Let’s be honest – safety training videos aren’t known for their engaging subject matter, inspiring camera work and dialogue that educates while entertaining. The harsh truth is, they’re boring. But the good news is they don’t have to be! There are easy ways to make your safety training videos more realistic, entertaining, relatable and even free from bad early 90’s hair! Even better, you can ensure that these videos do more than entertain your team – they can educate them about serious compliance issues at the same time. Start prepping your Oscar speech because if done right, your latest safety compliance video could have you collecting a gold statue of your own!
Safety training videos work because you can both show and tell your employees what they need to know. It’s no secret that video is inherently more interactive than text only. Consider this – would your employees rather watch a 10-minute video or read a 10-page manual?
- Stay realistic
Now is not the time to train your team with outlandish scenarios that they have a one-in-a-million chance of dealing with. Look at the most realistic safety challenges your team faces on a daily basis and make sure they’re feasible. Despite the fact that a safety scenario where a maniac with a knife runs through your call center would make for a lively safety training video, it’s unlikely (we hope!) that’s a situation the majority of your employees will deal with on a regular basis. Stick to realistic scenarios like maintaining a safe workspace and dealing with stressed and upset customers in a courteous and stress-reducing way. The most effective safety training videos help staff use their knowledge in practical, real life examples.
- Keep it Short!
There’s no need to produce a full length feature film to get this job done. Keeping training videos quick and concise is key to helping employees fill in gaps in their knowledge and get back to work in a flash. While some training is complex and may require a more in depth explanation, that training is the exception, not the rule. But if you do need to train staff on a complex and elaborate safety issue consider breaking your videos into a series where each video addresses a different component or sub topic. The ongoing COVID 19 pandemic is a great example of a safety situation that may require a library of videos that cover everything from proper masking, to hand washing technique, to staying socially distant in an office situation. If you want to get serious about short videos, consider if you have topics that might fit the micro video format. These are videos that are 5 – 15 seconds long and are suitable for videos that are focused on a single idea or process. These videos don’t have time for narration but can use text on screen effectively.
- Interactive Video
Another new format is interactive videos. Remember ‘Choose your own Adventure’ books from when you were a kid? Consider the adult version where viewers or staffers are asked to respond to situations and watch how things play out based on their choices after their decision. These videos are a great way to get employees engaged in the content and be able to try out a variety of answers in a particular situation or scenario and see how they play out.
- Make ‘em Laugh
There’s no better way for a video to become memorable than to add humour to it. A touch of ingenuity and humour can turn health and safety truths into fantastic educational content. Adding humour to your safety and training videos is key to making them not only memorable but effective. From how to use a fire extinguisher to WSIB training – with a grain of salt it can all become a humorous anecdote in a safety training video that will both teach and entertain your employees. Imagine staying safe because you remembered the punchline to a joke? What a win!
- Consider cartoons for Risky Business
No need to act out seriously risky scenarios for the sake of training – animation can be your best friend in these situations. Instead of hiring actors, stunt coordinators and placing everyone in risky situations use animation to re-enact these high risk situations and impart important learnings. This is especially a great idea with the COVID 19 pandemic – you can avoid jeopardizing the health of participants and still create a video training staff on procedures for accidental virus exposure. You can cover employee processes for reporting exposure, symptoms, treatments and a return to work policy while keeping everyone safe.
- Get Personal
The best training videos are the ones that delve under the surface and share real and personal anecdotes from staffers who have been there. Real world examples let your team learn from others’ mistakes. Your safety video may be recreating dramatic events in the workplace – but it’s when the scenario is real enough that employees can easily see the scenario happening to them or their colleagues that an emotional connection is formed. That’s when the importance of compliance really hits home. Teach your employees not just how breaches negatively impact the organization as a whole but also how they affect them on a personal level.
- Get with the times and get mobile!
In 2022 if you want your video content to be easily digested it NEEDS to be optimized for mobile viewing. Your staffers are never far from their devices so make it easy for them to keep your safety training videos close at hand as well with mobile viewing. Mobile viewing optimization is more than just uploading it to a mobile friendly site – you’ll need to look at ensuring the video is compressed properly and adding subtitles for accessibility. Subtitles are hugely helpful to anyone in your organization who is dealing with special needs and also a big help to anyone training on the go where volume simply isn’t an option. With subtitles catching up on safety compliance on their morning commute or while waiting for a client becomes a great option for your employees. Subtitles also make it easy to localize content allowing staffers to pick their preferred language.
- Pop some popcorn for an employee viewing party!
Before you hit post on your latest safety training video consider a viewing party! Gather trusted employees, ply them with popcorn and ask for honest feedback about the video before making it official! Are there parts they relate to easily? Scenarios they didn’t connect with? Is there anything they found difficult to understand based on the visuals and language used to explain it? Get into the details and ask if any of the music or sound effects took them out of the video. Incorporate their suggestions and invite them back for another viewing party to make sure your video is ready for its big premiere!
- Pick the right Editing Software
These days there are editing software programs that can be used whether you’re a beginner or an expert but each program has its pro’s and con’s. Making sure your organization is using software that is best optimized for your goals is essential. Does your software have a library of transitions and special effects that you can add to your video? An asset library of stock footage? Is it user friendly and budget friendly? This decision will be KEY to producing top quality safety training videos on a reasonable budget. The good news is most major editing programs have free trials that you can use to your advantage. Develop a test project and edit it on your top software choices using free trials and then decide which produced the best video in the most user friendly way!
- Consider going Pro
If your budget allows you can always hire the professionals to knock your safety training video out of the park. Professional video production teams have the necessary tools, equipment, design skills and most importantly experience to take your safety training video from flat to fantastic. Professional teams are also well versed in taking pre-existing online training footage and repurposing it or using it alongside fresh footage. If you outsource to a vendor make sure to vet the qualifications of your vendors and have top contenders submit RFPs. If you’re in doubt, have the team submit a sample video to gauge their abilities and evaluate the quality of their work.
Personalization is the key to producing relatable and effective training videos. Getting to know your employees – their preferences, cultural backgrounds and the challenges they face in their jobs makes it easier to create content they can connect with. The ultimate key to a successful safety training video is a great story arc. Introduce your characters and the situation, show us the obstacle in their path and then show how compliance to safety procedures can help them overcome it. This can be framed by captivating dialogue, interesting characters and visuals that engage your audience. Captivating your audience without reducing the practical value of safety training is the ultimate goal.