We’ve beaten our personal best – with an unprecedented number of Site Sentinel online worksite safety inductions in one month!

We’re thrilled to announce we’ve smashed our own monthly inductions record – delivering 2,145 online worksite inductions to rail personnel in the month of May 2021 – our highest ever monthly figure.  Pre-COVID we delivered an average of 2,000 inductions per month in 2019 – indicating the rail industry is firmly back on track!

Founder of Lucid Communications, Paul Townsend said “We’re delighted to have beaten our own induction record.  Not only is this fantastic news for Lucid, it’s also a heartening indicator that the rail industry itself, as well as all the subsidiary industries and individuals that support the sector, are picking themselves up after one of the toughest times we may ever see in our lifetime.”

The SiteSentinel platform provides an online induction, test and administration interface.  The system is designed to consistently deliver relevant, up to date, high quality information using text, photos, video and illustrations.

SiteSentinel ensures an easily accessible audit trail of worksite safety inductions for all staff, visitors and contractors.

Bristol and Paddington join the growing SiteSentinel station family!

Photo by Lucid

We are delighted to announce that we have been commissioned by both Bristol Temple Meads and Paddington train stations to implement SiteSentinel, our online worksite induction platform.  SiteSentinel will train the wide variety of daily station visitors in what they need to know to stay safe and vigilant whilst on site.

Both Bristol and Paddington stations have a constant flow of visitors; from contractors completing repair and maintenance jobs to the army of ‘Here to Help’ volunteers who are present every single day to guide and support passengers.  Currently contractors complete an on site paper based induction whilst volunteers are provided with a briefing pack.

Implementing SiteSentinel at both Bristol and Paddington will mean that all station visitors will receive their induction using the same online induction platform, which can be completed at a time and location convenient to them.  SiteSentinel will also direct different induction content to different visitors, meaning each individual user will only see the information that is relevant to their visit at the station.

Both stations have chosen SiteSentinel to streamline their induction process following its hugely successful roll out at Reading station, which remains the biggest SiteSentinel station implementation so far in terms of the range of different content available for different users.

The SiteSentinel platform provides an online induction, test and administration interface. The system is designed to consistently deliver relevant, high-quality information using text, photos, video and illustrations. SiteSentinel provides an audit trail of site inductions for staff, visitors, and contractors.

To focus or not to focus, that is the question.

shallow focus photography of magnifying glass with black frame
Photo by Shane Aldendorff on Pexels.com

It’s safe to say that almost every small business has been through the process of defining exactly what service or product it provides.  In fact, most market savvy businesses will go through this process multiple times, to stay afloat and keep up with the pace of change.  Questions asked are likely to include whether a business should… 

  • Focus on a core service or product?
  • Broaden the offering and capture a bigger share of the market?
  • Specialise in one industry or have a general understanding of many?
  • Offer a one off service or something that needs an ongoing contract?

The answers to which are all critical for any business to know.

One thing we have learnt in almost 20 years of trading is that small companies must excel at something!

In our case, we are a digital agency.  More specifically, we’ve refined that down to providing ‘eLearning and digital comms’ for the heavy industries and transportation sectors.  Even more specifically, our specialist topic areas are non-technical skills, railway communications and site induction via our online platform SiteSentinel.

We’ve also learnt that it’s important to say what you don’t do!  This builds credibility and helps clients frame your offering. In our case, we don’t do Public Relations; we don’t do Marketing Communications; and we certainly don’t do print campaigns… 

…except for the fact that we’ve just done a print job! Our offering – digital comms and learning – is pretty well defined, so why have we dipped our toe in the print pond? The answer is simple: it made sense for the client.

The rail client wanted a set of cards designed and printed that workers could use to learn about non-technical skills.  The project was required within an existing programme of work that we were involved in and we were well placed to deliver it.  We used our knowledge of non-technical skills in the rail industry and combined that with our experience of creating and delivering eLearning programmes, to design the set of educational cards.

And now comes the critical part… we then brought in a partner company and leaned on their specialism – printing!  In this case the excellent print management company Birch Print – who printed a beautiful set of client-ready cards.

So, what’s the moral of the story?  Defining what you do, and don’t do, is key to attracting customers and making sales.  However, sometimes a job might come along that you are well suited to – just with a little expert help.  So it would seem that specialising, whilst remaining open to possible new opportunities through collaborating with trusted business partners, provides the best of both worlds.

