Success in safety costs - Dr.Isabel Perry, 21stCenturySafety.

Have you tried all the conventional methods for training……classroom training, posters, toolbox-talks, brochures, one-sheet reminders, and even e-learning? Yet, the impact on the bottom line for reducing accidents and reducing costs is not there. Moreover, to make matters worse, your associates are in various locations and difficult to reach which makes consistency lacking. Does all this sound familiar?

Chad McIntosh, VP of loss prevention and risk management at Bloomingdale’s, faced the same challenges. He sought a way to reduce safety incident rates, improve compliance, drive consistency of knowledge across the organization and improve learner motivation. Traditional methods were not working and their safety 'numbers' were flat. He decided to approach training completely differently and, in the process, Bloomingdales benefited from a safer work environment and $2.2 million in savings last year.

The Problem

Regardless of industry, many employees lack the knowledge needed to make the wise decision regarding safe performance. As a result, costs soar in direct relationship to accidents. Bloomingdale’s already had a low rate of safety incidents, but like many organizations, they were not satisfied with being below industry standards. The goal is always ZERO accidents.

McIntosh stated, “I understood that a direct link existed between effective and continuous safety training and the likelihood employees would follow proper procedures, which would reduce injury rates. And enhancing employee knowledge was the starting point.”

Non-Traditional Disruptive Training Method

Technology is moving faster than industries are adopting it. The problem seems to be a lack of awareness by organizations regarding how progressive learning solutions can solve the challenges mentioned above. Most workforces are tech-savvy, multi-generational, and are required to learn more information than ever before. McIntosh set out to find a learning solution to reach this modern group of employees in a manner that would excite them about learning, help them retain information longer, and increase the likelihood of translating that learning into action on the job.

The goal was to locate a cutting-edge approach solution that had to:

  • Integrate into associates’ regular workday without taking them off the floor
  • Appeal to a diverse and multi-generational workforce
  • Offer flexibility to meet the unique challenges in different departments and stores
  • Provide a way to measure learning progress and tie it back to business outcomes

Micro-learning and Gamified Learning Opportunities

Bloomingdales delivered safety awareness training to more than 10,000 employees. They received 3-5-minute training bursts during their shifts—either through the POS (point of sale) system or tablets on the store floor. Safety training was integrated into their day as a constant reminder of the importance of working safely. Moreover, because employees participate in training on an ongoing basis, the information they learn is reinforced so it is embedded in memory and they can apply it in their real work environment. (For additional information on the results of micro-learning, you might want to read an earlier post regarding Safety Nuggets).

The Results

McIntosh proudly exclaimed, “I am excited to report that by reducing safety claims by 41 percent, we helped save Bloomingdale’s $2.2 million this year alone.” Also, 86.6 percent of associates reported their job confidence increased; 83 percent said they believed this training helped reduce shortage and prevent accidents, and 72 percent said they prefer this type of training to other forms of learning. “In my 40 years of experience, this is probably the most innovative program I’ve put in place in any of the positions that I’ve been in for retail safety and loss prevention.” 

If you are looking to provide innovative training solutions to your organization, or a keynote presentation on "Safety and Technology" look no further than 21st Century Safety and The Safety Doctor; we can help you achieve positive results with innovative training solutions and help provide a safer workplace with reduced costs.

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