Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the status of volunteers because they’re not always held in the same esteem as employees.
Some organisations elevate the status of volunteers, affording the special privileges in return for their service. Many other organisations don’t really take the status of volunteers seriously, because they don’t have all the rights and legal protections that employees have.
Whatever the case may be, it is not really healthy for the organisation to create any kind of division between employees and volunteers and, in fact, doing so can have detrimental results.
Volunteers really ought to be held to the same standards as regular employees. It is fine to reward volunteers when possible, because this provides encouragement and boosts morale. But when it comes to safety and security, there can be no exceptions.
The work site induction is literally the first frontier of safety and security for your organisation. If you create exemptions for volunteers, you put the safety and security of everyone at risk.
Why some organisations don’t require inductions for volunteers
One issue is that volunteers are not usually at the work site for an extended amount of time, so there can be a feeling that it is wasteful to require inductions for them. In a way, this is a gamble that no major incident will occur during the brief time they are on site.
There can also be a sense of not wanting to unduly inconvenience the volunteer who is already devoting their time and energy. Sentimental notions like this are problematic because the induction process provides valuable information.
Although the chance may be slim, incidents could occur at any time, and if any type of incident is to occur in the brief time the volunteer is on site, they will have some awareness of what to do.
Induction also helps to ensure that volunteers are aware of their responsibilities and any limits that may apply to them. Although most of the content of an induction may seem like simple common sense, we can’t rely on people possessing this attribute.
Using technology to eliminate the inconvenience factor
The unavoidable drawback to inductions is they take time. Technology does provide a benefit of placing control over the time and place the induction occurs in the hands of the inductee. Remote distributed volunteer induction software developed by LinkSafe allows inductions to be completed online with a smart phone or computer, anywhere and any time the inductee chooses.
This software solution also allows testing that the induction content has genuinely been completed and is understood by the inductee.
This provides a tremendous advantage over traditional induction methods, requiring less resources and creating fewer inconveniences for all involved.
It also demonstrates to the volunteer that they are important enough to you that you are providing an induction for them. This can create a stronger bond of loyalty between the volunteer and the organisation.
In addition, the volunteer gains important safety information, including situational awareness data that will aid in their tasks and help them get to safety if there is an emergency.
Above all, providing a proper induction can help reduce any potential liability you may have if an incident does occur. This is because the volunteer has sufficient information to possibly avoid being harmed, knows what to do if something happens, knows how to avoid doing something they should not do, and has acknowledged receipt of that information.
LinkSafe has solutions to help
LinkSafe is the premier service for site management solutions, including software required for managing distributed remote inductions. Find out more by contacting LinkSafe on 1300 558 102, or use our contact form to leave a message.