Motivating Todays Employees

August 13, 2018 No Comments

Early in my safety career, if an employer needed to provide hearing protection to their employees they would buy just one type of ear plug and make everyone wear them.   Back in those days, industry was fond of hiring executives and managers who had a military background.   Because of that, in the 1960′ and 1970’s many companies practiced a form a management that was very autocratic (i.e. top down).

Today’s employees, especially the younger ones, expect to be involved in decisions that affect them and their work.  They believe that they are not just a pair of hired hands – they’ve got a brain too.  Today’s employees want (and expect) to be a part of the decision making process on things that affect them.

For example, provide employees with an assortment of hearing protection (see photo) and let them decide which one they would prefer to wear.   Don’t limit their choices to just ear plugs, give them the option of wearing muff type hearing protection too.   From both a cost and a protection standpoint, there’s not much difference between muffs and plugs; and by allowing employees to be a part of the process they will be more inclined to:

  • voluntarily wear the PPE (e.g. hearing protection)
  • wear it properly
  • take better care of it

Most seasoned consultants know the value of involving employees in the decision making process.  I have often found that the best solution to a safety problem came from an employee who worked on that job.   Also, by involving employees in the process you will gain their acceptance of the change – sometimes to the point of ownership.   Over the years I’ve seen many good safety solutions fail because they were resisted (sometimes to the point of sabotage) by employees who did not buy into it and felt disrespected.

Get the participation of the workforce in safety decisions that affect them and they will follow safety and work rules  “even when management and supervision is not around”.

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