Build a Proactive Culture of Safety with Microlearning

Watch Video

Dave Blanchard:
Hello and welcome to EHS Today’s Webcast, Build a Proactive Culture of Safety with Microlearning, sponsored by Axonify. My name is Dave Blanchard and I’m the Editor in Chief of EHS Today.

Before we get started, let me briefly explain how you can participate in today’s presentation. First of all, if at any time you’re having audio difficulties, or maybe the slides aren’t advancing, something that, if you just hit your F5 key, that will refresh your Webcast console and probably will clear up the problems. However, if you do have any other technical difficulties during today’s session, please press the help button on your player console to receive assistance in solving common issues. So the webinar technology that we’re using will allow you to resize the presentation. Just click the maximize icon or you can drag the lower right corner and that will enlarge the window. We’ll welcome your questions during today’s event. To submit your questions, simply type your question into the Q and A window, which you’ll see on the left side of your screen, then hit the submit button. We’ll answer as many questions as possible during the Q and A session that will follow the main presentation. Please feel free to send in your questions at any time and we’ll add them to the queue. Please be aware that today’s session is being recorded and it will be available on the EHS Today website within the next week for you to review. We’ll send you an email as soon as that archive is available. Also on your console, you’ll see the Axonify logo is hot linked. So if you’d like to visit their website at any point during the Webcasts, just click on that logo and a new window will open up. Ah don’t worry, this will not take you out of the webinar. And so much for those ground keeping tips.

Let me now introduce our two speakers. Terry Mathis is the founder and CEO of ProAct Safety, an international safety and performance excellence firm. Terry is known for his dynamic presentations
and writings in the fields of behavioral and cultural safety, leadership and operational performance, and he’s a regular speaker at NFC events. He’s a veteran of over 1,600 safety, culture and performance improvement engagements in 39 countries and he’s personally assisted, ah, organizations such as Georgia Pacific, US Pipeline, Herman Miller, AstraZeneca, Alcoa, Rockwell, United States Armed Forces, and many others. He’s helped all those companies to achieve excellence. Terry is also the co-author of five books, more than 100 articles, he’s spoken at hundreds of private and public events, and he’s a regular contributor to EHS Today with his Safety and Performance Excellence column.

We also will have Carol Leaman. Carol is the CEO of Axonify, a disrupter in the corporate learning space, an innovator behind the Axonify microlearning platform, which is designed to increase employee knowledge and performance necessary for achieving targeted business results. Before joining Axonify, Carol was CEO of PostRank, a social engagement analytics company that she sold to Google in 2011. Before that, Carol held CEO positions at several other tech firms, including RSS Solutions and FakeSpace Systems. Carol is a frequent speaker, regular contributor to Fortune magazine, and a well respected thought leader whose articles appear in numerous publications.

And with that, let me now turn it over to Terri Mathis. Terry, the floors yours.


Terry Mathis:
Thank you, Dave and thanks to all of you who are interested in this topic here today. Now just a little diversion before I dive in to what we’re going to present today. I want to sincerely thank Carol Leaman and her team at Axonify for bringing safety some of its most sophisticated and powerful tools just yet invented. She calls herself a disrupter, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen. But what she’s going to disrupt in safety is a bunch of primitive stuff that we’ve been using for way too many years to get us where we wanted to go. Ah, ProAct Safety’s tried to be a thought leader for the past 25 years, and we’ve created a vision of what safety excellence really is. But we’ve had some pretty crude and clumsy tools to get us there. What Carol’s going to bring you here today is incredibly sophisticated and powerful. So again, thanks, Carol, for what you’re doing.

So what are we going to talk about today? This is kind of the agenda for the day. We’re going to talk about how you get from basic safety to safety excellence. A lot of people who are stumbling around, trying to just do the same old thing they’ve always done in safety. How do you get to the next level? We want to talk about how to build a sustainable safety culture and what the benefits of doing so will be. And then Carol’s going to tell you how microlearning can help you get there.

So what is this? What is this basic safety that we’re talking about over here? Well, there’s some things we’ve been doing in safety for a long, long time now, and they’re basically compliance. They started back in the early seventies here in the U. S. when OSHA came into existence and started making rules and procedures. Its compliance. How do you get into compliance, uh, and enforcement of those rules. You know, these are your traditional programs and processes to ensure that the organizations are addressing risk, and especially the high probability of occurrence in severity. But where do you go from there once you’re once you’re there—and I guess you’re never completely there—but once your once you’re doing these basic things where you go from there. And a lot of companies don’t go anywhere, they say, well, that’s apparently this is a good as we can be. We’re doing everything we know to do in safety, and we still got this level of accidents out there. I guess that’s inevitable—but it’s not. How do you move beyond that? Organizations have already mastered the basics start to plateau in their results, and they begin to explore other methods to achieve this new level of transformational safety excellence and that level of excellence is impossible, uh, using the same old tools.

So how do you get there? And what’s the road map that’s going to actually help you get to where you want to get in safety? Well, I developed this and they’ve published it in an article just a few months ago for the first time, but I have a lot of, ah, have a lot of clients that are asking me, How do we get our culture where we want it to be? And the sad truth is just wanting your culture to be somewhere, or envisioning what it is isn’t enough by itself. Your strategy is going to have to change. Your leadership is going to have to change. Your engagement activities are going to have to change, if that’s going to impact your culture. And what really impacts your culture from the other end, too, is the competence that you develop. And Carol’s tools—a fabulous tool for developing individual competence in what you’re doing.

