Let us guess: you need to provide site-specific orientations to contractors before they arrive to work at your site. And you’ve got to deliver other orientation materials to visitors and vendors before they arrive for their visit.
Are we right?
We can even guess some of the problems you’re having. Contractors arrive at your site without completing their orientation. It’s difficult to drop everything and train them as they show up, one by one, but it’s equally difficult to set up classroom-style orientations so you can do it with larger groups. Once the orientation is complete, you don’t have an effective way to store the records. Plus, it’s complicated to manage orientations that contractors have to complete every year or so, because you’re not sure who completed the orientation when. Or maybe you suspect that contractors are billing your company back for the fee they pay to complete your current online contractor orientation solution (which seemed like a bargain when you got it for free).
Are we onto something here? Sound familiar? If so, keep reading, because we’re about to outline some common problems companies like yours face when trying to provide contractor and visitor orientations. Plus, we’ve included a link to our downloadable Contractor and Visitors Orientation Buyer’s Guide to help you sort this all out.
Problem 1. Creating Effective Orientation Materials
Safety managers, human resource professionals, or workplace administrators are often required to create the materials used in contractor and visitor orientations. In some ways, this makes sense: these people know what the contractors and visitors need to know.
But that doesn’t mean these people have the time, skills, or knowledge necessary to create effective orientations (that’s no knock against them-we couldn’t do their job either). And that’s why contractor and visitor orientations often include:
- Screens with too much text
- Text that runs outside of text boxes or even off the screen
- Tiny, blurry photos you can’t see well
- Clip art with unrelated images (like smiley faces or pumpkins)
- Too much information
- Not enough information (this is less common, I’ve noticed)
- Contradictory information
- Confusing information
- Questions about things that aren’t important
- Questions about information the orientation never covered
In short, contractor and visitor orientations are often created by people who are experts at their primary job but aren’t experts in producing training materials, or don’t have the time to do it even if they are.
If you DO want to do this on your own, you may find our Secrets of Effective Safety Training blog post, plus its free 60-page downloadable guide, a help.
Solution: Let Training Professionals Make Your Orientations
Training companies have stables of workers with skills in instructional design, writing, graphic design, software programming, and audio recording, editing, and production who do this stuff for a living. Let them do their job while you do yours. What could be better? You’ll end up with contractor orientations that:
- Present an appropriate amount of material on each screen
- Format all on-screen content appropriately
- Make use of effective visuals that are clear and easy to see
- Use only relevant visual imagery
- Present the right amount of information in total–not too much, not little–just what the contractor needs to know
- Is clear, non-confusing, and doesn’t include contradictory information
- Includes questions that assess only key orientation content
- Never includes questions on content not covered in the orientation
Problem 2. Scheduling Orientation Sessions
Another major headache is scheduling and delivering the orientations to contractors and visitors. Here are some ways people do this:
- Sending orientations in the form of a PowerPoint or written checklist to contractor companies and hoping they convey the information to their employees effectively
- Scheduling classroom-style training and inviting contractors onsite to complete training
- Dropping everything and providing orientations at the drop of a hat every time contractors arrive to work at your site
Each option above presents various scheduling and logistical nightmares. If you’ve been down this road, you know what we’re talking about. If not, trust us.
Solution: Use an Online Delivery System
Skip all the hassle and get an online contractor orientation system that provides the orientations through a secure website that’s available 24/7. Let contractors self-register for the orientations they need, and the system will automatically assign the proper orientations. Contractors can then complete the orientations from their offices, homes, or on the road before they arrive at your work place. And as an added bonus of going online, you can access the system, including the completion records and reports, from your own home instead of having to drive into the office at night or on the weekend. You’ll like this the next time you don’t have to drive to work at 3 am.
Problem 3. Keeping Accurate Orientation Records
The hard work isn’t done once a contractor or visitor has completed the orientation. That’s just the start, really. Who creates a record that the orientation is complete? Who stores that record, and where is it stored? If the contractor has to repeat the orientation every year or two, who keeps track of that? Do you want to be a slave to an ever-growing pile of paper-based records in manila envelopes in the metal filing cabinet for the rest of your life? Do you know how many metal filing cabinets you own and where they are? And in this digital age, how long do you think they’re going to keep making metal filing cabinets anyway?
No matter how you cut it, most paper-based record-keeping systems are a headache at the best.
Solution: Store Completion Records In An Online Computer Database
An online contractor orientation system lets you create and store completion records that confirm a contractor has completed his or her orientation. Your system should:
- Let the contractor print a completion certificate to bring to your site
- Allow your staff to quickly run a report and confirm the contractor has completed the orientation
- Manage orientations that expire and must be repeated on a regular basis (such as every year) by moving the contractor to an “incomplete” status, alerting the contractor, his or her employer, and you of the expiration through email
- Allow you to schedule reports for automatic generation and email delivery
Want to learn more? If so, download our Contractor Orientation Buyer’s Guide below. It’s got some good information for you to consider before you plunk down some money on a contractor and visitor orientation solution. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say.