10 May 2021

CASE: Onboarding and Learning on the Job at Detention Centre Rotterdam

The Challenge

Detentiecentrum Rotterdam is a detention centre with over 10 divisions. This centre is one of the biggest institutions in the Netherlands and was the first to use GPAL for the onboarding of new employees and facilitating Learning on the Job. Working at DC Rotterdam involves carrying out diverse tasks; from enforcing rules to offering a sympathetic ear. New employees must familiarise themselves with a lot of procedures and protocols in a very short period of time, such as cell inspections, applying the enforcement matrix,   residents, but also understanding numerous security systems and placing orders for residents.  

Due to the large amount of procedures new employees face, the onboarding process is often time consuming and intensive. Not only for the new employees, but also for the mentors. 

“Previously, the onboarding process was very intense for the mentors, who supervise the new employees. From the moment we started to use instructional videos to communicate work-related instructions and information, it allowed the mentors to focus more on the floor and to ensure overall safety. “ 
– Nadia, Project manager GPAL DC Rotterdam

DC Rotterdam therefore uses GPAL to use instructional videos to help new employees settle in and learn on the job independently and efficiently. Roger Pellemans, director of DC Rotterdam on working with GPAL:  

‘’At DCR innovation plays an important role. That is why we are replacing learning through reading with instructional videos! Especially in a world in which language barriers sometimes disrupt communication, this is an excellent and helpful means. In particular, filming with your own personnel is extremely advantageous. ‘’

The Approach

Nadia explains how GPAL is used in the deportation centre in Rotterdam. It is especially interesting to watch from 1:37 where it is explained how videos and booklets are used to train employees. 

After building a team of enthusiastic colleagues, the filming of important procedures was set in action. A special onboarding booklet  was made with QR-codes that, when scanned from the GPAL app, show the videos that correspond specifically to what is being learned at that moment. With the Onboarding booklets, new employees can visually learn from instructional videos  on an iPad and can therefore start their own onboarding process more independently and also complete various exercises. Colleagues are able to respond to each other and ask questions.  

The implementation of the technical aspects in a highly secured area, such as WIFI and mobile devices, proved to be a big challenge for DC Rotterdam. However, a solution was quickly found in the use of iPads that were made available for new employees. Despite a somewhat slow start the filming was picked up enthusiastically by employees, as GPAL’ s project manager explains.

“From the moment employees[filmen] started getting more familiar with the app, the [filming of] new videos became increasingly better and faster. I was lucky with the team being so enthusiastic when filming.”
– Nadia, Project manager GPAL DC Rotterdam

By now all the important procedures have been filmed and new as well as experienced employees are very satisfied with using GPAL. 

Below you will find a few examples of instructional videos that are used in DC Rotterdam. 

The Results

A preference for visual learning 

The visual aspect of instructional videos enables new employees to understand and retain new knowledge better. The employees’ level of knowledge can be more easily tested with GPAL as well. The feedback and interaction between colleagues ensures that knowledge is kept up-to-date and of a high qualitative standard. 

GPAL is liked amongst new employees 

The app is especially liked by new employees. They experience the use of instructional videos as a contemporary solution and it also makes their onboarding process a lot more fun. Because of the large variety of tasks, the videos are a much more effective and enjoyable way to learn than learning from a book.

Filming with own employees positively influences working culture

The idea behind GPAL is to include the company’s own employees and experts in filming instructional videos. This is easily done by using a smartphone or tablet, which makes the process simple and accessible. This often gets very positive reactions by employees who feel more included and involved with the sharing and securing of knowledge. It is also experienced as a much nicer way to learn.    

‘’New employees are trained much quicker. Because they are watching instructional videos that are made by peers, it is more fun to watch and the information is more easily remembered.”
– Nadia, Project manager GPAL DC Rotterdam

Currently GPAL is being deployed at other DJI (Custodial Institutions Agency) locations throughout the Netherlands.