And have I gotten a slide ahead of myself here? I’m sorry.

So this is this is the model. How do you get to where you want to go? If you look down here under culture, and you skipped the first one over here, you’ll see the terms dependent, independent and interdependent. These are terms that were originally originated by an old friend of mine who died a few years ago. His name was Stephen Covey, and he wrote an incredibly best selling book called The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. A plant manager at DuPont said, Well, you know, if highly effective people need to to progress from dependent to independent to interdependent, so does a culture. That’s what it ought to do. And it gave a lot of people of vision and they said, Oh, now I see what I can do, what my goal is to get my culture from one of these levels to the next like that. What they don’t realize is what’s going to have to happen. If your leadership style is still “command and control”, you’re not going to go from dependent to independent and certainly not to teamwork and interdependence over there. It’s going to take a lot of other things to do it. So what I tried to do with this is to make a road map. Where do you need to go, to get from, get through these three stages of culture?

Robert Major, another old friend of mine, used to say, If you’re not sure where you’re going, you’re likely to end up someplace else, you know? So you need to have a road map of where you want to go if you’re going to shape your safety culture the way you want it to be. But another important part of that is understanding where you’re starting place is.

So I wanted to take a little poll here today and say, Where are you right now? Do you feel like you’re still out there trying to control your culture, trying to get a handle on it? Uh, trying to make people do what you need him to do? Are you trying to get into compliance and make sure everybody knows the rules and procedures and follows them. Or are you to this level where you’re really trying to build independent competence where people know exactly what they need to do and don’t have to be instructed to get there? Or have you reached this last level of excellence over there, where your people really are truly a team there, they’re synergistic, they’re working together and they’re making things happen. So if you would, cast your vote over here and say, Where do we think we are right now? Now, obviously, you may be a different levels on different one of these scales that we’re talking about on the earlier slide. But where in general, do you think you are, where where is your organization right now, in this this particular progression.

Here’s the results over here. So it looks like a great number of you feel like you’ve made some pretty good progress towards, towards where you’d like to be. You know, wherever you are, um, there’s always a way up. If you look at that, only what 3.4 percent think you’re there right now, so that means there’s progress that can be made. And I think that progress is that you can make, is something we’re going to define a lot more specifically for you here today, and Carol’s going to show you a tool to really help you get there and make make sure that this happens.

So what is culture? Uh, it’s commonly defined a number of different ways. When I wrote the first book on culture, by the way, in 1996, and J. Wylie and Sons came to me in 2013 and asked me to write another book on culture, which I did, which is out there right now will mention a little bit later on there. But when I was reading this, I read all the other books that mentioned culture, and they’re titled out there. And the most common definition of culture was what people do when you’re not looking. Uh, that’s a terrible definition.

Culture’s…culture’s different, a completely different thing than that. So what is it? It’s shared practices, attitudes and perceptions that impact people’s behavioral choices. So basically it’s not, it’s not practice, it’s the influences on practice. Experience have taught us that several things influence the culture such as location, leadership, supervisory styles, peer pressure, work conditions, logistics, just to name a few. There are a lot of things out there that are shaping the culture the way it is right now. So culture is what shared. It’s not what one person said. It’s what’s between their heads. It’s what shared. It’s implied and develops over time, with each new hire. Each new hire comes in and dilute the culture that’s there to an extent. So you have, uh, you have an ongoing issue, a moving target if you will. And organizations with a strong culture of safety, safety’s a priority for everyone, upper management to frontline employees, you know, so you can create a common cause while still allowing for individual differences. You know, you can unify without standardizing. There’s another good friend of mine, once said, some people just marched to a different accordion, so you’ve got to have that flexibility in there while trying to build this stability. Don’t don’t get into this trap of thinking, I could make everybody a cog in a wheel there. All interchangeable. People are going to be individual and different, but you can unify them under the cause of safety.

So, uh, culture is not what we do, but it’s why we do it. It’s not what people do when you’re not looking. That’s common practice, not culture. So over the years I’ve been approached by a number of people who said, Terry, we need to create a safety culture because we don’t have one around here. What they don’t realize is that they do already have a safety culture. If you’ve got a group of people working together for any length of time, have already formed a culture. So what you need to do is build on this existing foundation. A strong safety culture enables an organization to provide safe and healthy workplaces, prevent work related injuries and health issues, to, which gets into the safety picture over here and continually improve safety performance.

So, do you know what’s currently influencing your workers out there, and can you start to work on that? So why do we want to work on that? Did the numbers, does the data that we have actually support this this idea that we’re there? Most of you said that, but you’re it some level of progression in your safety culture, not to that level of high excellence. So how do you know you’re there? Well, a lot of people will say I know I’m there because of the lagging indicators. But look at what some of the lagging indicators tell us. According to the International Labor Organization, the ILO, there are currently more than 2.78 million deaths per year as a result of occupational accidents or work related diseases. Does that sound like we’re there yet? Or that we still have a ways to go.

In addition there 374 million non fatal injuries and illnesses every year. So all of these had the potential of being fatal, or almost all of them did, they just didn’t quite get all the way there. In addition to that, uh, that means that everywhere around the world, every minute of every day, five people lose their lives while working and more than 700 are injured or become ill on the job out there.

