Simon Docherty is the instructor academy manager at RTITB, the only centre in the UK and Ireland dedicated to training transport, warehousing and logistics instructors.
Unfortunately, it seems that the effectiveness of some forklift operator and driver CPC training is being compromised due to poor company culture and its negative impact on employee behaviour.
The right operator and driver behaviour is central to a productive, successful and safe workplace. Likewise, the behaviour of staff during training can have a big effect on its effectiveness.
Is 'appropriate behaviour' expected?
We often find that challenging behaviour during training arises as expectations around appropriate behaviour have not been communicated to operators and drivers by their employer, and have never formed part of the company's culture.
At the RTITB Instructor Academy, we recommend that all employees are given a clear understanding of the processes they are required to follow, the way in which these should be actioned and the employer's expectations of their behaviour. These standards should then apply whether the employee is doing their day-to-day job or is in the training environment.
Ultimately, a person's attitude is what will determine their behaviour in the training room. A good attitude to the employer, the workplace and the job will usually extend to more positive behaviours during learning.
A proactive approach to improving behaviour is much more effective than a reactive approach, so it's important that instructors create conditions that encourage positive behaviour, such as a suitable learning environment.
Ensuring that the learning environment is comfortable makes trainees more open to learning, which, in turn, can improve their behaviour during the session. Employers and instructors should also ensure there is ample time for the training to be delivered, as some candidates will be more likely to exhibit negative behaviours in a highly time-pressured environment.
Similarly, instructors should set a positive tone from the outset and remain approachable, friendly and polite throughout the training, even to the most awkward candidates.
It can be helpful to learn a little bit about the candidates beforehand or find out some personal information about them during the training, so that you can build a relationship. We find that this encourages a friendly, respectful atmosphere in the training room that is more conducive to 'good' behaviour.
Of course, knowing the subject well and being confident in delivery will also give instructors credibility in the eyes of training candidates, which can help reduce negativity.
Recognise and reward good behaviour
At the RTITB Instructor Academy, we also recommend that good behaviour during training is recognised and rewarded, just as it should be in the workplace. However, if poor behaviour does arise, instructors should deal with it at the earliest opportunity.
Don't forget that while challenging behaviour can come from loud and outspoken candidates, quiet candidates can be just as difficult.
Trainers should look to identify and involve these trainees to build their confidence and engagement, and improve their attitude. As trainees have different learning styles, changing the training delivery method can also make a difficult candidate more receptive.
Unfortunately, you can't teach good behaviour, but by embedding the right standards in company culture and ensuring instructors are trained to deal with adult learners, who might not always be fully engaged, challenging behaviour during training can be managed and improved.