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The human operator, the least reliable element of an aerodyne, but the most essential...!
Frank Caron (1991)

Last update:
26 September 2016

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Human Factors - Why training is the main solution to human factors issues

If employees make mistake(s) or their behavior and/or performance is not what an organisation expects, there are 4 solutions:

  1. Ignore
  2. dismiss
  3. admonish
  4. train and educate

It is definitely not a solution as it will not encourage personnel to change, improving their professional behavior and trying to avoid mistakes. For the company it will be a sign of weakness and will not add improvement and quality.

Never let a mistake or an unprofessional behavior unexplained...

It is often the chosen solution, since it is a very simple way to get rid of the unprofessional employee. Definitely dismissing will prevent the behavior to be repeated, but this will drive the loss of precious human resources. Always remember this essential maxim:

A company is nothing without its daily working staff, the most valuable asset of any organisation...

But, the layoff is not the right choice, if we consider the time and the cost needed to train an employee (during the years 2000 it was said the cost to train a pilot to become a captain on a large transport aircraft was about 170,000 euros or 216,000 USD during a 10-15 years process).

It is also a common solution used by management. Unfortunately it will not prevent the unwanted behavior to be repeated voluntarily (by challenge, by revenge, by lassitude, etc.) or involuntarily (because a lack of understanding, lack of knowledge, error, fatigue, etc.).

More, it is an immediate recation that never consider all the data related to the situation.

Always control your reaction to mistakes unprofessional behavior situations.

Train and educate
From human resources point of view as from human factors point of view,
training and education is the only (acceptable) solution...

If we confront the negative and positive aspects of training, the advantages are substantial. More, the primary profits (qualification received) always trigger secondary profits, which potentialise durably the results of the training.

Few negative aspects of training

  1. Attendee not available for operations,
  2. Training organizational,
  3. Training costs (instructor, tools, environment, etc.),
  4. Doubts about usefulness of the training, according to previous (1) (2) and (3).

Many positive aspects of training

  1. Staff beliefs about a variety of work issues are significantly affected by the training they received, whatever the nature of training,
  2. Staffs who are given training tend to feel they are receiving a fairer deal at work,
  3. Training is always a transferable skill to other functions,
  4. Training reduces stress and pressure on the long term (even though the first consequence of learning create stress),
  5. Staffs who benefit from training are less likely to:
    • invent illness,
    • change company,
    • or quit their job
  6. Training increase skills,
  7. Training increase proficiency,
  8. Training keeps skills within company preventing skills and expertise to disappear,
  9. Training increase commitment within the company,
  10. Training increase motivation,
  11. Training increase personal fulfillment,
  12. etc.

At last, and whatever those who claimed for years, the concept of training (and by extension its expected result the learning process) is finally a rather simple process, since the best way to learn is to receive... repetition of information.

Thus, it is fundamental to educate personnel, exposing them to training again and again.

The more repetition, the more efficient results it may be expected through the training process.

Last but not least, even though every single trainee used to hear the opposite during the previous decades, it is the instructor responsibility to repeat as many times as it is necessary. Instructing is not only delivering a message once...

So, it is essential to train personnel again and again.
The advantages for a company are essential and tremendously rewarding.

Frank Caron
, September 2010.

quick links

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Why training is the main solution to human factors issues

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Suggestions for a discipline committee

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Aviation safety international legal definitions

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