Snoozing and Losing? Contractor Orientations Need to Change
“Digital transformation”-- it’s more than a trending topic. A digital shift is gaining momentum across our industry, with many construction companies not only heavily investing in new technology but also appointing and empowering internal game-changers to drive this revolution.
As a recent Mckinsey report estimates, 98 percent of megaprojects suffer cost overruns and nearly all report delays--that's why the World Economic Forum, in a recent ‘Shaping the Future of Construction’ report, urges construction executives to adopt a digital-first approach. The report stresses that those who do not digitize their processes risk being left behind.
So where to begin? What process can be digitized right away, and quickly show efficiency gains for your company?
Many companies are dissecting all site activities and seeing the subcontractor orientation process as the best place to begin. It’s a vital part of any site safety plan but it’s current guise is screaming for digital disruption.
Subcontractors fighting to stay awake during orientations that sounds exactly like the hundreds they’ve sat through before. Superintendents and trainers chasing paperwork week after week.
Does any of this look or sound familiar?
This painful experience is unnecessary. The whole process can go digital-- and save companies time and money, while keeping construction sites more compliant with safety regulations.
With a digital-first approach to this traditional, outdated process, companies can drive profit and close in on project timelines.
We take a look at contractor orientations, showing you the ‘tired’, traditional belief versus the new, digital-first or 'wired' way of thinking about orientations.
Change how you think about orientations
Tired: If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
Wired: Your contractor orientation is the very start of site kick-off and is therefore the perfect (and only!) opportunity to begin collecting useful data on your workers. Orientations are the first place on the job site that you can start receiving individual-level data from subcontractors. If you link your orientation to other site management tools, for example, your orientations can act as a force multiplier for those solutions. This allows for a more efficiently managed construction site.
Takeaway: Identify the opportunity and place value on the individual-level data you’re collecting from orientations.
Rethink how you provide orientations and verify workers
Tired: 90-minute orientation training on the job site. Safety manager checks ID and subcontractors sign a form at the end to acknowledge they received mandatory training.
Wired: Subcontractors complete orientations online, on any smart device, before ever stepping foot on the worksite. All certifications are uploaded online with identity capture to verify workers. Subcontractors complete orientation online, and you have a digital record of who passed and failed mandatory orientation.
Takeaway: Move your orientations from the classroom to online. Subcontractors can save time by completing their orientation online, rather than the job site.
Update how you manage orientation related paperwork
Tired: Stacks of documents, stored in a filing cabinet on the job site. Records kept in an excel spreadsheet. Physical paperwork is scanned and saved on a computer for a digital record.
Wired: Manage all paperwork in the cloud. All necessary documents uploaded and saved online by the subcontractor and all quizzes completed online. There are no more filing cabinets, only a login and password to access all orientation related documents instantly, from any device.
Takeaway: Ditch the printer and folders for the cloud.
Find ways to ensure workers retain important orientation information
Tired: Face-to-face will always be better than online, even if the workers and trainers are bored. Encourage safety managers and superintendents to be better teachers and keep workers engaged in the training, offering them props and games.
Wired: Let your workers learn at their own pace and test them at regular intervals throughout the journey (not just at the end). Autonomous learning is said to be the best way for adults to learn and results in the best retention rates of information. Online learning offers many interactivity options across multiple devices, allowing the worker to learn when it suits them.
Takeaway: Stop creating more work for safety managers and let your workers learn on their own with an online platform.
Look for a translator
Tired: Some of my crew only speaks Spanish. I need to hire or ask my crew who speaks another language to bring a translator.
Wired: Let your workers learn in their own language. Most online orientations allow you to upload your orientation course and can facilitate translated versions for you. Some are even powerful enough to allow for the orientation to be spoken aloud to illiterate workers.
Takeaway: Orientations in a foreign language can be easy when I find the right tech.
Reconsider how you choose software
Tired: I like my software to be like my swiss army knife… multifunctional (but mediocre at each of those functions)
Wired: Choose software which is best in class for one thing, and which you can integrate into everything else. It also needs to be built for the crew on the ground, who are the ones that will actually use it. 39% of companies cite "lack of IT staff" as the most limiting factor in adopting new technology (JB Knowledge). By using software that's so easy to set up, the need for IT staff is eliminated.
Takeaway: Keep in mind everyone who will use the software. If you're looking at an online orientation platform, it needs to be something the front-line workers will love. It needs to have a great user experience across the board, and to be straightforward and simple to use. Ask yourself, is this tech ok at doing many things, or great at doing one thing?
Change the way you think about the cost of software
Tired: It’s cheaper to have a safety manager or admin do in person orientations and manage this process. Software is expensive.
Wired: Software can pay for itself within weeks by saving me time and driving site productivity.
Takeaway: Take the time to really delve into the return on investment offered by tech that improves processes and productivity. It’s time well spent if it means getting the job done without overruns!
The ROI of online contractor orientation
What is online contractor orientation?
Online contractor orientation replaces the entire classroom contractor orientation process with a digital-first solution. By completing orientations online, workers are able to access the job site 3x faster and cut orientation costs by up to 90%.
An effective orientation completed online has both direct and indirect returns on investment.
What are the direct returns on investment of online orientations?
To see what the direct returns on investment are, let's look at an example of a very basic budget and cost for in-person orientations on a project valued at $100m:
Compare this to the cost of a GoContractor online orientation platform and you’re looking at 90% cost savings with the ROI being achieved within just 1.18 months!
Online can save you not only on cost, but also cut downtime spent completing the orientations and chasing paperwork.
What are the indirect savings of online orientation?
There are many benefits of an effective orientation that trickle down into indirect savings for construction companies.
Effective online orientation training can result in:
- Fewer accidents and better safety performance.
- Less OSHA site violations, claims and fines.
- Reduced insurance premiums down.
- Better data management and protection on-site.
- Reduce lost days to subcontractor absenteeism.
- Reduced cost of schedule overruns.
- Improved employer brand and reputational protection -- according to AGC, 80% of contractors have trouble finding skilled workers. Attracting talent with your employer brand is valuable.
Top construction companies are taking their orientations online with GoContractor
GoContractor helps take your contractor orientations online. With their simple online platform accessed from any smart device, GoContractor makes the orientation process three times faster, helping construction companies save time and money while protecting their crew on the ground.
Top construction companies across the U.S. like Gilbane, Skanska and Lendlease love GoContractor’s easy to use platform. To date, over 50,000 workers and managers give GoContractor a 96% satisfaction rate.
Getting started with GoContractor is easy. Schedule a demo to see how GoContractor can help your crew.
Visit GoContractor to see how it works.
GoContractor Author Bio
John Naughton, CEO GoContractor
John Naughton brings over 15 years of industry experience in transforming technology in construction. Naughton joined GoContractor from Trimble Inc. where he focused on the civil engineering and construction divisions, including its $250 million construction machine control division. As the leader of GoContractor, Naughton focuses on how emerging technology can be used to improve people’s work lives and create true value for the industry.