So why do we want to continue to work on our safety cultures out there? Because we’re not there yet. This is one of the leading problems in the world right now, and this is something that’s preventable that we can work on.

So how do we work on it? You know, Dimming said, it’s not enough to do your best, you got to know what to do and then do your best. So how do…what are, what do the dollars and cents say, tell us about this. 1.42 million. This is the average cost of work related deaths per year. One point—I’m sorry. This is the average cost of a work related death and a single work related death cost 1.42 million dollars. Now that that’s an unrealistic number in a lot of ways, because how can you put a—how can you put a price on human life? But these were the obvious costs. These are the things that someone writes a check for, that they pay out. And doing that, the tremendous cost to have someone die at work every year.

250 billion. This is what work related accidents and illnesses and deaths cost the US. Just US organizations every year, 250 billion dollars. What else could we do with that money if we weren’t killing and injuring people with it, we could make the world quite a bit of a better place with that amount of money over there.

And this is interesting, for every dollar you invest in safety, it returns two to six dollars, and this has been proven in a number of organizations around the world over the time. So safety excellence has to mean more than just good business sense. There has to be an altruistic burning desire to keep people safe. So for a culture of safety to truly take root in an organization, the number one focus needs to be the frontline and not the bottom line.

So we’ve been talking about the bottom line here. But what is the frontline? It’s people? It’s carrying
deeply about people. You know there’s there’s an old saying that the numbers can get hands and feet moving, but it’s the rationale, it’s people, the altruism that gets hearts and minds involved in safety. I mentioned that to a major oil company a number of years ago, and their advanced safety program, excellence program in safety, is now called hearts and minds.

So when you build this uh, this safety culture that we’re talking about, you get to this level of excellence in there, what are the benefits? And they’re almost too numerous to mention over here. Everything from fewer injuries and reductions in accidents to lower insurance rates, to fewer fines from the government, to improved employee morale, reduced churn, to increased productivity, and cost savings. The list just goes on and on. No one fails to benefit from a better safety culture. Culture, also, I want you to think of it this way, culture is the sustainability tool. It’s like a group habit. You know, a habit, it’s what makes something permanent with an individual culture is what makes it permanent with a group of people. It takes a while to build but it sustains itself, long term. When a culture of safety takes root, it transforms an organization. It makes them capable of sustaining excellent performance in safety, quality and other operational areas. I have a lot of CEOs tell me, Wow, Terry, when we got better in safety, we got better at almost everything else, too. They’re hopelessly related. Your organizational culture is by far your most effective safety sustainability mechanism.

Culture has far reaching impact into the personal lives of those within it, also. Developing a culture that focuses on achieving safety excellence offers principles to individuals that assist them in their personal quest to remain injury free. And they can do this throughout life. Most importantly, it has a positive impact on the things most people care about more than anything in this world, their family and their family’s safety. With this in mind, what could be more noble than to develop a culture of safety excellence?

So what’s the secret to doing so? How do we do it now that we know what we want to do? What is the secret to building a culture of safety excellence? Had a CEO ask me one time, you know, what, what was involved in building the culture that his organization desired, and I came up with a several several points that I thought tried to try to answer his question.

Um, the first is you need to define the vision. You know, sadly in safety, we tend to be working to fail less rather than to really achieve success. We’re not really trying to achieve success, were trying to avoid failure. And most of our metrics are our failure metrics, also. That’s one of the things that has to evolve, too. If you want a member of your safety culture to possess, what? What’s the vision? What should they be looking at? What values and beliefs and perceptions do you want them to have?

Um, now, once you once you know what you want them to have, how do you make that happen? How do you drive those qualities with your training program, supervision, management, communication and other re-enforcers in your organization? You know, what you have to do is drive those until you reach a critical mass of employees who possess all or most of these qualities, you know. And then you get that critical mass past the tipping point. That’s an incredibly important concept. If you haven’t read the book, The Tipping Point, you really should. It, it helps you understand what it takes to make something go over the edge and really become a reality.

Excellence is not just great performance and great results. It’s the ability to reproduce that performance and results year after year. Improving a safety culture takes work up front, but it pays you back for a long, long time on out into the future. Even the upfront work is manageable if you take it a step at a time and realized that you only need to change the critical few characteristics and capabilities, not all of them. A culture with relatively stable turnover rates can perpetuate common practice for several generations of workers with only a little ongoing reinforcement from management and supervision. And that’s a great ROI in anyone’s books.

But all of this relies on an organization’s ability to engage its employees. So what is engagement? And Dave published an article for me back a couple of years ago where I talked about that. A strong safety culture engages the leaders who set the priorities as well as the workers who are impacted by those priorities. Organizations can drive engagement several different ways. So through the alignment, through communication and alignment. So the experience in the culture of safety starts from day one. When new employees are oriented and trained, are they also exposed and invited into the safety culture. And leading organizations, new employees or not, just simply taught the rules and procedures of their new jobs. But they’re also taught how to be a productive member of the culture. They’re told how this culture thinks about and addresses risks in the workplace, how they interact with each other and watch out for each other, how they seek to continuously improve their safety performance. New employees get the feeling that they’re joining a winning team, not just starting a new job. Safety cultures can be either in, can either enrich or dilute the culture by the new people entering it. If you hire the wrong kind of people or you fail to indoctrinate them into the culture, it pollutes the culture over time. So take the time to include culture in new employee orientation.

