21 August 2023

How Homij uses video instructions for project instructions, toolbox meetings and onboarding

“Our DNA in every building.” That is the slogan of HOMIJ, one of the largest installation companies in the Netherlands. With over 700 employees, Homij is a true knowledge organisation 

However, there is always room for innovation and improvement, especially in times when recruiting new people and quickly transferring knowledge and skills have never been more important. How do you maintain knowledge when the pressure on the organisation is high to get work done? 

Homij therefore started to use GPAL, a platform for video learning, throughout the organisation. There are currently three GPAL projects running at Homij, in which instructional videos are used for instruction on construction projects, toolboxes and onboarding. Marc Meeder, site director at Homij, talks about their experiences with GPAL within these 3 projects. Read more about it in this best-practice!

Project 1: Project-specific instructions are filmed & shared

Every construction project is different. For example, each construction project has specific features and safety measures relevant to that site. At the VU medical centre (VUmc) in Amsterdam, one of Homij’s clients, it is important to ensure that the work location is also safe for healthcare staff and patients, while in a renovation or construction project, other issues, such as lifting operations or ensuring that the installation is not under tension. 

At the VUmc, engineers work at different sites that are often far apart and are occupied with different tasks: So how do you ensure that all employees working on such a project receive the right instructions continuously and easily? 

Previously, project instructions were physically given the moment people entered the site. However, this is very labour-intensive, which means it takes longer for people to get started. To innovate this process, Homij started to convey project instructions quickly, simply and clearly with video instructions in the GPAL App. With GPAL, employees can now access key information (sometimes in advance) using these short videos. This allows employees to prepare before they arrive on site and allows them to work faster, more independently and more safely. 

“Via GPAL, important instructions are now shared quicker and easier. For example, we can easily share at what time we start or what the most important safety regulations are for that day.” 
– Marc, Homij site director

This new innovative way of working has many advantages. 

  • Recording site-specific videos only needs to be done once and it is also very simple. 
  • Via the GPAL App, Homij can also determine who gets access to which content or make certain content mandatory. This is, of course, also registered. 
  • For the employee, the approachability of videos is many times more convenient than reading an instruction. 
  • Moreover, the employee can always access the videos not only before but also afterwards, so he or she can watch them again whenever needed. 
  • It saves a lot of planning time; everyone can now watch the instructions individually and the manager therefore does not have to schedule information sessions.

Project 2: Toolbox trainings from now accessible on video

Differences in safety and logistical instructions not only differ among project types, but also within the same project, as different phases require different measures and instructions. To keep everyone up to date with the most important safety instructions, toolbox meetings are held periodically. In a toolbox meeting, the most important information is shared for the coming week (or weeks) that workers need to take into account. For instance, if there is a lot of freight traffic or lifting movements at the project site they are working on. 

Until now, this was done through physical meetings To innovate this process, Homij has started putting these toolboxes on video. These are then shared with employees via the GPAL app. This has a number of advantages. 

Via the app, everyone can be reached

For a physical toolbox meeting, you have to find a time when you can get all employees together, which is not always easy. At the VUmc sity, for example, 30 employees work  on technical installations spread over 560,000 m2 of floor space. In groups of two, technicians work somewhere in the building. Quickly chatting or helping out a colleague are therefore more difficult. Moreover, there are also part-time employees that  work other jobs or students who have to go to school one day a week. 

“There is actually never a time when everyone is present at the same site. With video instruction, you immediately reach everyone! So everyone is always aware of the correct safety regulations.” 
– Marc, Homij site director

By filming the toolboxes, everyone is now easily provided with the right information…. Employees can easily watch 1 or more videos  on their mobile phones. Videos can also be made mandatory in the GPAL App, as people will automatically receive reminder notifications and the manager receives a report about the progess of the team 

Transferring specific knowledge in a fast and clear way 

Another advantage of video instructions is that it is a very clear way of transferring knowledge. A good example of this is when asbestos has been detected somewhere on the work site. It can be difficult to explain exactly where in the building work cannot be done. 

“You can try making it clear on paper that asbestos has been detected on the fourth floor in that one cubicle on the left at the back, but you don’t know if people will understand correctly. If you can actually show the location on video, it is much more clear.” 
– Marc, Homij site director

So with video, it is easier to convey clear instructions. The speed at which instructions can be shared also goes up considerably with GPAL. Some operations, such as the recognition of asbestos, are difficult to explain on paper and take a long time to write down properly. In contrast, a video is made and shared within minutes with the GPAL App! 

“The moment you discuss something or write it down on paper, it remains to be seen whether what you convey is really understood. If you can point or show something in a video, then you can be sure that someone actually understands it.”  
– Marc, Homij site director

Below you see an example of an instructional video from Homij

Project 3: Video onboarding for office staff

Video instructions are not only used on construction projects, but also at the Homij office. For example, new staff are quickly and easily inducted with the GPAL app.

On a first working day, new employees are often overwhelmed with new information. From meeting all your new colleagues to figuring out how to book the pool car. Homij is therefore enhancing its onboarding with videos to better support new staff. In this manner, all the important information you will encounter on a first working day and the weeks thereafter will be explained in short instructional videos.

To make onboarding a little more tangible, onboarding booklets have also been created, containing all kinds of important topics with corresponding QR codes. A new employee can then work through the booklet independently and easily access the appropriate supporting videos by scanning the QR codes with the GPAL app. 

Independent learning at your own pace 

Using GPAL in onboarding has many advantages. With GPAL, videos can easily be recorded, saved and shared with new employees. Video not only makes it easier to convey relevant information, but also ensures that employees can always access the relevant knowledge they need independently. A video is easy to watch back, if you just can’t remember the right procedure. A new employee can watch a video as many times as needed until he or she fully understands the topic. This ensures that employees work independently faster and can continue learning at their own pace. 

“The great advantage of video instruction is that you can always access the information when you need it. A colleague is sometimes difficult to reach and, of course, when you are just new, you want to be able to proceed independently.” 
– Marc, Homij site director

In the future 

In the next phase, Homij also sees other applications for the use of video instructions, for example for the periodic maintenance of installations. For instance, some buildings may require maintenance only once a year. Video instructions can then be used to  give employees access to information about that specific location, which they would otherwise not encounter very often. 

For now, Homij is still busy deploying the use of GPAL within the whole organisation. 

“We have only just started! In the future, we will roll out GPAL even further and we want video instructions to largely replace toolbox meetings and project instructions.” 
– Marc, Homij site director

We are very curious to see how this goes! To be continued…