Public safety was the primary service sector self-identified by 162 respondents. Of these, 24% were in sergeant or higher positions, and 17% were training or staff development directors.
COVID-19 Insights: During COVID-19, respondents cite the organization’s flexibility, infection control, and online options as top strengths of their staff development and training programs. Poor IT infrastructure and outdated information are the most commonly noted weaknesses.
In the context of the pandemic, respondents have indicated their organizations were generally well-prepared across multiple measures related to training delivery. Public safety organizations are best prepared to deliver online training (77%) but least prepared to deliver virtual live training (55%).
Organization’s Preparedness by Area
Top 2: Prepared includes “Mostly” and “Completely” Prepared
Bottom 2: Unprepared includes “Mostly” and “Completely” Unprepared
Importance of Staff Development and Training
About three-quarters of respondents (74%) consider staff development and training highly important. Although 25% are happy with their organization’s level of financial investment, more than a third (36%) believe their organization is not investing enough. About two-thirds of respondents (68%) indicate that more than half of their organization’s training in the past 12 months was conducted to satisfy compliance requirements.
Biggest Needs for Training
- Customer service
- Mental health
- Trauma-informed care
Amount of Training Conducted to Satisfy Compliance Requirements
In 57% of the organizations surveyed and 80% of large organizations, responsibility for managing staff development is shared across multiple people or departments. Having dispersed responsibility could affect the perception of whether investment is adequate.
Management Responsibility in Staff Development and Training
Q: Which of the following best describes management responsibility in staff development and training at your organization?
COVID-19 Insights: Although respondents in the initial survey recognized the importance of training and staff development, the overall level of training is steady or decreasing across three primary categories amid the pandemic. Public safety organizations are maintaining or decreasing new hire training (52% and 37%, respectively), training for existing front-line employees (34% and 39%), and compliance-driven training (59% and 26%), since the pandemic began.
During the pandemic, 39% of respondents noted increased importance given to staff development and training. Training topics given priority in public safety were employee wellness and self-care (62% of respondents), pandemic planning and response (58%), and infection control (50%). Attention to infection control as a priority training topic was notably lower in public safety than in all healthcare sectors except payers and insurers.
Change in Amount of Training Since COVID-19
Fewer than half of public safety organizations (40%) participating said they conduct at least half of their training online. And of those who do train online, few (13%) have adopted mobile devices like smartphones or tablets for more than half of their online training.
Online Training Conducted With a Mobile Device
Q: Of the training done at your organization in the past 12 months that was completed online, how much was completed using a mobile device (e.g., smartphone, tablet)?
Organizations most often track training completion using databases (48%) or LMS software (44%) to evaluate whether training is put into practice on the job. Only 41% believe that the organization has reasonably well-developed methods to evaluate whether employees have completed their training and integrated it into their jobs.
Extent to Which There Are Methods to Evaluate Training Implementation
Q: To what extent does your organization have methods in place to evaluate whether training is put to practice on the job?
COVID-19 Insights: Organizations are using more of those same top tracking methods since the pandemic, with use of databases (23%) and LMS software (21%) increasing.
Get the full report
Download a PDF of the full 2020 State of Training and Staff Development Report