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Ask Linda: Staff Training

Investing in staff training will help your lab strengthen its competitive position

by Lab Manager
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Dear Linda,

Some members of my staff have gone almost two years without any training. While I recognize the vital importance of training, I have very limited resources available for that purpose. The training my team requires is general laboratory safety, cleaning of lab equipment, routine maintenance and calibration of laboratory equipment, report writing on lab-based activities, and the like.

I’m writing to see if you can point me in the direction of alternative and costeffective training programs that my staff might be able to take advantage of.

Thanks in advance.

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Dear Gordon,

You are quite right to be putting your attention to staff training, as that investment will help your lab strengthen its competitive position and demonstrate your commitment to your team.

While I can’t recommend any one training program in particular, below are some
types you might consider:

Online programs involve self study with learners proceeding at their own pace and taking tests at the end of the course. Often a minimum score is required to certify that the student has passed the course.

Live remote broadcasts are increasingly being used to eliminate the costs of longdistance travel to attend training. The software used usually allows workshop participants to ask questions.

Some suppliers offer DVD courses that lab managers can purchase and make available to their staff members.

Consultants can be brought in to present training programs, which are recorded so other employees can view the workshop later. For these you’ll need approval from the presenter in advance. Some consultants charge for training workshops by the number of attendees. Lab managers can limit spending by controlling
enrollment and making sure only those staff members who can benefit most actually attend the workshop.

Cross-training, in which a more experienced member of the team trains another less experienced one, is another possibility. Managed right, this can be very productive and cost effective.

All of these options need to be considered before deciding on a training program that can best improve the quality of your existing workforce.

Good luck.


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