Getting hired and starting a new gig is exciting. We’ve all been there. New opportunities open. New, exciting challenges present themselves.
But it can also be stressful, intimidating, and even a bit overwhelming. There’s a lot to learn in a hurry, and some new hires are starting at ground zero.
Fortunately, there’s a lot that managers, supervisors, bosses, and coworkers can do to help the new employee. Frankly, just saying “hi” and “welcome,” introducing yourself, and offering any help if needed are good places to start.
In addition, a comprehensive new employee onboarding program is a great start. This can include explaining the company mission statement, values, and culture; explaining general policies, like vacation time and sick days; getting the new employee together with his or her new manager; setting expectations with the employee and learning more about his or her own career goals; and more.
Part of that onboarding can begin the process of teaching the new worker his or her new job, including the tasks and responsibiities he or she will have to perform.
And part of that will be providing new employee safety onboarding to keep the new worker, and everyone else, safe on the job. In an earlier article, we looked at how a learning management system, or LMS, can help with that new employee safety onboarding process. In this article, we’ll look at how online safety training courses can help, too.
How Online Safety Training Can Help New Employees Worker Safer, Sooner
Here are a few ideas for you.
1. Adds to the Diversity of Training Experiences
We make and provide online safety training courses similar to what you see in the brief highlight video below. But that doesn’t mean we encourage you to deliver all of your training online.
Instead, we suggest using online training along with other forms of training, such as classroom instruction, safety meetings, field-based OJT training, job shadowing/following, and more. This is known as a blended learning solution.
We’re not the only ones who recommend a blended learning approach for safety training. ANSI Z490.1, the American National Standard of Criteria for Accepted Practices in Safety, Health, and Environmental Training, does too (get your free guide to EHS training here.)
Doing this will make your learning activities more efficient for you, which is nice. But it will also make the safety training experience more effective for the employee. And that’s the real name of the game, right?
2. Helps New Employees Get Up To Speed
New workers have to learn a lot those first few days on the job.
And the odds are that you may not have as much free time as you’d like to spend time with a new employee and deliver all the introductory safety training they need. Remember, new hires often happen frequently, without any advance notice, and at times when you’ve already got stuff scheduled.
But you can use online safety training courses to help make the new worker’s transition easier. The worker can learn about the basic hazards, controls, and procedures for working safely at your site even if you’re not there with the worker as much as you might like to be.
3. Lets New Employees Learn at Their Own Speed
We all learn at different speeds. For example, maybe you’re a generally fast learner while I’m a generally slow learner.
And, beyond that, we each learn different topics at different speeds. For example, maybe you learn stuff about forklift safety very quickly but just need a little more time with fall prevention and protection for whatever reason.
One nice aspect of online safety training is that the employee can complete the courses at his or her own desired speed. Need a little more time? No problem. Need to review one screen or topic? Go ahead. Need to complete the course a second time to make sure you’ve got it? That’s easy.
4. Lets New Employees Practice and/or Answer Questions Without Anxiety
Not every employee feels comfortable asking questions and letting their bosses see what they don’t know. That’s even more true for new hires.
Likewise, some employees and in particular new employees may be uncomfortable answering questions presented by a manager in a face-to-face setting or having to display new skills while a supervisor is watching.
Of course, you’ll want the employee to do that eventually (and in some cases, immediately). But it’s also nice to use online safety training as a way to
5. Lets New Employees Take Safety Training Just Before It’s Needed
If you do all your training in an instructor-led scenario, or even handle it with job shadowing, there’s a good chance that some of the training a new employee will receive will occur well before they will ever use that safety training in the field.
Which means, by the time the new employee really needs to put that safety training to use, the chances that they’re forgotten it are very high.
Because safety training can be assigned at any time, and the new worker can complete it at any time (without the hassles of scheduling classroom training, etc.), it’s much easier to get relevant safety training to employees when they need it: just before it’s required on the job.
Making safety training relevant is an important adult learning principle.
6. Lets Employees View Training When It’s Needed During the Job Task
Think about a lot of safety training, especially instructor-led training that occurs in a classroom. It happens when the employee is not engaged in the task that requires the training, and it happens a good deal of time before the employee will next perform that task.
And there’s no easy way to “review” the instructor-led training. The employee can’t just schedule a new session with the trainer for today at 3:00 by the machine press.
But with online safety training, the employee can review materials whenever, wherever they want, including in the field just before they perform the task. Mobile devices like the one below, and online safety training optimized to be viewed on mobile devices, make this very easy.
7. Lets Employees Refresh Safety Training As Desired
We’ve already mentioned that once training occurs in a classroom setting, it can be challenging, difficult, or impossible for the employee to request a full “refresher” training at a specific time.
That’s not true with online safety training, though. The employee’s free to view already-completed training again whenever he or she wants. And we all want to encourage that kind of behavior.
Online Safety Training Makes Work Safer for New Employees
We’ve given you some reasons why we think online safety training, when combined with other forms of training in a blended learning solution, can really help new employees be safer employees at work.
What are your own thoughts?
Benefits of Online Safety Training
Wondering if you should make the plunge with online safety training? This guide gives 10 reasons why, each based on experiences at real companies like yours.