Readiness Saves Lives: Implement TMS Now

Readiness Saves Lives: Implement TMS Now

The novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 is officially more than a scare. With a full-blown pandemic settling over the country, both public-facing and internal employees of public safety agencies are at particular risk in terms of infection and transmission.

“Everything we do before a pandemic will seem alarmist. Everything we do after will seem inadequate.” Michael O. Leavitt made these comments in 2007 as a beleaguered public servant, but revisiting the same two sentences today makes the Bush-era Health and Human Services Secretary sound more like a psychic.

Repercussions of the virus are already being felt across industries. But in the public safety sector, shutting down is not an option. Agencies worldwide confront tough decisions in the face of incomplete information. Questions abound: Will ill employees be held at work for quarantine or sent home? For how long, and under what criteria? How will potential exposures be handled?

To be sure, best practices for the most general of these questions will soon circulate, and the longer list of situation-dependent practices and protocols will come into sharper focus as research into the virus and its outcomes grows into a broader base of information. Until that time, focused training and education efforts remain an essential, immediate tool.

Education is preparation

Educating all members of the workforce on ways to limit COVID-19 isn’t just good for business or morale—it’s quite possibly essential to an organization’s ability to operate during the pandemic.

In this situation, education falls under the banner of preparation. Training on how to reduce transmission should ideally be shared before the virus lands near the agency. In disseminating this information, it will be helpful to keep in mind that the virus has also been wrung through the filter of apathy and even misinformation. Personnel may have come to the conclusion that the virus is an overblown scare or a manufactured political drama, for instance. While anecdotal evidence suggests these attitudes have abated as the situation has grown more serious on US soil, the agency’s goal here should be fourfold:

  1. Presenting the data in a clear, unbiased, engaging way, with no reference to conspiracy theories, political controversies, etc.
  2. Delivering it in a format that allows for quick changes so up-to-the-minute information can be shared, and real-time tracking of personnel who have received the training and who has yet to take it.
  3. Ensuring that all personnel, regardless of personal beliefs, strictly adhere to transmission reduction standards.
  4. Tailoring the information to the organization’s specific work environment and policies.

To the first point, decision-makers who design course content internally may struggle to keep things current, politically tepid, and socially positive when the story moves so fast that it dominates the 24-hour news cycle. The same idea makes outsourced training services less useful than they’d be in more static circumstances, since an organization can offer the most up-to-the-minute data available and still be outmoded before the end of the day.

An emergency task force is one way to help monitor and communicate health and safety processes. Key personnel can take point on helping keep other employees updated on the local scenario and business processes so there are no questions about who should be doing what.

Organizational preparedness

Emergency personnel do not have the luxury of staying home but must maintain their position on the front lines. Training must go on and records must be maintained. The right infrastructure is essential to keeping this vital work going.

An upgraded training management system (TMS) like the Acadis® Readiness Suite gives public service organizations a simpler way to push learning content—live or pre-built—to students remotely, makes it easy to amend or update content as needed, and vastly simplifies the processes needed to do things like track employee attendance, learning, and compliance.

Acadis can streamline the measures required for organizational preparedness:

  • Reviewing company policies on safety and best practices.
  • Maintaining clear communication.
  • Conducting expanded crisis-specific training.

Consider for a moment a law enforcement or fire organization in a town where the first recorded case of COVID-19 has been announced. Management, assuming the pandemic would take longer to spread to their mid-sized city than it did, now worries that getting the right info out—and getting it to sink in before cases start showing up in the office—might be impossible. Stakeholders are deeply concerned the oversight could risk productivity, health, and even lives. To this end, their usual mode of critical communication—an email marked urgent with instructions to reply when read in full—provide the vital ability to truly assess how the information is being consumed or who still needs to see and acknowledge it.

With a TMS in place, the same agency has much more control over the content and its consumption. Instead of a “please-read” email, an assignment can be sent alerting personnel to the new information and associated deadlines with the click of a button; supervisors can monitor completion and further test understanding with quizzes that automatically report to individual students’ files when complete. Getting the right tools in place in the earliest stages of the illness—or doing it all as a matter of course before news broke from Wuhan—may seem like better planning and preparedness, and at surface level, it is. However, it is never too late to address flaws within the organization’s digital perimeter, and getting the wheels rolling today shows a greater commitment to both near-future encounters with the virus and the organization’s larger learning needs.

The value of an upgraded TMS goes beyond the classroom, and can give the organization a stronger handle on administration of new policy. Organizations concerned about legal liability or community safety could use the platform’s centralized recordkeeping to denote a dedicated “out squad,” authorized to handle retail thefts and other “minor” infractions without confusion over who serves the role and who stays in for big calls. Organizations hiring temporary staff in the event of an outbreak can use the same tools to easily monitor the crash-course training their newly sworn staff has taken, again freeing them from safety and liability issues.

In bringing these points of data together and putting them under individual user accounts, agencies can save time, improve efficiency, and increase knowledge-sharing in a time when quickness is a necessity. The Acadis platform has secure cloud-based options as well, making your transition to a remote training environment faster than you might think—possibly fast enough to enhance pre-virus planning instead of post-infection reactions.

If not now, when?

The COVID-19 crisis is shining a spotlight on the nation’s strengths and frailties, and the same is true of every agency operating within it. Disruptions and limited resources amplify weaknesses and shortcomings in real time.

It is clear that preparation, planning, and foresight are increasingly important as resources dwindle and available personnel are removed from the roster for treatment or quarantine. While some agencies may feel they have been caught unprepared, it’s never too late to improve training, information sharing, policy tracking, and compliance processes. This crisis will linger, and the next one will be just as unexpected. Implementing the right infrastructure now, when its importance is so clearly evident, will give your personnel the tools they need to remain trained, equipped, and mission-ready, however demanding that mission may be.

Speak with a TMS expert to get started today at 888-313-8324 or [email protected].

Posted on Mar 19, 2020