Appropriate Knowledge for Implementation

An organization is unable to function effectively without qualified professionals with the level of knowledge to think creatively, devise solutions and prevent issues from occurring. The development and retention of practitioners that are key to technology development, engineering design, research and development and other roles that are necessary to provide products and services to a global economy is challenging, especially in today’s climate with an above average economy presenting a plethora of technical opportunities available for skilled candidates. Training must be a part of the strategy to ensure practitioners are equipped to handle the jobs they are asked to perform. Training should provide practical experience and practicality that complements the technical knowledge that is generally gained from attending learning institutions. Recognizing that early career technical professionals are not generally trained on how and when soft skills are appropriate for use to ensure success of their business encounters, leaders should ensure that there are the appropriate soft skills available and professionals are trained. Generally, organizations are attentive to ensuring that technical professionals receive the skills needed to render them technically competent. However, the same can’t be said about the soft skills needed for success. Soft skills are recognized more today as being critical to the success of professionals in a technology-based environment. Some of the training that should be considered for all professionals include:

  • • Effective communication
  • • Implicit bias
  • • Diversity and Inclusion
  • • Handling difficult people
  • • Leadership
  • • Effective listening

The list above represents some of the skills that have been noted to be lacking among many technical workers. In order to cultivate and nurture workers so that they can reach their highest potential, other training areas that are considered key are critical thinking and strategic thinking skills.

When developing environmental training programs for an organization in all cases, it should be tailored to the group that is being trained. Providing too much information during training can defeat the purpose of educating individuals in the aspects that are required of them to perform their jobs safely and compliantly. Overexposure to information that is not pertinent to performing work safely and compliantly can increase information overload, confusion and loss of knowledge retention. Environmental regulatory requirements are generally massive for a company and can be vied in totality as overwhelming of individuals to grasp all of the requirements.

Training: A Necessary Investment for Success

An important element that can determine whether an organization will be successful in accomplishing goals and enjoy long-term sustainability is the access they have to the skilled workers needed to support their businesses. In order to ensure that the workforce has the knowledge needed, management must invest in their employees to ensure knowledge enhancement and sustainability. Knowledge retention and training strategy should be included in the organization overall business strategy. The training strategy must include the investment needed for success. What are some of the key benefits of investments in training? If closely evaluated, some of these benefits would include the following:

  • • Represents a potential competitive advantage for a company
  • • Increases employee confidence in their abilities and capabilities in accomplishing their jobs on behalf of the company
  • • Increases employee retention
  • • Improves and retains a high level of employee performance
  • • Consistency in performing work and responding to issues
  • • Closing the gap on employee weaknesses
  • • Increases innovation and strategic thinking
  • • Creativity in problem-solving
  • • Increases productivity
  • • Performance of work safely and compliantly
  • • Improved quality in products and services

A comprehensive training program does not automatically occur. It requires strategic planning, budget and resource allocation and management support. It is not always easy to determine the return on investment (ROI) when it pertains to training. However, when referring to compliance with environmental rules and regulations, it is easier to evaluate and compute the ROI value. For example, consider the following scenarios.

Scenario 1 Company A has been contacted by the Environmental Protection Agency that an inspection of their facility will take place within two days. The inspection will focus on waste handling and disposal. The company developed and implemented a comprehensive training program to ensure that workers understand the regulatory requirements associated with handling the waste that is generated as a result of performing their job responsibilities. The timing of the inspection was communicated to the workforce and work continued as usual. Two days later, the inspectors entered the facility and conducted the inspections and issued their final report one week later. The report was complimentary about the workers and their knowledge and adherence to hazardous waste regulations. The final report noted one violation during the inspection involving the labeling of one container found in a remote area, which was corrected on the spot. Although a violation was noted, the agency elected not to impose a financial penalty for the violation.

Scenario 2: Company В has been contacted by the Environmental Protection Agency that an inspection of their facility will take place within two days. The inspection will focus on waste handling and disposal. Management attempted to reschedule the inspection because they believe that they were not prepared for the inspection as they had not taken the time to fully train workers on the applicable portions of the regulations. A decision was made to reduce training cost by deferring training on the environmental aspects of job responsibilities with the intention of evaluating the associated cost for potential inclusion in next year’s budget. The inspection took place two days later as planned and the final report issued to management. The report noted many violations, lack of knowledge, lack of leadership involvement and accountability and inadequate training of workers. The final report noted 40 violations that were accompanied by a financial penalty of $75,000. The regulators communicated to management that the fines could have been much more than they were assessed.

The two scenarios clearly demonstrate the ROI for companies that provide appropriate and timely training to workers. In situations that are noted for example in scenario 2, the cost of training could be much less than the financial penalty assessed. Other costs that are associated with receiving notices of violations can include the company obtaining a reputation of not protecting workers and the environment, frequent visits from the regulatory agencies and lack of trust from their stakeholders and the communities in which they conduct business. Training programs are necessary and should be included in the overall business strategy for a company to ensure the goals of the company are achieved and quality of product and services is delivered at the highest level.

Applied Learning

  • 1. Define environmental justice and why the concept is necessary.
  • 2. Summarize the role of environmental justice and the role it plays in helping to maintain a safe place for people to live and work.
  • 3. Review the two scenarios in Section 7.2.2 and discuss the following:

a. Why is training important?

b. How can training be used to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements?

c. Discuss the differences between the leadership team in both scenarios. Include positive as well as negative attributes.

d. Discuss the culture of the organizations represented in both scenarios.

  • 4. What steps can be taken to enhance knowledge retention?
  • 5. List at least ten key benefits of implementing a training strategy.
  • 6. List and discuss at least two applied learning methods.
  • 7. List and discuss at least four active learning activities that can be used to facilitate critical thinking.


Cole, Luke W., & Foster, Shelia R. (2001). From the ground up environmental racism and the rise of environmental justice movement. New York: New York University Press. Kim, Kyoungna, Sharma, Priya, Land. Susan M., & Furlong, Kevin P. (2013). Effect of active learning on enhancing students critical thinking in an undergraduate general science course. Innovative Higher Education, 38, 223-35.

Markowitz, Gerald, & Rosner, David. (2002). Corporate responsibility for toxins. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 584, 159-74. Accessed March 17, 2020.

Rhodes, Edward Lao. (2003). Environmental justice in America, a new paradigm. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

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