How agile is your company? How agile are you?

woman in gray leggings and black sports bra doing yoga on yoga mat
Photo by Elly Fairytale on Pexels.com

A worldwide health crisis like COVID hasn’t just created a ripple in the business world – it’s created a full scale tsunami which has affected businesses across the globe.  From your micro business selling homemade chutney at Sunday markets to multinational giants selling technological solutions to keep people connected – no one has escaped the knock on consequence of living through a pandemic.

Some businesses didn’t manage to weather the storm.  Sadly, some have failed and are unlikely to resurface even once we go back to ‘normal’ – however that looks.  However, others have thrived – either because their businesses already addressed rapidly emerging consumer demands (e.g. Zoom, Uber Eats, Virgin Media and the supermarket giants who all brought our world indoors to us) or because they were agile enough to quickly change and diversify to suit a new type of market.

For some, this agility not only resulted in them remaining viable, but actually improved their offering.  For example, an events company, faced with complete loss of revenue, moved to an online offering and actually increased their performance – online will now form an ongoing part of their business model.

So, how did the tsunami of change impact on our world of health and safety?  After all, it’s not an area known for its dynamism.  We know from experience during the early days of launching SiteSentinel – our online safety induction platform – that suggesting, or even hinting, at technological change can be met with a euphemistic brick wall.

The rail industry told us it couldn’t work – workers didn’t have email addresses, didn’t like online information, didn’t need to move away from paper, etc. In one meeting, a safety director even walked out on us, issuing the decree “we’ll be having none of that internet stuff in here…!”

Yet here we are now, almost 30 worksites later – all using SiteSentinel to safely induct new workers and visitors online – with plenty more in the pipeline.  So, what makes some companies open their eyes to what technology can offer? Why do some organisations embrace change? Why are they ‘agile,’ to use a modern adjective?

As with most organisational successes or failures, the direction of travel is set by senior management. If senior, board level, management are asking questions about technology adoption, change management, digital enhancement, then it’s likely that the rest of the organisation will follow.

So, how agile is your organisation? How willing are they to adopt new technology or simply embrace change? Or perhaps the question actually is – how agile are YOU?

Repeat business – as straightforward as it sounds?

The idea of repeat business sounds so clear cut: customers electing to return for more work, often needing something the same or similar, and all wrapped up in an established working relationship.  It might therefore seem like an opportunity to roll out more of what worked previously, and in some circumstances, this is exactly what the customer wants.  However, even with pure repeat business there is a process of checking and challenging that must happen to ensure the customer gets what they need.

Take our SiteSentinel online worksite induction solution, which we’ve successfully rolled out across numerous rail sites – depots and more recently stations. The structure and benefits stay largely the same, yet the content often contains significant differences – additions, subtractions and points of emphasis. It all depends on the nature of the site and its associated risk.

As consultants accepting repeat business, the benefits of already knowing an industry are huge.  We can make good use of standard industry phrases or acronyms in site induction content, confident that induction users will be familiar with the terminology.  For example, the rail industry ‘HOT’ protocol for assessing the risk of an unattended object: Is it Hidden from view?  Is it Obviously suspicious?  Is it Typical of what one would expect to find in that area?  We can use this across different site inductions safe in the knowledge that all rail employees will understand it.

Repeat business also means that as consultants we become more and more familiar with our customers’ policies and procedures; making us adept at knowing exactly when and where to cite them for maximum impact in site inductions.  By supporting our clients across multiple different sites, we are also efficiently and effectively communicating company-wide policies across the organisation – helping to develop awareness, support uptake and increase consistency of implementation.

However, the real benefits for a customer comes from a consultant that doesn’t make assumptions when undertaking what looks like a repeat job.  Just because one site paints its safe walking route yellow, doesn’t mean they all will – even if they are all part of the same company.  For many of the rail companies we work with, every site is different, and if we make assumptions, we risk making mistakes.

Therefore, for each site induction we develop, especially when it’s repeat business, we remain actively curious.  We ask questions, we don’t jump to conclusions and we never assume we know the answer just because of what we did at a neighbouring site.  It’s only when we’ve completed a thorough assessment that we begin to carefully add or remove content from the induction programme to ensure it reflects each unique site perfectly.

If you get it right, customers will vote with their feet.  Having implemented SiteSentinel across a range of train operating company sites, Arriva Rail London, East Midlands Railway and Greater Anglia are just some of our customers that have returned for more site induction development at different sites in the last six months… which is no small achievement considering the last six months we’ve all had!