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The American workplace has become more diverse – not only in ethnicity and race but in age as well. Businesses that embrace our nation’s changing demographics reap the economic benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Unfortunately, a diverse workforce also provides challenges for trainers. Let’s consider the language struggle, with many employees not speaking English at all and more not speaking English well. How about those employees who can speak English but can’t read or write, how will they learn?
Language aside, what impact might cultural beliefs have on developing a workplace dedicated to safety excellence? People of diverse cultures and generations, process and retain information in different ways forcing trainers to find new and creative ways to connect with the different demographics regarding safety.
Today, the American workplace spans across four generations. Workers in their late teens work along side workers well into their 60’s and 70’s. Each of these generations has different (not better or worse) values and perspectives on work, health and safety. It is important that we understand those differences in order to effectively connect with each of these age groups. We also have to understand that each of the generations receives and processes information differently so that we can provide safety training that they will understand and retain.
Safety Training: One Size Does Not Fit All
Given the differences in culture, language and age, it is clear that “one size fits all” safety training will not work for everyone. So how do safety trainers get around this obstacle? The key is to be flexible with your training and incorporate methods that appeal to each culture and age group. Blending each group’s preferred style of learning will help employers connect better with their workers, and inevitably allow the groups to learn from each other.
Along with proper safety products, safety training is critical in reducing and avoiding workplace accidents.
Training diverse workers does not have to be an obstacle if you apply the right techniques. In fact, using the strengths of each group to meet the needs of the others can foster more powerful and meaningful training sessions.
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