We have recently been asked to provide an in-house training course for a County Council who wanted to train key staff in manual handling. Throughout the course it became obvious that the group had some really good ideas on how manual handling could be made easier and safer. Frustratingly, they also believed their bosses wouldn’t take any notice if they gave feedback on their ideas.
Whether this feeling is justified or not, it was clearly creating a barrier between the organisation and its staff. It seemed that no matter how much we tried to convince them their ideas were very good and they should go and speak to their management, they felt it would be a waste of time. So our question to you is could this be happening in your workplace?
When we work with businesses we take the time to speak to staff and to listen to what they have to say; sometimes what is said is not what managers might want to hear. Also it becomes obvious that some have hidden agendas and what is said has to be taken on board with caution. However the fundamental point is there really is a need to find out what ideas your workers can provide; as their solutions are often simple and cost effective.
But if you don’t do this already and are thinking perhaps you should start then make sure you really listen and don’t become too dismissive from the start as this will put people off. Perhaps that is what has previously happened at this Council. Let staff know you are prepared to listen and where you can take action on what you find out; then make sure you do and that you tell people what’s been done. Our experience is that it will really be appreciated and help to develop a more positive safety culture.