Safety, technology and a millennial walk into a bar…

A 54-year-old Bartender is pumping out cocktails like a boss, when safety, technology and a millennial walk into a bar. After a couple of looks, the Bartender asks the trio what they have in common.

Ignoring the question, the millennial asks the Bartender where the young people are. He notices the crowd is substantially smaller and older than the last time he visited. The Bartender mumbles, “new ownership. The regulars want a quiet, neighborhood pub where they don’t have to worry about needing hearing aids after leaving”. Smirking, the millennial asks why the Bartender seems to be working alone. The Bartender tells the millennial that the last young girl didn’t appreciate her job and walked out yesterday.

Safety goes to take a sip of her rum and coke. She notices a break in the glass and asks the Bartender if he could replace the potentially hazardous cocktail. The Bartender ignores safety and asks technology how we would like to pay his bill. Technology takes out his credit card and places it on the table. The Bartender says, “cash only. There is a bank machine next door.”

Irritated, technology answers the Bartenders initial question (what does the trio have in common?) “Retention. Unable to keep workers, a small, niche crowd, and a lack of proper technology, is a retention issue.”

“People want to feel safe and appreciated. They want the proper tools to their job and have limited stressors wasting their time, energy or money. People want to deal with healthy, fair and progressive employers or entities. Nobody wants to work for or attend a place they don’t feel valued in. Safety and progression bring profit, sustainability, trust and all generations of people. As well, if it wasn’t already clear, retention isn’t just about keeping workers. It’s about attracting, recruiting and retaining happy customers. Ones that come back and refer their friends.”

Not to mention, who is the target market after baby boomers and gen x’ers disappear? Millennials and generations succeeding. While older generations may be willing to compromise for a paycheck or simple drink, new generations will not.

If it ain’t broke, why fit it?

It is time to do things differently in order to see different results. There is nothing great about being complacent, basic or backwards. Complacency is a key word to describe failed relationships, businesses or accidents. Were either moving with the tide, or against it.

Safety + technology = Retention

We hear it all the time. A common challenge for organizations is retention.

We get it. Being a business owner, the main concern is profit. However, without your workers and consumers, you have no profit. It’s 2021. Things are a LOT different than they once were. Just providing a paycheck isn’t enough. Workers want to feel valued and heard. Most of them want to perform and know they are making a difference. Actually, accomplishing something and hearing it from their boss. Being able to sleep at night knowing they have purpose and are contributing to the greater good. It’s human nature. Sure, there are crappy employees just like there are employers. However, in general, if people feel valued, they perform. Provide value and you shall reap value.

Technology and Engagement

Were not talking about having a simulator or robot to cater to your workers needs. Its simpler than that. Having the proper tools and technology increases productivity, profitability and value.

- Have systems in place — Embrace a system or technology that talks to all staff, suppliers, third parties or consumers. Have office 365 and get rid of paper files. Lean out the hierarchy or the approval process. Don’t make workers look in 45 different areas to accomplish one task. Give them something to work with instead of them having to create their own processes. This will increase productivity, alleviate stressors and improve engagement.

- Equipment — Give employees the tools they need to be successful. Replace the plastic office chairs for comfort. Working phones, headsets or replace the 1986 coffee machine for a Keurig.

- Improve communication — Don’t just rely on emails or messy shared drives. Have an open-door policy and provide a communication tool that is accessible 24/7. Try Teams, Lync, Sharepoint or Zoom. Have a special area for employee engagement, recognition and business news. Keep employees in the loop, while allowing workers the ability to be connected at all times. Especially, if they need guidance or a place to have a voice.

- Flexibility — Allow employees to work from home or make their own hours (Depends on position).

- Coaching and goals — Have all staff complete a Meyers & Brigg personality test. Find out their strengths and weaknesses so they can develop. As well, so you can coach, mentor and help them develop. Make this a part of your performance reviews or create a goal map with workers.

- Training — Not just in person training. Have a training system in place like Linkedin learning or Hubspot. Employees should be empowered to learn and grow. On, for or off the job.

Safety

Policies, regulations, checklists and hazard assessments are important. However, they are not enough.

- Make safety a priority. Make it a part of your vision, mission and value statements. Don’t just let those policies collect dust. Live, breath and act on safety.

- Have a maintenance or safety contact. Have an email or key contact for concerns to be addressed. Don’t just listen — act. Make it a safe and comfortable place to report all safety topics

- Properly maintain all equipment, vehicles or offices.

- Train everyone, including leadership.

- Have proper safety signage, provide workers with required PPE and have an OH&S wall.

- Make mental health a priority. Talk and train about it.

- Take bullying, harassment and workplace violence seriously. Deal with it.

- Have a proper incident or investigation management system in place. Track and learn from past incidents. If you don’t, hire a consultant. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.

- Get your COR through the Government of Alberta or take place in local safety programs.

- Audit, audit, audit!

The world is changing and so is the workforce. Let’s grow together, retain and make life simpler for each other to feel accomplished. Remember, safety and technology attract all generations. Especially millennials. End result? Retention.

Author: Oriana Kolonsky

Oriana Kolonsky is a Product Manager, workforce strategist, labour relations expert, and an industry advocate.