Three High Consequence Training Takeaways from Summer 2015



September is the time of year when we all enter “back-to-school” mode. Here at Raytheon Professional Services (RPS), as we prepare for the busy fall season, we’re also thinking about some of lessons learned in the summer months to help us better prepare for what’s ahead. This summer, we experienced some remarkable and unfortunate events that have us all focused on efforts to meet the increasing need for high consequence training.

Below are three takeaways from the summer’s high consequence events to aid in revitalizing and reinforcing training strategies to increase preparedness and protect your organization’s bottom line:

1. Training can minimize the impact of severe weather–expected or unexpected
Seasonal weather events can range from simple nuisances to debilitating natural disasters. We can look to the increase in Tropical Storms and the recent flooding in Houston, TX which destroyed homes, freeways and buildings, caused gridlock across the city and trapped individuals. Houston had not experienced such a Level 1 emergency since 2008. Events like these remind us of the importance of sustained and rigorous high consequence training for all those involved in emergency response – from first responders to utility workers and government officials. We must identify any gaps in plans and processes in advance and have teams prepared to both physically and emotionally handle the unpredictable and the unknown. In these high consequence environments, the right level of preparation is the key to saving lives, minimizing damage and reducing risk.

2. Training improves first responder reactions in times of crisis
This summer, we also saw high risk, high consequence events like the presence of a gunman onboard an Amsterdam-to-Paris train. A situation that could have quickly turned deadly was quelled by five train passengers, two of whom are in the U.S. military, and had been through advanced training that provided them the skills they needed to react appropriately and in time to save lives. Their training gave them the situational awareness required to avert a potential disaster.

Technology-enabled training, such as augmented reality (AR) and simulation training, are often used in both military and corporate settings to improve reaction times and team work errors in high-stakes situations like this one. Training that prepares us for the known and unknown is incredibly valuable as hostile situations arise when least expected

3. Any environment can become a high consequence environment
Not all high consequence environments involve life or death scenarios. Businesses today are focused on avoiding risk and improving outcomes for critical success factors such as maintaining compliance, guarding intellectual property and, perhaps most commonly, protecting the financial security of the organization. As we look back at the recent global sell off that spurred markets to plunge in the last week of August, financial security is top of mind for organizations and shareholders alike. The key to improving the impact of an event like this to an organization’s bottom line, and preventing widespread panic, is through strategic high consequence training initiatives aimed at establishing procedures, improving communication and reducing knee jerk negative reactions. By implementing regular and realistic training programs that mimic high risk financial or operational events, learning professionals can better manage, mitigate and reduce negative outcomes when it matters most. High consequence training will breed improved responses and group emotional intelligence, and help employees to remain in control and reduce the impact on the bottom line.

These situations are all unique in the way they came about, and the way they were handled, but each is a strong example of the need for high consequence training. As learning professionals head into what is bound to be a busy fall with new employees, new policies and regulations, new training programs and end of year planning, it is important to reflect on the learnings from the summer’s events to better prepare the workforce for the potential of high stakes situations. If you are interested in learning more about the topic you can read more in the links below.

RPS will also host a Morning Executive Summit with our partner, Training Industry, in Chicago on September 16 where we will further discuss the need for and impact of high consequence training in high risk environments.

What impact did the events of the summer have on your fall training plans? Share your thoughts on Twitter or start a LinkedIn group discussion with us.