Um, avoid information overload also. You know, of all the things that I’ve advised clients to do over the past few years, a lot of it is, to not try to do everything at once. To take it a step at a time, and this is especially important in information. You can give people too much information at once, and in the traditional things that that microlearning has replaced, that’s exactly what happened. In classroom learning and computer based training, we just we just dump information on people. We feed them through a fire hose.

We often ask our clients what they perceive to be the greatest challenges in safety. And they repeatedly respond that they’re overloaded with safety information and directives and having inadequate time to respond to react to them.

Well, guess what? You have to break him down into into smaller pieces. It’s incumbent on safety professionals at all levels to consolidate and simplify safety, for everybody concerned. This means abandoning the age old adage that more is better. Almost, almost without fail when an organization
isn’t performing to their satisfaction in safety, the first impulse is to add new directives, new training, new programs often. They say, And I hear this all the time, they say, Terry, we’re not getting the results we want. Well, I guess we need to do more. Very seldom is more the answer. It’s almost always better, not more. Often this approach greatly exacerbates the problem, which is that they’re already trying to do too much at once right now. Even if safety pros accurately identified a dozen things that need to be done, they should line them up as steps rather than trying to tackle them all at once.

If you’re not sure if you’re overloading your workforce, test their knowledge of recent programs and see how much is actually known and practiced. Sean Galloway calls that return on attention, ROA. You know, are you getting, when you tell people pay attention I’m going to tell you something, do you really get something back? For that, you need to create a sense of ownership.

I gave a talk called Who Owns Safety at a major conference recently, and I asked people, Have you ever once have you ever detailed a rental car? You know, why would you detail your own car and not a rental car? And the answer was because I own it. So ownership makes a huge difference. So here’s the question. Who owns your safety program? People, people support what they help create. Demings been telling us that for years, giving creative input is one way—not the only way—but one way to create ownership. Creative leaders have found that many organizations that specific path to creating a greater sense of ownership and safety efforts. You know they’ve looked for these and have found them. A key to getting engagement to the ownership level is to make the goals of safety people related rather than focusing on the numeric goals. You know that, that getting at TRIR down doesn’t really touch the heartstrings of the average worker. Ownership is about the heart and not just the head. People react emotionally before they react intelligently, and unfortunately, that’s a truth of human beings. So can you play on that and create a sense of ownership and caring and safety?

It’s all about building competency too, you know. When people don’t know how to do their jobs, they don’t know how to do them safely. So. it’s amazing to me, too—and this is one of the things Carol’s going to offer you today—how few people have a metric for competency? I have a lot of organizations that are have a bunch of people lined up for retirement. They’re going to go from an average tenure of 25 years to an average tenure of six or seven years, all in a two or three year period. And I asked him, How does that impact your competency, and they say, I don’t know, we don’t know, we don’t measure it. When everyone’s aligned and they have the knowledge and skills they need and exhibit the right behaviors and feel a sense of ownership, employees work together to achieve common goals. And this is exactly what culture is and what it’s all about.

So what is the perfect safety culture? There is no generic answer to that question. A true culture is not simply sameness. It’s not making everybody alike. It’s not making everybody cogs in a wheel. The characteristics that are touted as ideal or not ideal to some people, they’re just not, not, not everybody agrees on what perfect isn’t what ideal is. But here’s the thing. Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the excellent, because you can be pretty excellent in safety without being absolutely perfect. And what’s perfect to one person isn’t necessarily perfect to the others.

So are you aligning critical thinking and performance to build teamwork and perpetuate excellence? Are you identifying the strategic factors that need to be universal in the overall organization, organizational culture and letting the details of tactics develop within the subcultures? You know, again. People need to know what what they’re doing, they need to have a say and developing some of this over here, so you can’t just define everything for everybody. There’s no such thing as a model of perfection that universally fits all groups and individuals. You know, some of the characteristics that people have, are performance characteristics, others are just personality. And it shouldn’t go in and try to change the personality of an individual or a group. You got to just try to make them safer.

So what should a safety culture be? It shouldn’t be. It ought to do. And this is one of the arguments that I made in in the book Steps to Safety Culture Excellence. You know, a lot of people said, Well, these are the characteristics your culture oughta have. What about the capabilities? A safety culture should be able to target a needed improvement and work together to accomplish it, even if the group does that it a different and unique way in each one of your your subcultures.

Remember, safety’s a journey, not a destination, and that journey will be different for different people in different organizations. As group’s learned to achieve success, they move on to more successes. Forget the characteristics and teach people the basic capability of taking a safety step. You’ll find out all the challenges are easier one step at a time. As the Chinese tell us, even a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So when you do the things one step at a time in small, manageable increments, you get fabulously better results. And on that note, let me turn it over to Carol to explain how microlearning can aid and empower this effort. Carol.


Carol Leaman:
Terry, thank you so much and also thank you for your kind words earlier. We are thrilled at Axonify to be partnered with Terri and ProAct Safety and all of you listening would have realised Terry’s got such a deep domain expertise in this area. So we’re thrilled to be partners in this endeavor.

