Records of training
Keeping accurate training records for your staff will enable the effective running of your business or organisation. This information can assist you with appraisals, equal opportunities, recruitment and training, and may well play a role in making strategic operational decisions.
Training records also play an increasingly important part in helping you to pass 3rd party audits or inspections. You may be audited by your customers, or by a recognised organisation such as Investors in People. These organisations and awarding bodies will expect your company’s records to comply with their inspection criteria.
For training records to add value and contribute to the business, this requires a high degree of visibility and good maintenance of data. This is where most organisations struggle to effectively manage the information, which underpins operational capability and performance.
Why keep training records?
In some cases, employers may need to document training to meet a regulatory requirement, but regulatory compliance is not the only reason to keep training records. Training documentation may be needed as part of an internal management or quality system. Training records are also useful when evaluating the effectiveness of training programs.
Training records are evidence that certain people attended certain classes. Typically, training documentation includes the training topic, the name of the instructor, the date, and the trainee’s name. The trainer passes around a sign-in sheet at the training session or keeps a separate safety training file for each employee. Some trainers have each trainee sign or initial the training documentation. While the format of training records varies, all training documentation needs to be kept up to date and should be revised following each training session.
Other types of documentation can be useful to safety trainers. While not exactly “records,” training program contents can be used to document how employees were trained. Quizzes can be used to help gauge training effectiveness. Many trainers use surveys to get input for the training program. All of this documentation can be part of a complete training recordkeeping program.
There is no preferred format for training records. Many employers rely on paper records (especially when a signature is required to meet a regulatory requirement), but it is becoming more and more common for employers to keep training records electronically.
Electronic records cut down on the amount of paper the trainer has to store. But, some types of paper documentation can still be useful. Many employers want employees to sign a sign-in sheet when they attend a training session. Using sign-in sheets is a good way to keep track of attendance.
Sign-in sheets can also be useful evidence if there is ever a dispute as to whether or not someone received training. For example, the employer may be taking disciplinary action against an employee for not following correct procedures. The employee claims she never received training. Showing the employee that she signed the training session’s sign-in sheet can cut short this argument. Of course, if the employee is not following the procedures as taught, refresher training may be in order, but at least the sign-in sheet is evidence that the employee received initial training. Another type of paper training record that would be useful in this situation would be a copy of a quiz that the employee took after the class – this would add an indication of how well the employee understood the training.