July 1, 2024, Deadline: Training Employees on California’s Workplace Violence Prevention Plan

May 30, 2024 1:00 PM ET
Workplace Argument

With just one month to go, the July 1st, 2024, deadline for companies operating in California to create and implement a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP) is quickly approaching. Senate Bill No. 553 (CA Labor Code § 6401.9) requires every company in the state to establish, implement, and maintain a WVPP by that date.

To learn more about the bill and to download a free WVPP template, check out our original blog on this topic.

What’s important to note is that it’s not enough to simply just have a plan in place. This bill also requires employers to train their employees upon implementation and to provide continued training annually for employees working in the state.

Employers are actively debating the best methodologies to implement these WVPP training obligations. One of the obstacles employers are facing is that SB553 requires that the training allows for employee feedback or the ability to ask questions and get answers.

While ideal scenarios involve in-person sessions with interactive Q&A segments, sessions like this aren’t always practical for companies with numerous locations. So, the question remains, what’s the best way to train employees on WVPP? Below, we discuss some training options to consider and their pros and cons.

In-Person Training: The Ideal Yet Impractical Solution

In-person training sessions are often hailed as the gold standard. They offer direct interaction, allowing employees to ask questions and receive immediate feedback, as the bill requires. This face-to-face communication fosters a clearer understanding and a more engaging learning experience. However, for companies with many employees across multiple locations, in-person sessions quickly become logistically challenging and costly.

Live Webinars and Zoom Calls: A Middle Ground

Many employers are turning to webinars and Zoom calls as a compromise. These platforms enable trainers to deliver the WVPP content live while utilizing chat features to facilitate Q&A sessions. This method retains some level of interactivity and is more scalable than in-person sessions. Nevertheless, managing a high volume of participants can still pose challenges, employees tend to multi-task during calls thus missing critical information, and the quality of engagement may suffer compared to in-person interactions.

The Rise of eLearning: Flexible Yet Disconnected

The benefits of eLearning are significant. It offers flexibility, allowing employees to complete the training at a convenient time, which is particularly advantageous for shift workers or those with busy schedules. eLearning platforms can incorporate adult learning concepts, interactive elements, and assessments to engage learners effectively. However, the requirement for employee feedback remains a sticking point. How can companies ensure meaningful interaction and feedback in a predominantly asynchronous learning environment?

Addressing the eLearning Feedback Challenge

Several strategies are emerging to tackle the feedback requirement in eLearning environments:

  • Dedicated WVPP Q&A Email Addresses: Some companies are setting up specific email addresses where employees can send their questions and receive timely responses. This ensures feedback and questions are documented and addressed, albeit less immediate than live interactions.
  • Manager-Led Follow-Up Conversations: Another approach involves requiring managers to hold follow-up discussions with their teams after the eLearning modules. This allows employees to ask questions and discuss the training content in a more personalized setting, bridging the gap between asynchronous learning and real-time feedback.
  • WVPP Office Hours and Live Q&A Sessions: Hosting dedicated office hours or live Q&A sessions provides employees with scheduled opportunities to connect with knowledgeable personnel. These sessions can be held periodically, ensuring that employees have regular access to real-time support and feedback.

WVPP Training Key Takeaways

The debate over the best methodology for implementing WVPP training is ongoing. Each approach—whether in-person, live webinars, or eLearning—offers unique advantages and faces distinct challenges. The key lies in finding a balance that meets regulatory requirements while remaining practical and scalable for your organization. By incorporating innovative feedback methods, companies can enhance the effectiveness of their training programs and ensure that employees remain engaged and informed, not only upon WVPP implementation, but also for the years to come.

Do you need help building a WVPP or EHS training program at your organization? Reach out to our team of EHS training experts for help today!