• TracyR
    Hi All

    I need some ideas on platforms for worker engagement and participation. The business structure of my current client compromises of Head Office, multiple Business Unites with sites spread geographically on the North and South Island.

    Due to the geographical spread of the sites I am looking for ideas in regards to platforms for staff to participate and engage in health and safety discussions.

    One of the ideas is a on-line discussion board.

    Any other innovative ideas out there please?

  • Tony Walton
    Tracy - have a look at 'Trello', Microsoft Teams or Realtime Board collaboration apps. Clever stuff.
  • TracyR
    Thanks Tony. Will have a look
  • Sarah Bond
    Hi Tracy,

    I love Trello too, although, I'm a bit of a Luddite when it comes to worker engagement.

    The two most important tools I've used when working with geographically distant teams are at the end of every meeting we do two things:
    1. Have an 'Open Mic' session - this is where people share things that haven't been talked about or weren't on the agenda that they think the team needs to know.
    2. Ask each person what the key thing they learnt this week was. This has been invaluable for sharing organic knowledge between geographic locations and working out where skill gaps are/ what may have been missed in inductions and OJT.

    I also make an effort to talk one on one with each person at least once a month, if not in person via skype where I can 'eyeball' them.

    According to writers folklore, Ernest Hemingway wrote the saddest story ever written in six words:
    "For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never worn." Here's my take on worker engagement in nine words.

    1. I noticed this.....
    Point out something that the person has done that was above and beyond. Basically, you are saying you matter to me and what you do matters to the organisation.

    2. Tell me more....
    If someone gives you feedback give them space to tell you everything.

    3. And, what else?
    This really is an informal 'open mic' where you give people an opportunity to share anything else that might be winding them up.... in the hope that you can proactively manage it before it becomes a real issue.

    Please note I'm a hardcore Safety II girl, who also likes appreciative inquiry and NLP. This may not work for you, but it's worth having a go. Managing geographically diverse teams has it's unique set challenges and you never quite know what's going to come at you next!
  • Michael Wilson

    We use microsoft teams which is part of the Office365 package which we find really good.
  • Tania Curtin
    I think the most critical thing is to ask the workers how they want to be engaged. You may find that you need a range of different solutions as not everyone wants to engage in the same way, e.g. the young ones may love a tech solution, but the old guys might prefer a face-to-face conversation, the bold ones might feel comfortable speaking up in large meetings in front of their peers, and the shy ones might prefer to pop an anonymous note into a suggestions box.

    I'd ask the workforce... maybe even incentivise them with prizes for engagement ideas that get adopted, or even just random prizes for suggesting something!

    I have a customer who uses WhatsApp and loves it! It's not something I would ever have thought of, but their workers did, and consequently it gets used a lot!
  • Craig
    Tania and Sarah have good ideas in my opinion.

    I haven't yet had much experience with heading an H&S system but I have been a worker for many years. I am also a bit shy and don't like speaking in front of people.

    When I do get into my H&S career I hope to adopt a very approachable style. This is because I and other workers throughout my history have either feared their manager or just not respected them at all for various reasons. I have seen managers do unsafe things and then expect different from the people under them. So of course they just wouldn't want to confide in that person.
    So I would try and provide an open door policy where those people can come and speak to me without fear or 'rocking the boat' or losing their jobs. A sort of counselling style.

    Sarah suggested a mix of different options. This is brilliant. They say there are 4 personality types or something like that. Then those 4 different ways should cater to all. Offer a safe option where workers can put their trust in you and be free of negativity. Workers also often get put off my time constraints and agendas that don't include them either. When I've been told that I only have so much time and can only speak about xyz I just don't want to bother.

    I've been in some bad working situations and I wish I had those options.

    I can imagine it would be a tough job to be all of this and everything else. But we wouldn't be in (or heading into) H&S careers if we didn't care.

    Hope that helps in some way.
  • craig christie
    I help to lead a team throughout NZ and Australia. Worker participation varies but I have a lot of success in asking our team at the front line what they think and asking them lots of questions about the systems of work they use every day. By providing a safe forum and ensuring their concerns are dealt with swiftly helps me with achieving really good engagement. Management imagine work is being performed a specific way. Often how it is actually performed is something quite different and the people who know the reality are the front line so I go to considerable length to provide lots off opportunity for discussion both formally and informally.
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