Global technical and management support services company AECOM invests in flexible yet targeted e-learning and live training options for its domestic workforce.
With approximately 45,000 employees, a third of whom are based in the U.S. — and given the nature of the industries its serves, including transportation, energy, water and government — the company must be vigilant about training quality and relevance.
Objectives include complying with customers’ and regulatory requirements, ensuring employees attain applicable personnel certifications and minimizing productivity disruptions related to training needs.
For example, awareness and performance-level training are two critical components of AECOM’s safety, health and environment (SH&E) training program. Awareness training is designed to provide employees with basic regulatory compliance information and general hazard recognition and mitigation skills.
E-learning allows employees to access courses when it’s convenient, which improves motivation and retention. Performance training delivered in the classroom teaches specific hazard mitigation and life-saving skills.
Learners are required to physically demonstrate their capabilities to earn related certifications.
AECOM also has developed a training needs assessment tool based on analysis of risk exposures and functional job tasks at client worksites. Employees complete the assessment prior to training to determine which courses are required or recommended.
Management teams evaluate training needs associated with each project and assign personnel who have received training and achieved acceptable levels of competency to perform job functions. This helps protect employees’ safety and health, and reduce risks and impacts throughout a project’s life.
The company uses UL Workplace Health and Safety’s online training library and works with its e-learning services design team to develop custom courses, according to Peter Sullivan, AECOM’s SH&E manager who oversees safety training.
Sullivan said a wide selection of course offerings helps the company adapt to rapidly evolving subject matter needs and maintain a high degree of integrity.
With courses used in conjunction with a learning management system, AECOM is able to budget for and provide as-needed training, reducing incidents, injuries and related costs for the company and its customers.
The company also leverages learning opportunities by selecting certain employees to become subject matter experts and act as trainers on the front lines.
AECOM’s North America operations report the following learning outcomes:
• In fiscal year 2012 the company assigned more than 4,000 training sessions using 120 different e-lessons.
• Employees completed at least 80 percent of assigned training at times that didn’t conflict with their professional, personal or family commitments.
• A 10 percent decrease in OSHA-recordable incidents between 2010 and 2011.
• A 52 percent reduction in injury-related lost work days from 2010-11.
• Significant savings by avoiding training space rentals, travel for trainers, productivity disruption and wage replacement costs.
• Course completion rates improved 15 percent by having employees complete training needs assessments before receiving assignments, raising their awareness and improving buy-in.
• Employees report using the knowledge and skills they acquired during training to make their homes and communities safer.
Scott Harris is a senior environmental health and safety adviser with the workplace health and safety division at safety consulting and certification company UL. He can be reached at editor@CLOmedia.com.