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How Sentis Enables A Safety Culture Through Innovation-Driven Training Online

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Since 2003, Sentis has been a leading voice in the Australian safety community. With more than 160,000 people taking part in its safety culture programs, it’s easy to see why.

Anthony Gibbs, CEO, describes Sentis’ mission to change businesses for the better. The statement becomes a concrete example and demonstrates how engaging with Sentis impacts people everywhere when he retells his shopping mall anecdote. It illustrates why he’s still involved in the space, fourteen years in: A woman approached him at a shopping mall, where the company had a training location near a mining site. The woman, a wife of a miner, asked him,

“Are you one of those people running a safety program at the mine?” Anthony agrees. She goes on,

“Thank you so much. I don’t know what you did but my husband is a different person after attending the program. He’s talking about investing more in his relationships, making more positive health choices, spending less time at the pub.”

It’s not lost on Anthony how safety training, often seen as a chore, has the ability to change people’s lives. Sentis’ foundational program applies psychology and neuroscience insights to foster safety culture, starting at the attitudinal level. For most of the company’s audience, primarily from heavy industries, it’s an unseen and much-needed experience. At the same time, when global lockdowns and restrictions impose online delivery as the only available medium of interaction, a new set of challenges comes into play.

Anthony joined Open LMS’ Australia Customer Success team for an interview alongside Libby O’Brien, the company’s Chief Digital Officer. After two years, Libby’s appreciation for the company’s work and its impact only keeps growing. She’s not alone: In the past few years, Sentis has expanded to four global regions, been recognized for its innovation and workplace culture, and its YouTube channel videos, chock-full of psychology and neuroscience insight, have reached millions of views.

Anthony and Libby explain the process of facing these sudden restrictions, the strategic support of Open LMS to continue their programs; and how these helped spark an innovative mindset and new ways to engage online. It would all begin with a realization:

“Can we create the same much-loved Sentis experience online?”

COVID-19: An Eye-Opening Problem

The business of safety training demands a comprehensive approach, delivered quickly. Sentis programs include individual and cultural assessments, coaching, leadership development and training. Even after the introduction of eLearning formats, clients and attendees expected complete or mostly face-to-face interaction. Yet Anthony was aware of the shortcomings of jumping on planes to deliver a session, whose contents or timeliness could save lives.

Framing the problem as “delivery when customers need it most” allowed the team to start paying closer attention to the digital experience. One a majority of clients met with open resistance. “COVID has created an opportunity for us with organizations who previously saw technology as something that wouldn’t work for them.”

The program experience, part of Sentis’ core value offering since the beginning, pairs up with the learning design experts and psychologists on staff to provide a fertile ground for the content solution. “I take pride in the quality and academic rigour of our video content,” says Libby, before highlighting one critical piece of insight stemming from the innovation process: Enabling is an effective antidote against technology resistance.

But, what do people want to be able to accomplish? For Anthony, the answer matters, only to a point.

Another key realization at Sentis was that their content, not the delivery mechanism, is what empowers people. “It’s the enabler for change that equips people with the skills to shift their thinking about safety to achieve a different result.”

In sum, simple, evidence-based tweaks in mindset and language can prove very effective in how people approach not only safety, but technology and online delivery too. Presenting an eLearning platform as a tool that enables, and provides answers when people need them most, is Sentis’ first step towards a digital experience that adapts to each and every person.

The Irresistible Platform

The person and the culture are the clear focus of the Sentis approach. Which in the company’s context of digital transformation, does not make technology any less of a priority. In fact, the opposite is true. Libby commanded the selection of an eLearning platform provider, who had to be capable of delivering a demanding “world-class digital experience.”

Sentis decided on the Open LMS WORK solution, which equipped them with a modern interface that fulfils the company’s uncompromising requirements. Some of them included interface support for several different languages, multi-tenancy, and easy integration with authoring tools like Articulate 360.

Mission-critical features involve secure data protection. With global expansion, the platform needs to comply with regulations like GDPR. Furthermore, working with partners around the world makes being able to share data instances a necessity. Being able to do so, of course, should not come at the expense of compromising privacy.

This is why, for Libby, technological capabilities were important, but finding a like-minded partner that understands Sentis’ mission made all the difference. “We were looking for a technology provider with local understanding, and a global vision. Kind of like us.” The provider should also be able to provide support for as many time zones as possible. Being able to demonstrate excellence in service, industry expertise and mastery in specific topics, like accessibility, was the other defining set of traits that secured the long-standing partnership with Open LMS.

The success in the deployment of the platform and high level of user satisfaction ensures an ongoing relationship. By offering flexibility, reliability and performance, the Open LMS WORK platform becomes the launching pad for upcoming offerings and ventures. The satisfaction is shared by clients and Sentis employees alike. Currently, all training required internally takes place in the same multi-tenancy platform they offer to their clients. This capability allows all participants to join a tailored experience, and never cross paths unintentionally.

Going forward, online delivery allows the team to gather data and evaluate the impact of different interventions and formats. Known for their interactive experiences, video quality and scientific accuracy, the company is keen to invest in 360° video, while refining more standard activities.

Lightbulb Moments

Trust in the processes, the technology and the people bond Sentis’ ambitious expansion plans, both on the scale and on organizational safety outcomes for each of their clients. Libby shares the company’s goal of “making our life-changing content and training more accessible to more people” and how online learning helps to achieve this. The digital platform will also make them more competitive on a global scale.

“The technology is not the product. It’s the enablement,” Anthony stresses. “But the platform gives our clients an opportunity to view technology as an enhancement to the experience and their relationship with us.”

The innovator mindset that continues to evolve at Sentis, has met an eLearning platform capable of delivering a robust experience. It means they’re only starting to scratch the surface of what is possible. For Anthony, the mission continues to be about changing lives and organizations for the better, by targeting areas of safety, employee engagement, wellbeing and business performance. It’s not just part of his mantle as CEO, it’s a reflection on the 14 years he’s been with the company. “I think about my life differently,” Anthony concludes.

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