How to organize a training program for ISO 14001

Training employees is the key to a successful implementation and maintenance of an Environmental Management System (EMS) according to ISO 14001, since workers’ daily activities can generate impacts on the environment. That is why it is so important to organize a good training program that covers every role and employee in the company. In this article, we’ve listed the steps on how to organize an effective ISO 14001 training program.

Learn more about EMS training in the article ISO 14001 competence training awareness: Why are they important for your EMS?

Steps to organize an effective training program

Appropriate ISO 14001 training must be defined by companies to ensure their employees have the competencies and skills needed to perform their jobs. Following the steps below, you ensure your company implements an effective training program:

Step 1: Assess your training needs

Before creating any material or conducting the training, it is very important to assess the training needs of the personnel. In this step, you need to identify the gaps between employees’ current competences and the competences required by the EMS company. Take into account the environmental training already conducted in the organization. For instance, you may find out that many of your employees are already qualified for their tasks and you are that much closer to complying with regulations.

To conduct this training assessment the organization can use employees’ evaluations, task assessments, observations of the jobs, etc. Some people will need some training on the general requirements of ISO 14001:2015, while some others will need specific training on production process tasks that have a significant impact on the environment.

To learn more about the identification and evaluation of environmental aspects see the article 4 steps in identification and evaluation of environmental aspects.

Step 2: Determine training objectives

To achieve the desired results, the company should establish clear training objectives that are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Since employees with different roles and departments follow different procedures and protocols with different environmental impacts, the training must be specific, that is, focused on resolving gaps in specific areas and individuals.

Expectations of everyone involved in the training program must be considered when setting the objectives, including managers, employees and other learning and development staff.

Learn more about establishing training objectives in the article How to use good environmental objectives.

Step 3: Choose the training method

Nowadays there is a wide offering of training methods and modalities to achieve the training goals for your EMS. Online training can be a good option for disciplined workers who can complete the training at their own pace. An additional benefit to this is that the company won’t have to find the time to hold a meeting of all employees involved in the training, which is usually is difficult or impossible. Of course, you can opt for the traditional in-class courses or seminars delivered by internal staff or hire external providers to conduct the training. Other forms of learning include workshops, meetings and even internal environmental newsletters.

Don’t forget to include all types of employees in the training program: permanent and temporary employees, new employees, as well as your environmental manager and internal trainers. Keep in mind that some certifications can be applied to certain jobs, and you should consider having a training package for new employees.

Here are some options for free online training: ISO 14001 Foundations course, ISO 14001 Internal Auditor course, ISO 14001 Lead Auditor course, and ISO 14001 Lead Implementer course.

Step 4: Prepare a training plan

A good training plan will indicate exactly how, what, when and where you will accomplish your training objectives.

In your plan you must indicate the methods you will use during the training (the “How”). For instance, will it be an in-class session or an online course and, in relation to this, where will the training be delivered, or which resources will be used for this purpose?

You should also indicate how long training will last and when it will be delivered, including how many sessions it will take, and the agenda for each session.

Step 5: Implement the training program and keep records

Once the training plan is ready, you can start implementing the training program. During this step you need to create EMS training records that demonstrate the training has achieved its objectives. These records may include questionnaires, records of attendance, written reports, test results, basically anything that measures the effectiveness of the training.

Organize meetings to gather information about how the training program is functioning, and decide if any changes are needed.

Learn more about how to control records in the article ISO 14001 Control of Records.

Step 6: Monitor and measure the effectiveness of the training

Monitoring the effectiveness of training can be done by monitoring employees’ work and analyzing if any improvement has been achieved. On the contrary, if continuous failures occur, for example, by not following working instructions that avoid environmental impacts, the company must analyze whether the root cause is lack of training of the operator.

In addition, LMS (Learning Management System) metrics can be used to assess the training program and improve specific aspects of the training. LMS metrics include for instance, course completion rate, scores of course evaluations, instructor ratings, etc.

Be aware that contractors must be subject to this monitoring and measurement since they are included in the environmental training program.

Learn more about measuring the effectiveness of training in the article Measuring training effectiveness in ISO 14001:2015.

Step 7: Improve the training program

Use the results from the monitoring and measurement of the training program to achieve continual improvement. For instance, if scores from environmental course assessment are low, course design should be improved.

Improving the environmental training programs also requires continual research of new tools, modern technologies and learning methodologies that will help to achieve the EMS training goals. In addition, good planning and active involvement of all members of the company will allow the organization to continually improve its training strategy.

Learn more about EMS continual improvement in the article How to achieve continual improvement of your EMS according to ISO 14001:2015.

How to organize a training program for ISO 14001

Every step is crucial to success in your ISO 14001 training program

By following the steps above, you will make sure that employees reach a certain level of competence that will allow them to minimize environmental impact during their duties. However, if you do not execute every step of this training program properly, then it won’t be successful.

This eTraining Company Account offers you a way to get all your employees attend ISO 14001 online courses and gives you the ability to monitor their progress and success.

Advisera Iciar Gallo
Iciar Gallo
Iciar Gallo has more than 10 years of experience in business consulting training and auditing, including a number of management systems such as ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. She has worked for several international companies and prestigious universities, leading projects in Spain, Panama, Venezuela, England, and more recently in the USA. She has also worked as a teacher of several courses on environmental standards and at AENOR and Advisera. Iciar holds an MSc degree in Environmental Management and Control from the Technical University of Madrid and is certified as an auditor of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.