Employee training and development can often feel like a necessary evil.
Throwing a rookie in the cab slows down production for already short-staffed construction crews. And with every retirement of a veteran employee, institutional knowledge slowly bleeds from the company.
Employers must provide a path for growth for new hires while addressing impending leadership gaps to keep operations humming along.
So, what’s a contractor to do?
BuildWitt, a construction software and services startup based in Nashville, Tennessee, is offering a new solution to get crews trained better, faster and more consistently.
Buildwitt Training is a video-based platform featuring more than 350 expert-led courses on necessary skills for any stage of a construction employee's career. Another several hundred video lessons will be available by the end of the year, the company says.
"In the past four years, we’ve been to hundreds of jobsites, had thousands of conversations and have seen construction businesses in-depth from all different angles," says Aaron Witt, BuildWitt CEO and founder. "And contractors are telling us they need to get new hires up to speed as quickly as possible."
The platform, which launched this month, offers bite-sized training videos on five critical construction jobs: laborer, grade checker, pipelayer, operator (with instructions for 10 machines), and field supervisor/foreman, as well as leadership training for managers.
The videos aren’t meant to replace hands-on experience but rather introduce employees to industry basics, safety, roles and responsibilities, and tips and tricks, enabling them to be more productive.
The microlearning app-based format delivers short videos, assessments and quizzes. This learning style has been proven successful in other industries, but never in construction, Witt points out. "We’re just doing something that’s never been done in the Dirt World before."
Users can access the sessions in the Buildwitt Training app during downtime, on their own, during rain delays or on training days. Most lessons are just a few minutes long.
"They can consume it in small chunks daily without taking them away from the job," says Allen Hurst, chief technology officer, BuildWitt. "Many learning management systems produce content for people who sit in front of a desk all day, but that’s not what’s going to make us successful in this industry. We’re addressing some of the most underserved needs first."
Each lesson features an industry expert, including contractors and BuildWitt Training specialists, headed by Jay Collup, the company’s director for field development and an industry veteran of 16-plus years.
"One of the most valuable pieces of our brand is our credibility with the people in the field," Hurst says. "It’s important that we keep that top of mind with every video we create."
Customization options allow administrators to tailor the platform to their company’s unique needs and processes. Administrators can upload their own videos, create quizzes and assessments, or use the hundreds of options built into the program.
Additional features, including multilingual formats, additional jobsite roles and safety-specific modules, will be available soon.
Fueled by additional investment through Series A funding, BuildWitt plans to expand to offer weekly training classes, equipment simulators for kids and adults, and eventually build a DIRT (Demonstration, Inspiration, Research and Training) Facility at its Nashville headquarters.