POET Reduced Safety Incidents 62% [Case Study]

Case Study: Poet Improves Safety Training

The Broin brothers started POET in 1987 as a single, humble refinery in Scotland, South Dakota. Today, it is one of the world’s largest producers of ethanol and other biorefined products.



Kirsten Walrath-Noem

Email Address: Kirsten.Walrath-Noem@POET.COM


Pikes_Peak_Award.jpg POET has 28 plants spread across the U.S. and their mission is aggressive:

  • Reduce car emissions to provide cleaner air.
  • Help the rural economy by serving local farmers and creating new jobs.
  • Reduce reliance on foreign oil.
  • Give family farms new markets for their products.

Poet Sought to Effectively Train an Expanding Employee Base 

Before coming to The Bob Pike Group, POET had 28 different ways to train new hires when it came to safety. Trainers relied on outdated methods to relay information that didn’t engage learners. Timing of training varied as well; some plants had it completed every quarter, some yearly, and some plants didn’t clearly track their training efforts. To impact safety results over a workforce that was dispersed over these 28 plants, they knew they had to be more effective and efficient.


Creative Training Techniques® Increases Engagement and Retention

POET trainers attended the 2015 Creative Training Techniques® Conference and brought that experience back to the job. The Bob Pike Group worked with POET trainers to apply Creative Training Techniques to their existing training. They added interactive activities to help learners engage with the topics. Text-heavy PowerPoint slides were recreated with more visuals and worksheets were organized so “Need to Know” information was clearly communicated and given top priority.

POET redesigned their training to provide a blended approach of interactive activities and written content. They obtained buy-in by monitoring and tracking results through their LMS partner.

Now POET incorporates interactive activities and an organized approach that allows for an engaging and repeatable process. In addition, they more effectively track how training is done at each plant. Reporting is done through their LMS partner. These improvements have allowed POET to stay on schedule with training and expand their employee base more efficiently.

Training Overhaul Results in 62% Decrease in Safety Incidents

The results speak for themselves. Since revamping their training program to be more participant-centered, POET has identified and corrected more than four times as many “unsafe conditions” than the previous year. Moreover, they have reported a 62% decrease in safety incidents as employees consistently know what threats to watch for and what actions to take.

The Bob Pike Group has awarded POET the 2016 Pike’s Peak Award. This award goes to learning leaders who have achieved these dramatic results in participant-centered training that positively impacts performance.

About The Bob Pike Group

The Bob Pike Group has provided train the trainer workshops and consulting services to individuals and corporations for 40 years. BPG design and training consultants are experts with real-world experience in industries like technology, healthcare, government, and manufacturing. Over 300,000 people on five continents have changed the way they train forever with BPG’s Creative Training Techniques that help people learn twice as much in half the time.

About POET

POET, one of the world’s largest ethanol producers, is a leader in biorefining through its efficient, vertically integrated approach to production. The 28-year-old company has a production capacity in excess of 1.7 billion gallons of ethanol and 9 billion pounds of high-protein animal feed annually from its network of 27 production facilities. POET, through its joint venture with DSM, also operates a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa. For more information, visit http://www.poet.com.




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