If it seems like these days you can find just about anything in a mobile app, that’s because it is quite literally true. From having food delivered to managing your bank account to arranging dry cleaning services, there is an app for anything you may want. In fact, in 2020, there were more than 218 billion mobile apps downloaded.
It should come as no surprise, then, to learn that employee safety has made its way into the mobile app space, too. But how could introducing an app help your organization? Keep reading to learn about some of the benefits of mobile learning, how a mobile app could help all of your employees and what to look for when reviewing partner companies.
Training in any location
During the initial COVID-19 outbreak across the United States, millions of employees suddenly found themselves working remotely or in a more isolated capacity. As we have moved slowly back toward full-capacity spaces and events, many Americans are now working in hybrid roles. However, regardless of employee locations, safety training, job training and HR training must still continue.
Now more than ever, remote training is proving to be beneficial. Whether you have employees working from home, all together in one location or spread across different job sites, implementing online training makes it easy for everyone to have access to important — and often required — training at any level.
Pre-train to introduce new concepts
An interesting use of online training that you may not have considered is the idea of pre-training, often called the flipped model of instruction within the educational community. In this type of training, the learner is introduced to concepts through, in this case, online training materials before exposure in a group training session.
Delivering “pre-training materials” online or through an app means employees can familiarize themselves with new information at any time. In fact, microlearning, the common name for short learning modules lasting 5-15 minutes, is perfect for these situations. With microlearning, learners get directly to the point without any unnecessary “filler” content that may distract from the key information.
Training in native languages
One powerful benefit of mobile training is the ability to offer important safety and HR topics in a way that works for all employees. A common issue that arises with conventional methods is the delivery of training only in English even if that is not the native language of all trainees. Unsurprisingly, many studies have found that limited English proficient (LEP) workers not only understand less of English-language training, but they also do not have the skills to convey their lack of understanding.
Any reputable online training provider will offer their courses in more than just English. Spanish might be the obvious first thought when it comes to multiple language options — especially considering Spanish is spoken by roughly 1 in 7 Americans — but don’t forget things like German, French, Portuguese or even Mandarin.
Mobile use is familiar
As of February 2021, more than 85% of American adults own a smartphone, with the largest generational penetration, of course, found from older Gen Zers up to younger Gen Xers. However, the majority of Baby Boomers also now have a smartphone.
Providing safety, job-specific or even HR training that utilizes something the majority of your employees are likely already familiar with helps make training more approachable and overall more user friendly.
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One of the most important aspects of any training course is that the information being presented must be current to applicable regulations or laws. With standard in-person training, there will almost certainly be times that the material is out of date, whether that is in regards to official regulations, industry standards or even simply topical references.
With mobile training, course content can be updated at any time, typically either via a manual course update from the provider or simply an automatic content refresh. Additionally, the best training partners will make sure their content is up to date so you, as the consumer, never have to worry.
Throughout your life, whether in school or at a job, it is very unlikely you went about learning something new using a “one and done” method. Repetitive learning opportunities increase the likelihood of retaining the information, which in the context of a working environment makes for a more effective employee.
When it comes to safety training, repetition may be even more important than for other categories of training. Employees not only need to stay up-to-date with regulations, but also must know how to follow all preventive and reactive steps in various situations, making it imperative they fully understand the training.
Keeps safety in mind
Think about the last time you took a safety training course. It’s likely that for the next few days, you were more aware of the hazards mentioned in that particular lesson. Toolbox talks, which provide a quick meeting to discuss a certain relevant safety topic, do the same thing as a full training course but can be implemented on a more regular schedule.
A short, engaging toolbox talk is more likely to have a lasting effect on workers. Additionally, a toolbox talk could spark a conversation within management regarding the way something is done. Having a regular “safety chat” creates a new opportunity to see, and review, certain procedures.
Creates easy incident reporting
Within the United States, most employers fall under OSHA’s jurisdiction. As such, they are subject to OSHA inspections, which can result in potentially serious fines. However, even if your workplace is not covered by OSHA, you can still experience incidents that have lasting, devastating effects, monetarily or otherwise.