I’m going to start off by revisiting a few concepts that Terry mentioned earlier. And the first is this notion of confidence that he talked about a few moments ago. There really are two factors that underpin the idea of competence. They’re knowledge and confidence. So what we often believe is that knowledge, simply if people know things, they should be able to do them. But modern safety training isn’t, in fact, just about knowledge. It’s about growing employees confidence in their knowledge, so that they take the right actions at the right time to solve problems, drive your business results and ultimately stays safe. And if you don’t pay attention to both of these considerations, that knowledge and confidence, you could be setting your employees that for failure and introducing risk into your business that you might not think otherwise, because you think people know. But the reality is employees who have knowledge, but not the confidence in that knowledge, will often hesitate to take action in ways that you need them to. And on the opposite end of that scale, you may have employees with great confidence—they believe they know a lot of things—but in fact we have very limited knowledge, and those folks are prone to taking risks in your business or making mistakes. Either way, the outcome is the same. You can start to have unsafe behaviors that lead to accidents, injuries and illnesses in your workplace. And so, what you really want to do in terms of objectives in a modern learning strategy is to be able to move your employees up to that top right quadrant that you see on the graph here, where they’ve got both knowledge and confidence to ensure smart action. Or that notion of competence. Sometimes it’s also known as mastery. And as Terry highlighted, employees’ confidence is so fundamental to the culture of safety. In order to provide or improve workplace safety, organizations really need to make sure that each employee has the requisite level of competence needed to say, stay safe on the job.

Now the challenge in modern manufacturing operations is that front line employees are expected to know more than ever before. I don’t think it’s a news to anybody that the pace of business, the frequency of change in business is so tremendous that all of us are just inundated with information that we need to take action on constantly. And so employees need to be able to follow standard operating procedures, identify and troubleshoot machine issues, learn new technologies and processes, so many other things, and they need to be able to do all of this while remembering critical safety procedures. So in other words, employees have had to shift gears and do that rapidly, midstream often, to adapt. And it means their knowledge and skills also have to be really agile and flexible, just like you need your business to be, overall.

The reality, unfortunately, is that most training programs aren’t capable of keeping up with digital operations because they’re typically one-time, event-based training sorts of situations, triggered often, by a specific events, like an annual safety course. And while the onetime sessions cover lots of valuable material, the content is not reinforced very often after the employee complete the course. And as a result of that lack of ongoing reinforcement, job-critical knowledge and skills are quickly forgotten. In fact, there’s a lot of brain science research around this that shows consistently employees will forget up to ninety percent of what you taught them in a classroom or online even, in a one time event, 30 days after that event, if it’s not reinforced. Ninety percent of what you’re teaching them literally goes away and is wasted. And in a fast-paced world of manufacturing and supplying chain operations, bringing your front line up to speed is almost next to impossible when you employ those traditional training methods. And that challenge is only compounded by the nature of today’s work force. So let’s take a look at a few of those characteristics. Today’s workforce looks something like this. All of these components that you see in the diagram have become the way that organizations are needing to think about and then deal with how the workforce is evolved.

The first of all, there’s way more diversity at work today. Employees, they’re speaking multiple languages, they have varying degrees of education, they’re widely geographically dispersed, some full time, part time, temporary, etcetera. So just the characteristics of the people at work have changed pretty dramatically.

The second thing is that the workplace today is very multi generational. Who would have thought twenty years ago, that today there would be five generations in the workforce. And again, lots of research around this to show that each of those generations have different needs and skills, experience and expectations that they expect their employees—or employers to fulfill?

The third thing is that employees are busy. The pace of business again comes in play here, and they just don’t have time to leave the shop floor for very long to take one time training sessions. And frankly, you can’t afford to take him off the floor, either.

The next thing is that you’re operating with leaner resources and staff overall, but that doesn’t mean your production demands have gone down. In fact, they’re higher than ever, and you’re being forced to do more with less. All of us are.

The next thing, employees are operating under reduced supervision. Again, making more with less, and as a result of that lack or lessened supervision, there’s just more opportunity for them to exhibit unsafe behaviors and create loss for your organization.

Finally, as business and the models, processes, supply chain, become more complex, and that pace of change accelerates, which it will continue to do, employees are constantly inundated with new information, and they have to learn new things in order to stay, stay safe.

This new reality of today’s work environment is leading to a lot of confusion and disengagement with
the workforce. Disengaged employees, I think it goes without saying, are just really bad for business. They make more mistakes. They have higher rates of safety incidents, seventy percent more than their engaged
counterparts, according to Gallup Research. That’s pretty significant. Seventy percent more. Just digest
that stat for a moment. They don’t allow safety procedures and protocol in terms of, or they don’t follow
safety procedures and protocol. Those disengaged employees, really you know, to put it bluntly, sometimes just don’t care. And that can result in injury, illness and fatality. They just drive down performance overall and the productivity and profitability that go with it. And then they just overall have that negative impact on employee morale. And all of those things can mushroom and grow, which is not great for the organization.

