The Mary Poppins Effect on Safety Training

The Mary Poppins Effect on Safety Training

Scott Weeda

Scott Weeda

Account Executive

Scott Weeda is a Sr. Account Manager with Vivid Learning Systems, an online safety training provider making life a little easier for safety professionals.

I’m a salesperson with a fancy title that tries to make me seem less sales-ey. All day, every day, I proclaim that our safety content is the best on the planet.

Word for word, that’s exactly what I say. Because I truly believe it. Look me in the eye when I say it and you’ll also believe. If you’re a safety pro, and I’m talking with you because you’re a potential product fit, it’s really easy for me to compare what you’re using now, with what we produce.

Usually, the difference will blow you away.

So I have your current method—PowerPoint, DVD, YouTube safety videos, or content from a different provider—as a baseline. The dictionary on my screen here says that “better” means “of superior quality or excellence” or “of superior suitability, preferable.” I prefer the latter.

The content we produce is special. How? First, it’s really interesting. We realize that your employees would rather do anything but work…except for safety training. They’d rather swallow sea urchins than sit through annual classroom compliance sessions and related safety training activity. 

Yet, they must, so what will you do?

Mary Poppins famously said, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”

We take the Mary Poppins approach and incorporate job-relevant stories that make our training memorable.

Everyone likes a good story.

Mary Poppins would find our content better because it can take participants to a different place. Want to learn about hazards of chimney sweeping? Take a trip to old-school London and look down a chimney. We do that, but with Ladder Safety and Slips, Trips and Falls. Vivid puts your employees on the floor after a fall. We walk the timeline backward from the point a ladder fails and show your people what happened before the incident and how many ways it could have been avoided, to emphasize accident prevention. Bullet points can’t show you the backstory, and we don’t like bullet points.

Even the sweetest of medicine starts tasting icky after too much, so our courses are short. There’s a trend toward “micro-learning” right now. Now, I’m no instructional designer, but I don’t get it. If I can finish a Vivid course in 20 minutes, why would I ever want to take 4 separate 5-MinuteCourses? From an employer’s perspective, it takes a month to satisfy compliance for a single topic! From an employee’s angle, how many times do I need to be exposed to this Back Safety course?

Your current training content might taste bitter – ours doesn’t. Not a great slogan but I’m going with it. As in the case of Mary Poppins, the old nanny was a prehistoric, crabby authoritarian who didn’t let you have any fun. Then, in walks Mary. She’s unorthodox, she’s creative, she might just be a little weird. But she genuinely cares for you, wants you to have fun, and wants there to be a memorable point to whatever unusual experience she is sharing. 

That is Vivid Learning Systems, and that’s why I love my job.

Like Mary, we’re patient. She knows that you need to be taught safety lessons a little differently than before and she’s willing to try a few ways to show you. Although no company is a snowflake, unique in all the world, no one way of delivering information works for everyone so we’re creative. We are flexible and we will take you on as many journeys as you will let us, telling stories about other safety pros and other organizations along the way.

Even if you don’t grab the handle of our parrot-headed umbrella right away, I believe that eventually you will. Because we are different, more suitable. Better.

“There’s the whole world at your feet. And who gets to see it but the birds, the stars, and the chimney sweeps.”