Employee involvement is a key factor in workplace quality and risk management.
It means a management system with more eyes and ears on the ground, which ultimately leads to more data and better insights. But, it also actively engages every employee in the quality and safety culture. When someone feels like they have made a meaningful contribution, they are generally more invested in the result.
Here, we will explore what employee involvement entails in the context of quality and safety management systems. We will then touch on some of the factors that make this approach so valuable.
What Is Employee Involvement?
This term refers to any structures put in place that allow employees to provide their input regarding decisions that affect their working environment.
This might mean getting employees involved in:
- Workplace continuous improvement teams
- Quality of work-life programs
- Quality control circles
- Labour management and employee problem-solving task forces
- Structured suggestion and incident reporting systems
In the context of quality control and workplace safety, no one is going to have greater insight into how to improve systems than the workers on the ground.
In the same vein, in terms of workplace safety, no one is as directly invested in creating a safe environment as the employees operating in that space.
It therefore makes sense to get rid of a strict top-down hierarchy approach when it comes to quality, risk prevention and HSE (health and safety of the environment) management systems.
You will still require some form of leadership. However, the goal is to create a culture that makes your employees feel comfortable voicing their ideas and playing a more active role in decision making.
Why Employee Involvement Matters
Employees have valuable voices
Managers are not engaging with the workspace in the same way that ground-level employees are each day. This means that they lack some understanding of the intricacies of operations on the ground.
Managers provide valuable big picture thinking and leadership input. But, this is only effective when they have all the facts. And the best way to access this information is to engage with employees on the ground.
Nothing beats practical experience, which ground-level employees possess in ample amounts. This unique insight can produce ideas that help your business grow, optimise, and innovate your management systems.
Employees can identify issues early
Employees on the ground will be the first to spot any quality risks or safety hazards. This makes them the ideal first port of call for incident reporting.
Be sure to encourage your employees to report anything of interest right away, rather than leaving it for someone else to report. The more employees you have reporting back, the more field data you have for making informed management decisions with successful resolutions.
Instantaneous incident reporting catches issues early before they snowball into something larger. This will save your business time and money. Reduce waste, product cycle times and product recalls by encouraging each employee to play their part!
Involvement improves productivity and job satisfaction
Encouraging employees to play an active role in management systems shows that you value their ideas and hear their concerns.
You are giving them the opportunity to actively contribute to bettering their own working environment. This will both directly and indirectly boost employees’ sense of well-being. In turn, this can increase their productivity as they become happier in their work environment.
Employees with an active role in management systems will feel more empowered. This increases job satisfaction and motivation. In turn, it fosters creativity and improves employee retention within organisations.
How To Improve Employee Involvement
Effective employee involvement in quality and HSE management systems requires three steps:
1. Give employees a channel through which to report incidents and share their thoughts
The first step is easy enough to achieve with the right technology on your side. Incident reporting software allows employees to instantly report on any issues they observe.
All your ground-level employees can be given the authority to report from any device. This makes the process quick and easy for them, which means they’ll be more likely to continue to do so. As a result, you will be able to identify issues early and resolve them more efficiently.
Most incident reporting platforms also enable employees to make suggestions about incident resolutions or other unique ideas. They may even have innovative thoughts on how to improve the workplace and its systems on a larger scale. Thus it’s important to give them a channel through which to share these thoughts and get involved.
Managers also have the opportunity to follow up on employee suggestions. This ensures that they will feel heard and valued.
2. Train employees in incident reporting and decision-making skills
Training employees in decision-making processes will help instil them with confidence in their ideas. As a result, they will feel encouraged to weigh in more regularly.
Consider which employees have the most expertise and who will be most affected by any management decisions under consideration. These are the employees whose ideas and opinions should have the most weight.
3. Incentivise employees to participate in management systems
Incentivisation could be anything from employee-of-the-month to some kind of reward system. Either way, if your employees are putting in extra work, they deserve to get some kind of recognition in return!
It won’t be possible to consider every employee’s suggestions for each management decision. But, investing in the right software will make it far easier to get the grasp of what the majority feels.
Other useful ways to engage employees include more formal approaches to employee participation. For example, quality circles, self-managed work teams, gainsharing programs, employee ownership, problem-solving teams, and cross-functional task forces.
Employee involvement is a highly usefull wrench in the management system toolkit. Creating a platform for employees on the ground to weigh in on important quality and safety management decisions will help:
- Make employees feel valued
- Identify issues early, act on them faster, reduce costs
- Improve workplace safety, productivity and job satisfaction
To get the best out of employee involvement, invest in a modern incident reporting software and incentivise employees to participate for a greater cause.
Incy.io helps you to involve your whole staff to report what they observe. Interested to hear more? Book a demo or start a 30-Days FREE Trial to see how it can help your organisation:
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