In the hustle and bustle of an always-online workplace, it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day responsibilities and forget to do any of the tasks necessary for training. While health and safety training courses are common, different industries often provide additional training materials to prepare employees for their respective workflows.
According to the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), over 75 percent of organizations must adhere to at least two regulations, making records management all the more challenging.
Tracking training will not only help with compliance right now, it will give your management system a strategic advantage when it comes to adapting to changes in the market as well as the regulation that affects it.
In the event of an audit, records of all employee education, training, skills, and work experience must be presented. Providing ongoing training is also important for managing human resources, as developing and retaining talent is far more cost-effective than having to constantly hire, onboard, and train new employees.
As you will see, effective training record keeping is far more complex than simply checking names off a list before filing completed assessments and certificates.
What are training records?
Training records provide evidence that certain employees have attended certain classes and obtain certifications that meet occupational needs or regulatory compliance requirements. Employers are directly responsible for taking steps to train, direct and instruct staff on how to keep a business operating safely and within regulatory boundaries.
No matter how simple or complex a training program is, it’s essential to keep precise records of all training offered. Training documentation typically includes the training topic, the name of the instructor, the dates of the training, and the employee’s name. To get the most out of training records, documentation should be up-to-date, organized for easy retrieval, and shared as needed.
Why training records matter
Training records help to promote safe and efficient work. Through proper records management, you can stay ahead of training needs while also making sure that all legal requirements are met.
This will help to ensure regulatory compliance with local, state, and federal agencies. Manufacturers are particularly susceptible to noncompliance, which can result in unnecessary downtime and increased administrative costs.
Even if training records are not a regulatory requirement, it can be beneficial for the internal management of an organization to keep track of which employees have received training.
Proactively set guidelines not only to ensure compliance, but also to serve as a benchmark during performance evaluations. These will be especially useful when it comes time to determine how effective training programs are.
What are training records retention requirements?
Retention requirements for training records are mandated by government agencies responsible for regulatory compliance. For example, the United States’ Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that records documenting training be kept for at least 3 years following completion. Best practices for training management recommend keeping these records for the duration of an individual’s employment, as this data may need to be accessed during audits.
The exact amount of time varies depending on the complexity of training that a position requires. Usually, a certificate of completion is issued to trainees at the end of a training session that is valid for a certain amount of time. Once it expires, they will have to undergo additional training to regain certification.
Giving your employees ownership and accountability over the retention schedule is the key to your success. A new or changed policy will not have any impact if employees are unaware of it.
Problems with training record retention and management
While training record management may appear simple, long-term retention and success can be challenging to achieve for a variety of reasons. Accessibility and compliance are key when it comes to being prepared for audits, but companies will benefit from having knowledge of the following issues:
- Complying with several levels of changing regulations such as FDA, EU, ISO and local health/safety standards
- Ensuring long-term comprehension for those who take the trainings
- Organizations are ultimately responsible for not only their own employees’ proper training, but that of their suppliers’ employees as well
- Ongoing review of disciplinary and accident reports is the only way to determine what future training plans, orientations, and webinars may be necessary
- Keeping paper and digital records consistent with one another (or local and shared data, for that matter)
- Preserving up-to-date records without disrupting the productivity of either IT or legal teams
- Outdated, inconsistent, or trivial information needs to be removed from worker training records to avoid confusion
For organizations looking to improve retention and streamline the training process, a proactive training record management strategy that combines physical records, powerful software, and accessible training programs will be far more effective in both the short and long-term.
The best training records software
Training record management software (TRMS) enables companies to keep all information related to training in a single easily accessible place. Quality management and product lifecycle management software links your employees’ training records to the product record, keeping compliance a priority throughout product development.
Partner with a provider whose digital solutions include the following must-have features for training records software:
- Incorporating training requirements into quality workflow - Link employee training requirements with product and quality data to ensure safety and testing protocols are complete throughout all stages of the product lifecycle.
- Online training and quizzes - Adding a pre-test to check for comprehension at the start of a session and comparing the results to a post-test will more clearly indicate how well employees learned during the class. Pre-tests are also useful during refresher training, as they can let the trainer know how well the trainees retained the information from their previous training, which may inform their lesson plans.
- Monitoring progress across enterprise and suppliers - Avoid costly and potentially devastating disruptions by making sure all teams are on the same page when it comes to keeping up with requirements.
- Centralized record storage - Enables managers to easily report and submit regulatory compliance documents across global supply chains. Many employers rely on paper records when a signature is required to meet a regulatory requirement, so having a system that can digitize records as well as organize them may be required. The sheer volume of records being kept should be considered as well.
- Automated lifecycle management policies - Assure continued quality with digital tools such as email reminders and collaborative checklists that can be updated at every stage of the product lifecycle.
Propel’s product and quality products are powerful modern solutions for managing both company-wide and role or site-specific training records. See how Propel’s flexible, scalable, and easy to use platform speeds training and enables global compliance.