security abnormality.

Observe, Orient, Decide, Act

Emergency situation training can be distilled into the simple acronym OODA—Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. When employees happen upon a situation or scenario in which their emergency response is triggered, they are first instructed to observe what’s happening, orient themselves to the situation (and identify why it’s an emergency), decide on a course of action, and then carry out that action.

The best way to train employees on the OODA principle is by using interactive simulations. This creates a safe space in which employees can actually experience common emergency situations without the high stakes of actually being on the job. By using a “choose your own adventure” format, a gamified simulation experience can help build confident in new employees. This engaging method also means learners get immediate feedback while experiencing each simulation. Was that the right choice? What’s the outcome? How can the employee react better in the future?

With the high stakes nature of emergency situation training, you definitely don’t want to leave any gray area in the way of employee decision-making. By creating eLearning that is both clear and accessible, employees learn to be effect agents for the organization (special badge not required).