An interview with Lorenzo Alessi, Soletanche Freysssinet
What does Soletanche Freyssinet do and what is your role?
“I’m in charge of health and safety and quality for the group. When I say the group, it’s Soletanche Freyssinet, which is the holding company. So, I am a director of the corporate department and, on a daily basis, what we do is basically support all our business units or companies worldwide. We’re talking about around two hundred subsidies worldwide in the implementation of their own local quality, health and safety and environmental management systems and supporting them with various initiatives and actions that we plan at the group level, the corporate level, and then we try to bring down to the ground.”
What does Soletanche Freyssinet use training for?
“For us training is a big, big element, because health and safety e-learning is key to developing the skills of our people and making sure that they don’t get hurt, to make sure that they can do the job better. That’s why we invest in different types of training programmes targeting our major risks as well as the safety culture improvement. It’s all about culture, so we try to make people more aware of safety, as it is something that is everyone’s responsibility and to we have to make people accountable for that.”
Do you use different types of training for different purposes?
“Yes, we do. So, we do traditional types of learning like classroom training for our personnel, we do practical training when it comes to specific risks – like people working at height or tech operators who operate heavy plant equipment. We do real-time, face-to-face training with trainers and then on-the-job training. And then we’ve been focusing a lot lately on e-learning and programmes like Wranx, for instance. It’s something that can help us to reach every corner of the world, because we’re a very big company and we cover all the continents.
“E-learning is not the solution for all our problems, but it can help to reach where something else cannot. When it comes to e-learning, we are doing a lot of assessment of drivers, because driving safety is a big problem for us, so we have online assessments to understand the behaviour profile of drivers and then, based on the result, we do practical training. For us Wranx is key for our management, especially because you want a quick and easy way to improve the skills and the knowledge of managers in health and safety. So, Wranx is ideal for us because you can reach them on their mobile device and most of the feedback is positive. Because it works well and because you reach them with questions, people are learning more about safety in a way that is cheap, easy and fast.
“We are also developing some other e-learning that is more traditional, where a new employee comes on board and needs to do training or go through an online module about a specific topic – it could be safety leadership for a manager or it could be electrical safety for an electrician or a site-worker.”
What results do you see from the e-learning systems that you use?
“When we have new hires, new people, joining us, the first quick result you can get is their satisfaction in terms of understanding what the company requires from them. So, we have group induction programmes online with presentations and interactive presentations and, as I said, we have e-learning depending on the learner’s profile, along with Wranx. So, people say, ‘OK, so I joined the group and quickly, with two courses, I understand what the group is about, what the priorities for the group are and, for instance, what the major risks are.’
“I’ll give you an example… We have a new director who has joined us, so we put him on Wranx and through Wranx he understands us. He came from a different business, a different construction business, so he doesn’t know much of our specific issues. So, through that, he can say, ‘OK, now I have a better understanding and when I go to site, to visit a job site or to talk to people, I know what I’m talking about and I am more confident in myself and in expressing myself on safety.’ Then, of course, with everything – could be hands-on training, e-learning – you need to be serious about it. I mean, you have to do it properly, otherwise, without the commitment, it’s useless. But the tools are there and available and I believe they are good enough.”
To what extent do you find the data that e-learning solutions can provide useful?
“Through e-learning we can do some data review and some statistics. We can also assess, for example with Wranx, how many times people are signing in, so how many times they are doing the training. That gives you a measure and an understanding of how people are interested and committed, especially when it comes to a manager. So, if people are not doing it, it means that their level of commitment is very low. So, yes, through e-learning you can have good results, good data to work on, and see how to improve the training and how to change it if perhaps it’s not fit for our purposes. We also do statistical analysis through e-learning and other types of things.”