Category Archives for Business Operations

Video for Quality, Compliance, and Safety in Field Operations and Training

Everybody knows how effective video can be for learning about complex business processes, equipment, and field operations. Most manufacturers of equipment provide carefully produced videos so operators can train at their own pace and review the video anywhere, anytime. 

Videos with “dos” and “donts” are great for promoting safety in your operations. 

BUT there are other, newer ways that businesses are starting to use video to make training more effective, ensure safety, and improve quality, especially in field operations.

Here are three of the key things they’re doing. 

1. Training

Not what you’re thinking. Sure, training videos are important, but that’s expected nowadays. Many organizations still haven’t realized the true power that comes from video now that we all have amazing smartphone cameras. 

Given the cost of training employees, it’s painful to see them retain only part of the information and ultimately forget much of it in just a couple of weeks. Even when employees really internalize the training, in many situations managers can’t even check the quality of their work unless they are right there in person as the work is being done. Add continuous retraining into the mix and monitoring employees’ performance gets really tough.

 Some cutting-edge business are using video for training in three, slightly more advanced ways:

  1. Training videos are presented with questions embedded in them and the opportunity for the trainees to ask questions and dialogue about what they’re watching. The engagement really goes up, so the information sticks.
  2. When the training is about equipment operation or fieldwork or client relations, the trainees' own phone cameras can record the their training practice exercises and instructors or managers can give feedback. After getting feedback, the trainees try again and upload a new, better performance of the task. That’s how people learn best; the people who study this kind of learning call it deliberate practice.
  3. Videos are truly effective in these programs when the tasks and skills are used on-the-job almost immediately. So when the training is over, it’s even more important to make sure the workforce is doing things right.  They can self-record in the field, doing the job, and the feedback process happens again. We know this sounds like a lot of work, but how much time and money would you save if your people didn’t make mistakes out there in the field with equipment or with customers?

2. Compliance with Legislative and Industry Standards

Videos can be used to help educate employees about relevant laws and policies that apply to their jobs and to the business as a whole. And then, when they’re able to film themselves doing their job (occasionally), you get a built-in audit of compliance with legal obligations. The same goes for employees obeying company and industry policies, and even legal requirements. Lots of employees say they’re unaware of some of the requirements of the job and this can be extremely dangerous. Video can help a lot. If you can improve compliance, you’ll get better safety, customer satisfaction, and it’ll boost your bottom line.

You can even create a mix-tape to use in marketing and sales, showing how great your employees are. 

3. Monitoring the Quality of Work Out in the Field

One of the problems facing field technicians and operators is that they don’t have great communication with their managers and peers due to the nature of their job. They’re out in the field, on job sites, and dealing with customers independently. 

Problems arise when they encounter something they don’t know, or they're simply not doing the job well enough. As a manager you can ask them to record clips as they perform some key responsibilities. Then you use new, user-friendly software tools to point out specific details where they need to do things differently. Managers can even record a video-comment, showing how to do it better. Similarly, if operators encounter a machine or a situation that they don’t have much knowledge about, they can communicate asynchronously (not in real time -- just like email and texting) with managers and other field technicians to get input on the best way forward. 

Imagine a coffee barista who follows all the right steps to make a latte, but when he gives the customer the coffee, he doesn’t do so enthusiastically. Instead, he looks like he’s dreading every second of being in the job. Obviously this can threaten the cafe's reputation and push customers away. What if the employee filmed himself for a couple of minutes and the manager saw the issue clearly. A manager might catch this in store, but might be too busy to notice or hesitant to bring it up. With a video, you can spot the mistake and correct the employee gently, constructively, and in a detached way rather than in the heat of the moment. It’s amazing how much video convinces people they aren’t doing things as well as they could. Most of the time we know what we should be doing and don’t realize that we’re not doing it!

It's really hard to monitor field operations. In cases where technicians and operators have limited connectivity you may only be able to talk to them at the end of the day, or in more severe cases, after a few days. Video is the answer. Phone video recording, uploading later when there’s connectivity, opens up countless quality-assurance and process-improvement opportunities for these field jobs. The sharing of videos quickly creates a network of priceless information which could facilitate future onboarding processes as well as promoting safety and quality. 

“How can I introduce video comprehensively into my business?”

The obvious starting point is to simply ask your employees to use their phones to record themselves during particular parts of their work and then send them to you (e.i. Using texting apps, Google Drive, YouTube, or email). But that sounds like a tech nightmare. YouTube or email might be a quick solution to start with if you have five to ten videos, but it would quickly become a jungle to manage if you really use video with a sizable workforce. Finding, commenting on, and archiving these videos just isn’t practical using Email and YouTube, and it's only slightly better with shared cloud file storage (Dropbox).

Another possibility would be to have your employees use a portable storage device such as a USB or an SD card with the video in it. But that just seems really old-fashioned and inefficient. 

And with these workaround methods you also don’t have the option to comment on specific moments during the video.

Businesses that want to take advantage of these three new ways of using video for training, safety, and quality improvement should use cloud video software designed for this purpose.

Some of the options are WeVu, GoReact, Bongo, Bridge Practice, Rehearsal.com, Vosaic, and Acclaim

WeVu is probably the best value for money, the most flexible, and easy to use. WeVu lets you organize videos, keep them private to the right people, and put comments right on the timeline of the video using text or audio or video for the comments. And you can even mark up and comment on images and pdfs.

Managers can decide what videos are available to whom and can change these settings at any point. Once uploaded, they’re stored in secure cloud servers and will always be available to whoever has access, but they key thing is that you control who has access to which video playlists and submission folders. You’ll be able to combine your own training videos with a space for your employees to upload their own recordings. They’ll get powerful feedback on their work and continuously improve the quality of their daily activities.  Managers might even be tempted to work at home -- giving pointed, effective feedback while enjoying a nice cup of coffee (in their pajamas).