Top 3 Contractor Orientation Tips

05 August 2014

Contractor orientations need not take up time and resources


Imagine the scene… It is 8am on a cold Monday morning and 2 bricklayers, 3 pipe-fitters and 6 General Operatives are sitting in a portable cabin waiting for their orientation. There’s a delay because one person has yet to arrive and nobody can start work until the orientation is complete.

Finally, the Site Manager launches into the orientation presentation, with body language that says, “I’ve done this every Monday morning for the past 100 years!”. It is not an auspicious start to the first day on the job. Let’s face it…inductions are not sexy, but they are an essential part of working life and serve to reduce accidents and save lives.

The typical orientation includes content on Health & Safety, emergency procedures, security & access, site orientation, background on the site and the company itself. A good contractor orientation will also outline the job to be undertaken and any expectations in terms of behaviour and job performance.

Unfortunately, for those delivering orientations , many contractors have heard the basic information included in orientations many times before and they often ‘tune out’.  Like the Site Manager, they too have done this every Monday, for the last 100 years! But what’s the alternative? Companies have a duty to ensure that all contractors undertaking physical work know and understand Health & Safety requirements and are able to work safely on a company’s site.

So, how can you improve your orientations to keep contractors engaged and attentive?

1. Add interactivity

Making any presentation interactive accelerates learning. Interactivity can denote using technology, but it can be as simple as asking questions, brainstorming or writing a new skills action plan. Instead of telling them your list of Health & Safety requirements, ask them to create the list. The presenter can then fill in any gaps. Interactivity appeals to all the basic learning styles – visual, auditory and kinaesthetic – and turns a cold Monday morning into something fun. Adding quizzes and games to an orientation allows contractors to use their existing knowledge, as well as learn about your company’s requirements. Interactivity keeps everyone, including the presenter, engaged with materials and actively participating in the learning process. It also provides a way for trainers to check understanding and assess the learner’s progress.

2. Mixed Media

Don’t just stand in front of the audience with a series of PowerPoint Slides which simply summarise what you are saying – mix it up. Adding images, sounds and videos to your presentation encourages learning. Contractors are more likely to concentrate if the material you present is interesting and engaging. Pictures help people focus and remember things; they can also convey a point far more effectively than reams of text. Sound clips add variety, keeping people’s attention focused on the presentation – sound can be used to highlight points, add emotion or emphasis, or even add a segment of speech – like a mini podcast. In the past videos required a TV and a player, these days videos can be played from your laptop or embedded in PowerPoint. Videos can be a quick and effective way to present key Health & Safety information, or an introduction to the company. They provide a change in pace for the learners, increasing attention and engagement with the subject matter.

3.Put it Online

Contractor Orientation Tips

Generally, adults prefer self-paced learning, so they’re not restricted by the trainer’s delivery style. If you use an on-line orientation you remove the need for a presenter, and free the contractor to manage their own learning. On-line learning is both interactive and can use mixed media, with questions and quizzes to check understanding. You can build a unique orientation programme containing slides, videos, images and key documents. The main advantage is that the orientations are self-directed; a contractor can spend as much or little time as they need on each module. The contractor can undertake the orientation on their own, at home or in the office. It ensures the contractor arrives for the first day on site ready to work. From a training perspective, learning can be monitored via automatic progress reports, and deliver assessment results and certificates.

Contractor orientations are important; they are fundamental to ensuring the safety of those on site. By making orientations interesting and relevant, with interactivity and different media formats, you make sure that contractors understand the unique requirements of your site and business. By moving to online induction, you can incorporate these elements, while providing a self-paced, personal learning environment. For a company online brings many additional benefits by reducing the administrative burden of orientations.

Contractors can arrive on site fully orientated – ready to start work and stay safe! If you wish to learn more about how to improve your orientations Watch our 60 seconds Video or Take a Free Demo Today.

Sonya Sikra

Sonya is the Brand Strategy Manager at GoContractor. She specializes in communicating how implementing tech in construction can drive productivity and profit.

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