Fortunately, microlearning gives you a way to engage employees and make business critical behaviors,
like safety behaviors, stick. So I’m going to turn to talking about, what exactly do we mean by microlearning? Hey, well, in a nutshell, it’s a modern approach to training that leverages cutting edge machine learning and artificial intelligence, mobile technology, big data analytics, and it delivers a personalized training experience that really makes behaviors stick. Although there are a lot of big words and there’s a little bit of explanation about some of that later, but also we’ll be happy to take questions if anybody wants, you know, understanding of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

But here’s why microlearning works so well. First, it is designed for the way people learn best. It’s the simple case, our brains are just not built to remember a ton of information all at once. Again proven by science, time and time again. In fact, I just read a statistic that the average human attention span is now officially shorter than a goldfish. So we just don’t have the ability to remember a lot of information when it’s coming at us all at once. With microlearning, you’re continuously reminding your people of the top things you need them to know, using very focused, bite sized personalization and other techniques proven by science to make learning memorable. And that’s what you really want to do, is create memory that sticks. And when people know things, they do things. So there’s a way to do that in just a few minutes a day, so that your employees do not feel overwhelmed with content.

The second thing is, microlearning is always adapting, just like your organization needs to do. Every single training experience your employees have count, and when you’re able to measure what each person knows and what they don’t know in the moment, along with how confident they are in applying that knowledge on the job, you could fill their individual knowledge gaps with the digestible bits of personal information they need to perform in a way that best supports your business priorities. And this type of adaptive, continuous learning that evolves with your organization allows you to future proof your workforce.

The third thing is that microlearning is really built to keep bringing the employees back and back and back. No technology is going to change employee behavior if they don’t like using it. So, the best micro learning platforms leverage user motivation tools to tap directly into all of our innate desires, for things like self-challenge, to meet our goals, and to win. This hooks your employees to return to the platform over and over again and learn more and more and more. So to get winning results, giving your employees the option to play games, for example, at work might feel counterintuitive, but in fact it really works and that we know gamification results in higher knowledge levels because it creates a dopamine effect in the brain that is very conducive to learn. And when you add in things like points and rewards and leaderboards, you get a really healthy, competitive spirit that develops among your coworkers and shift their mindsets from I don’t have time to learn, to I can’t wait to do my next learning session.

The fourth and final thing is, it really is smart enough to prove return on investment. When you use the power of big data, leading microlearning platforms can show how training is very specifically driving the business metrics that are a priority for you, and the people you answer to. With real time insights for every single program that you’re running, you could identify gaps and growth opportunities so that you can manage risk and focus your learning efforts, and your training efforts where they’re going to make the greatest difference. So this combination of technologies and training techniques allows you to drive continuous improvement in employee safety performance while strengthening your culture of safety excellence.

I’m going now revisit another concept that Terry mentioned earlier, and it’s this idea of behaviors and habits. One of the common misconceptions about culture is that you can define what the organization’s cultures should be, and you can make it happen by doing things like putting up posters. But it doesn’t work that way because you can’t dictate culture. And as Terry so articulately summarized earlier, culture really is the summation of the organization’s behaviors and habits. So while you can’t dictate it, you can influence it by instilling the right habits and reinforcing desired frontline behaviors. But you can’t have culture with the participation of your people, and so this means in order to have a culture of safety, employees need to demonstrate safe behaviours every day, and you need to be able to track, measure and influence those behaviors. Training can be a very powerful tool for developing the behaviors, skills and knowledge you need to make safety a habit. Modern technology-driven training takes it a step further by collecting valuable data every single time the employee is using the platform around behaviors, things that you might otherwise get on the checklist by taking that information, processing it and automatically feeding employees content intelligently based on what they need. And that comes from the results of digesting all of that information and then recommending things that matter. So you can proactively catch and correct unsafe behaviors early on and develop desired behaviors in a really automated, intelligent way.

Modern training also makes knowledge available on-demand and helps with on the job training. So an observer, for example, can watch a module to freshen up on avoiding pinch point injuries, for example. Making the right information available helps prevent the perpetuation of bad habits.

So culture is what shared among the population. In traditional settings, contact between individuals
is often limited to meeting and or training sessions. With microlearning, shared learning can happen
much more often, regularly, and when most needed, so culture can be built more quickly and sustained more systematically.

Now, because microlearning leverages the latest technologies, including things like mobile, it gives you the flexibility to skill your employees exactly where they are. And this concept of training and upskilling the front line is really important. Keeping employees and finding new ones, especially with the right skills, is proving to be increasingly difficult. The job market is so incredibly tight, and jobs are being created faster than they could be filled. In fact, by 2025, its predicted that more than two million US manufacturing jobs are going to go unfulfilled. That is an astounding statistic.

And so what’s happening is that in many cases, manufacturers are looking to other industries for new talent. And while these new recruits might not come with the required knowledge and skills, microlearning makes it easy to get them up to speed super fast with training that’s personalized and adaptive, not only to what is critical in that individual’s role, but to fill in their own knowledge gaps and drive behavior change.

When learning’s mobile and can be accessed on the shop floor through shared access points, smartphones, tablets—many different ways to access it—you can remind employees of important concepts at the beginning of the shift, for example, to ensure they’re going be automatically doing the right thing at the right time, so you don’t have to choose between keeping your people learning or keeping your production line moving. You don’t have to make that very difficult choice, which sometimes tends to keep the line moving versus training your people. The ability to reach a front line where the work is means you can provide daily reminders of the repeatable safe behaviors they should be practicing. It also enables you to move beyond checking the box to say that somebody has been trained to actually creating a proactive culture of safety.

