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“Training troubles, facilities folks, and colossal compliance!” | Sony Heir

Posted by Jonathan Klane on Jun 1, 2021 2:37:12 PM

[Story narrated in their words by Sony Heir, prepared and written as a story by Jonathan Klane]

“Your training system will eventually fail. You may wish to get a new one.” No truer words were spoken. These were from the regulator inspecting our NEIDL Facility (with BSL-4 labs). We can’t operate if we don’t have accurate and trackable training. Or if a regulator shuts us down over it. Great – now what?

Facilities were doing in-person toolbox talks – you know, swipe their card, get an attendance record, and try to merge it with the training. It was awkward, clumsy, and time consuming.

I had the solution – “Let’s use our SciShield Training module to systematize it!” Their response? “It won’t happen. It won’t work. The guys won’t log in. There are language challenges. Don’t bother even trying.” Ugh.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like getting “no” for an answer. So, I asked if we knew how many we trained? “No, we don’t know”. We needed to use SciShield.

Then the pandemic hits and we can’t do in-person training anymore. Now it’s, “Sony, can we do these online?” Cool! “Yes, but there’s no records with our online PowerPoints.”

Finally, we’re trying to roll it out to Facilities who have 34 different groups with over 700 people total! Large and complex to be sure.

We wanted to be able to see compliance in each “Area” – so, I I made each Area Manager a Sub-group Manager in SciShield with access to their employees’ records. I sent each manager an email with direct links to “bookmark these, please!”

Talk about a fantastic start - their first trainings started on a Monday and by Wednesday they had >65% compliance! Better still, within just 2 weeks they had >90% compliance!

We got lots of positive feedback! But we didn’t include a quiz – did that matter in our numbers? Everyone loved that we had actionable data for the first time! Their Director, Bill, put all of their training courses into SciShield – he loved it that much!

Next, we gave a bloodborne pathogens course from Vivid Learning (a SciShield partner for training) with a quiz. “Now we’ll see.” This time within a month, we had >90% compliance again! That was the convincer – the directive came down, “Put as many trainings as possible into SciShield!”

And what about those skeptics? Even with >700 Facilities folks, we had fewer than 5 problems with logging in, etc. – an amazing success!

Then we got new skeptics who claimed, “We have to keep our existing programs just in case!” They wanted integrations between SciShield and old ones. Guess what? None were worth it! We weren’t gaining anything and the efforts were wasting our limited time.

The old systems had no records and so our folks repeated the same courses they’d taken. But in SciShield the records are all there and easy to see. Finally, we had to and did let go of all of the old systems and as I told folks, “We are not going back!”

Managers now can discuss how it’s going, any training issues, who attended, their data, the quizzes, etc. It seems impossible especially with “covid time” – but we accomplished so much in these 9-10 months that we never would’ve before!

And now? We have actionable data, Facilities takes the learning into the field, and work out any challenges. People are amazed and happy with the outcome and what it means for us! We’re happy (and no one wants to go back to the old ways).

Back to our NEIDL facility and the regulator - we’re no longer worried about being inspected. “Do you have training data you can show us?” – well, back before SciShield, the answer was, “No, we don’t have real-time compliance data,” - now, it’s “Heck yes! We know our training data – here look at it all!”

Sony Heir, Associate Director, EHS Systems and Training at Boston University (BU)