Consider Other Obligations When You Schedule Training

Overcoming scheduling problems

Aside from legal obligations, scheduling presents other challenges. Trainers should work with supervisors to set up training sessions that will not disrupt production schedules. Frequently, training groups are made up of workers from several different departments, so the content needs to be tailored to the needs of the people in the group.


The trainees, and their supervisors, must be notified of scheduled classes. Trainers can do this by posting or emailing rosters, giving each department its own schedule, or addressing an invitation to each trainee. The notice, whether paper or electronic, needs to include the topic, date, time, and place. A map should be included if the training is off-site. Trainers should be prepared to make scheduling changes for employees who will not be able to attend at their scheduled time.

Shift work

When employees work on second or third shifts, it may be possible to have their hours adjusted so that they are available for training during the trainer’s regular shift. If this is the case, the trainer and the supervisors should let the employees know that their special efforts to come in for the training session are appreciated (even though the employees may need to be paid for their time).

If the trainees are not available during the trainer’s hours, the training will have to be provided during the other shifts. The trainer may have to adjust his or her hours to meet the schedule. As an alternative, someone on the other shift can be trained to be that shift’s designated trainer.

Using technology might be the best approach in some cases involving shift work. Computer-based training programs don’t care what time it is, but the trainer must still make provisions to have someone available to ensure the computer is running smoothly and, more importantly, to answer trainees’ questions as they are asked.

Make-up sessions

Scheduling make-up sessions is inevitable. There will always be someone who can’t attend at the scheduled time. Usually there are very good reasons for missing a class, so trainers and supervisors should not make the trainee feel guilty. However, if an employee’s lack of attendance at required training programs becomes a continuing problem, it may be best to initiate disciplinary action.

Often, the trainer can set up a single make-up session for all of the people who missed the earlier class. On the surface, this looks like the best solution, however, the class could be made up of people who approach the training topic from different job functions. This would require the content to be modified to address everyone’s needs, and, depending on the topic, it may be difficult to approach the training in this manner.

Bypass the classroom

Sometimes a formal class isn’t necessary. If the training material is very limited in scope, trainers can use short, five to 15-minute meetings to present the material to small groups of employees. These sessions can be effective because they are informal and are usually presented at the jobsite; workers take in the information as part of their job instructions.


One last tip about scheduling is for the trainers to schedule in some time for themselves, too. If sessions are scheduled back-to-back, or if classes are held all day, the trainer needs to schedule in enough time to allow him or her to:

    *Talk with people who stay behind to follow up on a point from the class.
    *Take care of recordkeeping functions from the class that has just finished.
    *Set up materials for the next class.
    *Check for important messages that need attention.
    *Drink some water, use the restroom, and take a few deep breaths.

Making sure the class actually happens involves a variety of considerations aside from the training material content. Employers and trainers must pay careful attention to detail to make sure everyone who needs the training is trained. Scheduling is, perhaps, the most difficult aspect of the training program.