So now, getting back to microlearning and what it is. What does a micro learning session look like in
the manufacturing and supply chain environment. So I’m going to quickly walk you through the experience. First, an employee start their shift by logging into the platform. This could be done from a work station on the shop floor, shared computer in the break room or from a mobile device. So again, anywhere, any time on any device that is accessible to the individual. The first thing the employee’s going to see is a customized broadcast message. These are kind of, in-the-moment, communications that could be targeted to individuals, teams or the entire organization. So if an exam, for example, there’s an improvement to safety process that workers in a specific facility need to know about, leaders really easily and for that particular group of employees of the update and point them to a central repository where the revised resource and additional information can be accessed on demand. Leaders also have the ability, by the way, to see who has and hasn’t viewed messages.

Next, the platform delivers the personalized questions the employee needs to fill in order to close the specific knowledge gaps, so they can remember the things they need to be productive on the job. Responses and confident scores are all recorded, monitored and measured and analyzed. Whether it’s reinforcing existing operating procedures or training the employee on new ones, daily training leads to continual improvements in confidence. To help engage employees, training’s gameified. While it’s recommended, gamification isn’t required. If an employee’s short of time, they can simply answer a quick series of questions. Again, highly targeted and personalized. Built in gamemechanics let employees earn points that they can redeem for rewards. They don’t have to be hugely expensive rewards, they could be a parking spot for a week, for example, while things like leaderboards engage healthy, competitive spirit. And that keeps them coming back for more, drives huge engagement with learning, and because micro learning motivates employees to use it repeatedly, it gives you the ability to develop the desireded knowledge, skills and have it very quickly and over time. And this enables your organization to move in the right direction towards operational excellence, which is exactly where you want to be. And all of this happens in three to five minutes a day, per shift, in the employees work environment.

Okay I’m just go quickly scroll through that and we’re going to a poll. Just after this poll, I’m going to show you some use cases of industry leaders who are using microlearning to help them build a proactive culture of safety. But first, we’re going to ask you a question. So have a look at this and click the answer that you think best describes your situation. How would you describe your employees engagement with safety training at work? Is it A. They don’t complete it? B. They do it when you force them to. C. They complete it when asked or reminded, or D. they voluntarily participate in learning and training, and they do it with regularity. So where do you think your organization sits on that scale?

Well, I’m going to say that just before we click to the results, typically, the majority of answers fall in that A, B or C range, and getting to D can seem impossible. But as I’m about to describe, industry leaders like Walmart, Merck, and Precision Resources and Bloomingdale’s have all manage to do that. So let’s take a look here. The majority, as is the case, it generally speaking and here today, the majority are in that B and C range. Many are doing it because it’s mandatory or required, or they’re being asked or reminded to do it. And as is very typical but unfortunate today, they um they don’t do it. But more importantly, D they don’t do it on their own and frequently. And it’s really that D answer that you are trying to drive towards with micro learning and delivering that culture of safety.

Okay, now we’re going to turn to, to end off the webinar, a few case studies that really demonstrates how these techniques can drive really business performance. First Walmart. Everybody knows Walmart, and they have a very strong culture of safety, and were looking to employ greater techniques that would decrease risk, reduce accidents and injuries and improved employee engagement. And you can see here what that looks like. They actually deployed Axonify across 150 distribution centres in the US, more than 75,000 people, and as you can see, participation rates, which frankly are more than two to three times a week, greater than ninety percent of the time across that population. And this in the first six months across a group of distribution centers Walmart initially deployed in, reduced recordable incidents by 54 percent, an astounding result And they saw knowledge lift in key topic areas of greater than fifteen percent. That was really driving those incident rates down.

The second example, Merck. Merck again, as I’m sure most of you would know is a global medical device/drug company. And they were also looking to reduce safety incidents. Uh and so, again, very proactive culture of safety awareness across the global manufacturing division, and across their 52 global manufacturing sites that have 24,000 people. They have seen a greater than 80 percent voluntary participation with learning, huge decrease in recordable incident rates and decrease in lost time injury frequency rate again, so a great business outcome just through the deployment of microlearning.

Precision Resource our second left example. They are also looking to decrease both injuries but also improve operational excellence without sacrificing productivity. And they implemented Axonify across the entire company, from engineering to finance and all the other office staff, with primary focus in the press shop. And they were able to improve operational excellence and realized 150,000 dollars of training value while decreasing the number of press operator errors and scrap, and again great participation and a great streamlining of their processes.

Finally, Bloomingdale’s as we bring this webinar to close. Bloomingdale’s, as many of you know, a high end specialty retailer, and they deployed Axonify across more than 10,000 associates, particularly in the area of loss prevention. And just over the last three years, they’ve seen more than ten million dollars in savings that have resulted from a reduction in safety claims, huge reduction, 41 percent in safety claims and continue to be very high engagement with the platform and that participation being greater than 90 percent.

So, hopefully, Terry and I have given you a good overview of the things you should be thinking about in your organization and how to employ some tips and tricks and tools to continue down that path of safety. So with that, I’m going to turn it back over to David.


Dave Blanchard:
Okay. Thanks, Carol. And thank you, Terry.