Offering your employees — at all levels — an easy way to submit, follow and complete incident reports is key in creating and maintaining a safe working environment. Additionally, maintaining accurate records will help when the inevitable day comes when an OSHA inspector arrives at your door — or when putting together a report on a workplace incident.
Employees want training
One thing many employers may not realize is that, more often than not, employees do want training. By offering a variety of training, your workers know they have an employer who cares about their safety, their education and their career advancement.
Over the years, numerous studies have served as evidence of this fact. Some of the most impressive statistics say that 89% of employees want training available anywhere and any time, and for millennials in particular, 86% say they would stay in their current position if more training and development were offered.
Get in and get out
While the majority of employees may want on-the-job training, that doesn’t mean they want to spend hours or even days in training sessions. In 2020, the average company provided 55.4 hours of training per employee, up from 42.1 hours in 2019. That number may not seem excessive, but that is more than one week of normal working hours. And remember that is the average, meaning many companies will be well over 55 hours.
Online training courses allow the topic in question to be presented in a more efficient manner than with traditional training because there is no need to bring in a trainer, take your team away from work to gather together or even potentially travel to a different location. Instead, an employee can access a short training module on their desktop, laptop, phone or tablet when it best fits their schedule and then immediately get on with their day.
Mobile Apps Help at Every Level
Just like with any new program, software or product your company might consider taking on, you need to make sure whatever you implement will benefit as many of your employees as possible.
Introducing your team to a mobile safety app can make the jobs of employees at any level, in any department easier in their own ways.
Employees are able to complete safety training, HR training and even task-related training all in one location. They can also stay notified of new training courses to complete or overdue courses needed.
Safety managers can conduct a job hazard analysis to determine risks of different jobs and decide on controls for each. Mobile apps also make it easy to manage incident reports, no matter who they are submitted by.
Department managers have the ability to manage their teams to keep employees on schedule with required training. This can be done at an employee, team or a department level.
Human resources can easily maintain personnel records in one location, which can be accessed at any time or saved for as long as needed during — or after — an employee’s tenure.
What To Look For in a Training Partner
If your organization decides that online training is the right direction for you, then you need to select the best mobile app for your needs. With hundreds of training partners available, there are many different features you should compare and contrast to find your ideal match.
To be effective, training material must be able to keep the learner’s attention. Illustrating interesting visuals, implementing user-friendly navigation, offering multiple language options, and utilizing relatable scenarios can help keep the training content fun and engaging, which in turn increases knowledge retention.
While training courses need to be engaging, they would of course be worthless if the content is out of date. Make sure any training content you decide to use is regularly reviewed and updated by the creators to be consistent not only with industry trends but, more importantly, with changing requirements and regulations.
Flexible pricing models
As with any software, pricing for mobile training can be somewhat confusing. You want to find a system that not only offers a package that works for your needs but one that is transparent in their pricing and does not carry a lot of hidden fees for unneeded extras.
Typically, high-quality training systems will offer pricing levels per user, per course, or for course licensing. You may also find additional costs for things like implementation and support, but be sure you do your research and are aware of every part of the service you will be paying for.
Unmatched customer service
One aspect that is often overlooked — until you need it — is quality customer service. Most, if not all, of us have had an issue that we needed resolved and can appreciate the importance of a quick, effective customer service team.
Now, this isn’t something that every company will talk about on their website or in their sales pitch. But it may be something you want to ask about. Do they have quick response times? Are agents available at all hours? Will you be added to a long service queue every time you call? This may not be the most important aspect of online training, but it just might tip the scales toward one choice over the other.
Make The Switch To Online Training Today
Conducting employee training is one of the most important things any organization can do. New employees need to be trained on processes and procedures that may be unfamiliar to them, while all employees must stay up to date on regulations.
Online training can help your workforce get caught up on regulatory training requirements or maybe even learn new skills without requiring large numbers of employees to congregate in one area.
It’s never a wrong time to evaluate your current safety program to protect your employees, but now is the perfect time to do so. For more than 30 years, SafetySkills has made occupational health and safety training easy, no matter your industry, job title or location. Contact SafetySkills today to see how we can help get you started on an exceptional online safety training journey.