Improving emergency preparedness and ensuring compliance with federal regulations: An Information Mapping® success story
The survival rate for organizations that experience large-scale industrial accidents or similar major incidents is very low: 80% of them close their doors within 18 months after the incident. Those that survive often find themselves facing legal action and significant fines. They may also be subject to paying the costs for government takeover of incident management.
Incident Command System (ICS) Training is required by federal law
Companies in the energy and chemical industries and others whose activities involve working with hazardous materials or process safety management are required by law to complete the federal government’s Incident Command System (ICS) training. ICS is a standardized approach intended to ensure coordination of the efforts of all organizations involved in emergency management of an incident. The training is government-specific, and trainees from the private sector often have difficulty retaining much of the course material. Some can pass the certification test at the end of the course only after the instructor has given them the answers. Many trainees report that they’re unsure of their ability to effectively manage an incident.
Texas-based PerformSafe helps organizations to understand and implement ICS
Judy Benavides: “The government’s training is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA provides the training for free, and the content is great, but it’s really aimed at government personnel? When private companies send their emergency response people through that training, they often leave confused and unable to understand what they’d really need to do in a major incident. We offer companies that really care about managing incidents a better alternative: training that helps their people to truly understand how to work with the ICS.”
The Information Mapping method makes ICS training more effective
“When we developed this training, the Information Mapping method was essential to our work,” Judy continued. “For example, a big issue was untangling the processes from the procedures. It’s really important to separate those two information types, because if you don’t, people become confused and make mistakes, especially in emergency situations. We also wanted to present the information using a hierarchical approach, and make sure that trainees got the big picture before we gave them the details. The Method is perfect for this.”
Customers who “know ICS better than the government does”
PerformSafe’s revision of the ICS course has been resoundingly successful. Incident response team members leave the re-designed course with such a complete understanding of ICS that government first responders tell them that they know ICS better than the government does. They easily pass the certification test on their own, and they are confident in their ability to implement best practices for managing any incident.
PerformSafe credits Information Mapping as a major factor in their success
These outstanding results don’t surprise Judy and her team, all of whom are enthusiastic about the Information Mapping method.They believe that it’s one of the most important reasons for PerformSafe’s success.
“The Method is a major factor in the quality of our training,” Judy told us. “It’s no exaggeration to say that Information Mapping is helping to protect our environment, the public, and our customers’ employees and assets.”
U.S. Coast Guard
Reducing training time and improving performance with the Information Mapping® Method
The U.S. Coast Guard’s mission addresses issues of national defense, maritime safety and natural resource protection. With about 42,000 personnel on active duty, the Coast Guard’s training needs are extensive and often highly specialized.
Since the mid-1980’s Coast Guard trainers have been using Information Mapping techniques to ensure the effectiveness of their training programs.
Challenge: Performance support for new Boarding Officers
Coast Guard Boarding Officers board and inspect commercial vessels in accordance with detailed and complex regulations. Inspection policies and procedures vary, depending on factors such as the vessel’s length, tonnage, number of persons aboard, and the type of commercial activity in which it is engaged. Boardings and inspections often take place on the high seas, under less-than-ideal conditions.
Coast Guard trainers faced the challenge of creating training that would help inexperienced Boarding Officers perform inspections in accordance with regulations, regardless of conditions.
Solution: Job Performance Aid and User Guide
Coast Guard trainers developed the Coast Guard Boarding Officer Job Performance Aid (JPA) to provide Boarding Officers with the information they need to achieve efficient, accurate inspections. The JPA enables a Boarding Officer to enter data about a vessel under inspection into a hand-held Personal Digital Assistant. The JPA then guides the Boarding Officer through an appropriate inspection process based on the applicable regulations.
The members of the Coast Guard training design team that created the JPA applied Information Mapping principles to design a highly effective User Guide. The Guide features
- integrated screen shots
- separation of information types
- consistency in terminology and presentation, and
- a constant focus on the user’s needs.
It is an excellent example of how the Information Mapping method can simplify complex procedures.
Results: improved performance and reduced training time
The JPA and accompanying User Guide have proven to be extremely successful performance support tools. Initially introduced in the Coast Guard’s 13th district, the JPA was quickly adopted by adjacent districts and then throughout the service.
Coast Guard trainers credit the JPA with “substantially reducing improper application of regulations” and with “real reductions in training time for new Boarding Officers.”
The JPA has also received an Award of Excellence from the International Society for Performance Improvement.
“The Information Mapping method gave us what we needed—replicable strategies for presenting training-related information. It’s a great tool that’s proven very effective for us.”
-- Commander Daniel Hardin, Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Coordinator, 13th Coast Guard District, USCG
Developing training to enable the sales force to introduce a complex and extensive product line
ResMed is a California-based developer and manufacturer of medical equipment used to diagnose and treat sleep-disordered breathing ailments. Products include nasal masks, flow generators, humidifiers, head harnesses and other devices. The organization holds more than 3,000 patents and employs over 3,000 people.
A training team of instructional designers and technical writers at the ResMed Learning Center needed to develop training that would enable the sales force to introduce a complex and extensive product line to prospective customers in a new segment of the market. To be successful, salespeople would have to quickly gain understanding of new concepts and unfamiliar terminology.
The training team was faced with very aggressive deadlines for developing several sales training modules that would help the sales force to fluently and effectively represent ResMed’s products to the new market segment.
Members of the training team applied the Information method to design and develop the new sales training modules. Team members used the Method for all phases of the project, from the initial design work and the structuring of interviews with subject matter experts, to the layout and formatting of the final modules.
The Information Mapping method helped ResMed to ensure the success of this sales training initiative.
ResMed’s training team credits the Information Mapping method with significant reductions in training development costs. Using the Method enabled the team to reduce development time per module by a full 50%. The Method also helped them to achieve average reductions of over 20% in page count per module.
The ResMed sales force’s acceptance of the new modules was immediate and enthusiastic. Salespeople and their managers praised the clarity and accessibility of the information. They reported that the shorter, concise and easily understood modules enabled them to spend less time reading and more time focused on sales activities.
Indian mega-corporation chooses Information Mapping to ensure compliance and enhance performance
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) is truly a mega-corporation. It is the second largest company in India by revenue and ranked 99th on the Fortune Global 500 list of the world's biggest corporations. The company is a conglomerate with operations in construction, communications, energy, healthcare, science & technology, natural resources, petrochemicals, retail, textiles and logistics.
Wishing to support regulatory compliance and improve employee and organizational performance, RIL has asked IM India to provide training for its e-learning content development and Human Resources team.
Following their training, members of the team will apply the Information Mapping Method to create clear, user-focused training materials, reports and proposals. IM India is also offering RIL a follow-up day of instruction to ensure that team members make optimal use of Information Mapping techniques.