That was a fascinating presentation. I’m looking at how how many questions have come in and I’m looking at how much time is left, so I’m going to try to get to as many as we possibly can. Anybody has any questions? Even if we don’t get to ask them directly on this live portion of the webinar, we’re going forward every question on to our presenters, and they will be able to follow up with you offline. So don’t, don’t worry about it, ah, your question not being answered, sent it in if you’d like to. And just one more quick piece of housekeeping, while our presenters are answering your questions, please take a moment to complete the feedback form that you’ll see in the lower toolbar.

Okay, let me just jump in right away. There’s a couple questions from two different people, but they have a similar question about how do you personalize questions? What, what, what does that mean to personalize them? How do you do that for job descriptions, or is it really for each individual?


Carol Leaman:
Great question. So the questions are developed based on a job profile that really starts with what is the business outcome you’re looking for the individual to achieve, that comes from their behavior, and from their behaviour comes from their knowledge. So it really does start with a design around. What does the job required an individual to do? But what the algorithm does in the background is, let’s just say you and I start the same job today, were both operating the same machine and so we both have similar training that we need to complete and go through.

I do my training today. I get everything wrong. You do your training today, you get everything right. What you see tomorrow and what I see tomorrow instantly starts to become different based on our demonstrated levels of knowledge. So the algorithm automatically and intelligently adapt person by person in those key topic areas based on what those individuals demonstrate that they know or don’t know. And overall, because it adapts every day based on the person’s performance, you end up shrinking the time to confidence very, very quickly for each individual because of that personalization.


Dave Blanchard:
Okay, that’s fascinating bit of technology there and I think kind of part and parcel with all the technology talk is this question, which a number folks have asked in various ways. How do you go from a culture being management triggered to one that’s being self triggered? I mean, it sounds like you’ve achieved success with many of the companies that you talked about the end where the individuals take responsibility for it, but how do you develop a culture where where that’s expected, and in fact, is preferred?


Terry Mathis:
That’s why I That’s why I developed that. Yeah. Ah, that’s why I developed that little matrix. It begins with strategy. You know, most companies, sadly, really don’t have a safety strategy. They’ve just got a bunch of programs they’re throwing it problems out there and then measuring the lagging indicators to see if they really had any results or not. But you have to strategically say, What are we going to do to drive our culture from this point to that point? And that’s going to involve changing a management style, changing of engagement activities, you know, in each of these things on the Matrix over there. And that’s why there’s not a simple answer to that question. You have to drive the factors, the main factors that are driving your culture. They have to change. They have to evolve. If they don’t, your culture will remain the way it is right now. You have to realize that every influence in your organization has shaped your culture exactly the way it is right now. And if you don’t change those influences, you won’t change that culture.


Carol Leaman:
And I can, I can just add to that with a specific example. We worked with a client who had a very management top-down driven, you know, requirement to to improve safety. With the deployment of Axonify, allowing the individual to do the training whenever they had three to five minutes, allow them to play a short little game, reward them for doing training, we had general managers within divisions say that for the first time in their twenty year careers, they had they overheard employees asking each other, Did you know that was the way to do that thing? Or were you aware? and actually speaking about culture, or uh safety related concepts, because the the approach till learning was not top-down, it was voluntary, it was engaging and fun, it was personalized and relevant to them, and it very quickly developed into a pull type of situation instead of push. Uh, so sometimes just making the leap to doing it completely differently fosters a grass roots development of a different kind of culture.


Terry Mathis:
That’s exactly true, if I could just add one common to that. I asked the CEO of a Fortune 50 company
two weeks ago, iIf you charged admission for your people to attend your safety training, how many of them would pay? He laughed at me. That’s, when you Carol talked about how sophisticated this training is, that’s what you’re comparing and contrasting it with. So how do you change your culture? You change your training.


Dave Blanchard:
Let me just ask one more question, we’ve already hit the top of the hour, but I don’t want to be fair to at least one more person. We’ve got tonnes more questions that we won’t be able to get to. Anyways. How do we overcome the gap that has been created when experienced and competent people leave the organization, does microlearning address that kind of an issue.


Carol Leaman:
It absolutely does. And interestingly, what we’re finding is that that issue is becoming very prevalent. And what we’re finding is that organizations are able to leverage the knowledge in the heads of soon to be retiring individuals to help them develop really effective questions and topics that help convey the critical knowledge that may be leaving the organization. And one thing is true, as we’ve discovered, employees that have long tenured experience love to be able to convey the benefit of their knowledge, it makes them feel valuable. And so don’t hesitate to actually leverage them to be able to create questions and contribute to the content on the platform. And that can be done very easily.


Dave Blanchard:
Okay. Thanks, Carol. I think I need to wrap this thing up. Again apologies to all those out there who have great questions. We’re going to send all those questions to Carol and Terry.


Terry Mathis:
Forward or the questions to us. Yeah.


Dave Blanchard:
Absolutely. And well, uh come to address as many of these questions, I mean Terry’s a regular contributor to the magazine and is Axonify so you’ll you’ll, this is not the last we’ll be hearing about microlearning and trust me on that one. Um let me thank our presenters once again, Terry Mathis and Carol Leaman, as well as our sponsor Axonify. As a quick reminder, if you registered as a group for this webinar, please add the names and emails of all in attendance on the exit survey.

So on behalf of EHS Today, I’m Dave Blanchard. Have a great day, everybody.