Have you ever been in a situation where you’re being told to do something, but you don’t quite see the purpose of it? Probably at least as a kid, right? Did it help when somebody really explained why you were expected to behave in a specific way or to complete a task? Hopefully so.
Although grown up employees are not children anymore, they still have the same question. "Why on earth are we doing this?" The question should be respectfully answered. An employee who knows why he or she is doing something is more involved with his or her job and understands why the individual effort is so important in the bigger picture. This also applies to reporting deviations or positive behaviour at a workplace.
An Award Shouldn’t Be the Only Incentive
Some companies have opted for awarding their employees for a job well done. Maybe it’s a monetary bonus for the person reporting the biggest number of incidents or a travel gift card for the employee always wearing a helmet. However, if these people don’t understand why they’re expected to do a good job and act in a certain way, their only incentive is the reward.
Let Employees Know Why They Work
Another obstacle in some organisations is the need to pinpoint mistakes but never really explain why the mistake was crucial or what the consequences were. What do you think: Is an employee more likely to repeat a mistake if he or she understands why the mistake was bad or if he or she is left out without a specific reason? Blaming and finger pointing are often more prevalent than actually taking the time to involve employees and let them understand in-depth why they are doing their job.
Why Reporting Is Indispensable
Reporting is a vital part of business in most companies. In some organisations, the employees are expected to tell their supervisors about incidents or quality deviations by sending an email, writing it on a Word document, or even just mentioning it in a coffee room. Newer tools include software where employees can insert their observations directly into a tablet or a mobile phone while still at the incident location. No matter which the tool is, it’s important to explain why reporting is so indispensable.
"When employees know why they’re required to report different kinds of observations, they start to notice new aspects and even come up with new ideas for observation categories."
After all, these are the people who often work hands-on with tasks and assignments. The management level might end up receiving new and valuable information about business operations.
An employee who knows why he or she is doing a specific task is likely to be not only more motivated to complete the job but also more valuable for the organisation.
Communication is the key to success in the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous business landscape of today and tomorrow. If you're interested to broaden your understanding about the topic, check out our blog series about the VUCA framework. For more ways to become a better manager and direct your company towards success, download our FREE guide on Metrics and Safety KPIs:
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