“Employee engagement” is a term businesses use to understand the benefits of workplaces where employees are invested. Gallup reported that companies with a high percentage of engaged employees had 17 percent higher productivity, 21 percent higher profitability, 28 percent less shrinkage and 41 percent lower absenteeism than companies with fewer engaged employees.
Companies with engaged employees had 70 percent fewer safety incidents than those without. Engaged employees care about their jobs, each other and the business, so they’re more inclined to take the right steps to ensure a safe workplace. This is critical for the supply chain given the growing demands for next-gen technology and increased competition and globalization.
Manufacturing and logistics leaders are especially concerned with safety as their employees move goods by air, rail or road. Effective tools, resources and training can help employees work safely.
The Challenge of Traditional Workplace Training Programs
Traditional workplace training programs are often ineffective, according to a recent Ipsos survey. The same study found that more than 30 percent of manufacturing and logistics employees agree that training does not help them on the job. Top reasons for this include that the material is not easy to complete or understand, doesn’t match the employee’s skill level, is difficult to retain, not applicable, takes workers off the manufacturing floor or away from their job responsibilities and there’s no follow-through. While an unsuccessful training program alone doesn’t lead to disengaged employees, it doesn’t help.
Workplace Training That Impacts Safety and Engagement
Safety training for the supply chain workforce must provide the necessary education and resources to meet desired behaviors. Ideally, it would do even more. Workplace training should be an inherent part of creating an engaged workforce. If a company can genuinely convey that it cares about the well-being of employees and wants them to work without risk of injury, it carries a deeper meaning than the idea that employees should avoid accidents.
A company that delivers the necessary workplace safety education while taking into account employees’ needs for learning is more likely to increase both compliance and engagement.
Safety Training 2.0:
The days of sitting in a meeting room for hours, reviewing binders of safety information are over—or at least, they should be. Research, both from employees and cognitive psychologists, indicates several specific ways that help people learn and make them more likely to change their behavior:
1. Create individual training. Programs should be meaningful and personalized to meet an individual’s specific needs. They should also be adaptive and enable each employee to progress at their own pace. In addition, the training should be provided in the employees’ preferred language.
2. Deliver short, effective “chunks” of training. The human brain absorbs and retains information best when it is provided in short bites. Learning is enhanced when the information is revisited periodically, helping the employee remember the information long-term.
3. Make learning fun. The process for learning even the most serious topics can be stimulating through gamification. Gamification applies elements of playing a game, such as rules, point scoring and competition, to teach and problem solve. Gamification can provide both competition and collaboration, providing a way to track learning progress.
4. Provide flexible training. Effective training allows the employee to complete the modules when it is convenient for them—within reason. The third shift employee shouldn’t have to come in to complete training that occurs during the first shift. Ideally, employees could incorporate training into their work day, using their preferred device.
5. Connect training to behavior and business results. Build a bigger picture by tying the training to actual behaviors and to business outcomes. As employees see their actions impacting the organization’s goals, they become more invested.
Companies are getting results with these methods of training. A global manufacturing company incorporating these five aspects of training reduced Recordable Incident Rate and Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate, while having 80 percent of its 24,000 employees voluntarily participate in the program within the first year it launched.
A multinational retail corporation used the same methods and found the daily questions on safety topics helped change job behavior, resulting in a 54 percent decrease in recordable incidents, with 91 percent of employees voluntarily participating.
Creating a safe work environment is a must, so safety training is a requirement. An environment that engages employees should also be a necessity for any leader. Incorporating training methods that meet both the employer’s and employees’ needs can create a huge impact on the workforce that goes far beyond physical well-being.