MRF Best Practices: Employee Engagement & Safety
The daily safety huddle is a standard occurrence for MRF managers and their employees, but the routine of it can cause some employees to tune-out. Motivating employees to participate and keeping them engaged in your safety meetings, day after day, is critical. Engagement can help pinpoint areas of confusion, test employees’ knowledge of safety programs and procedures, and allow them to share their views on potential safety risks.
Here are some of the best ways to encourage participation in the daily safety huddle, collected from Leadpoint’s onsite managers at a recent roundtable discussion.
- Have a structure – and agenda and a plan – but keep the mood relaxed and informal. This may help employees feel more comfortable and willing to participate, voice their concerns, and bring up new ideas.
- Let employees choose the safety topic of the day. This may help them feel more included and give them a greater stake in the meeting’s success.
- Ask for volunteers to read the topic and notes you’ve prepared. The entire team may feel more engaged if information is presented by one of their peers.
- To get employees to participate during the safety huddle, let them know you are there to help them. Show respect by asking what you can do for them and by demonstrating that the safety meeting is for their well-being, not just for the MRF’s benefit.
Getting employees to pay attention during the safety meeting is another challenge our onsite managers tackled. You can simply ask people to pay attention, or you can try some of these suggestions.
- Put some excitement in your voice. Sell the sizzle!
- Gesture, move around, and stay animated. Standing in one place can be boring; movement can be engaging.
- Make a safety football, a soft foam ball with “safety” written on it. Toss the football to an employee. Whoever catches it must recite one of the safety action points you’ve prepared for the meeting.
- Insist that employees put away their cell phones.
Involve Me & I Will Learn
You may wonder how much information your employees retain after the daily safety huddle; were they really paying attention, and can they put to use what you’ve shared? The old saying, “Tell me and I may forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will learn,” is a good one to remember. Here are some ideas for how to involve your employees so they learn and remember the key points from each safety huddle.
- Create a short quiz to test the team’s knowledge. The quiz can be read out loud and answered as a group, or it can be on paper.
- Single out someone after the safety meeting, when they are on the line or getting ready for a break and ask them questions from that day’s meeting. You could even ask them what the safety topic was. It sounds simple, but if done consistently employees will learn that they may be asked a question and be more motivated to pay attention.
- Incorporate active learning in your safety huddle by moving the location of the safety meeting to somewhere relevant to the topic. For example, if you are discussing the fire drill and evacuation procedures, take the group to the first rally point. Sound the alarm so employees know what it sounds like. This type of participation solidifies the topic and helps employees remember key points.
- And be sure to reward employees when they answer questions correctly or participate in discussions. The reward can be as simple as a Gatorade, soda or candy.
Try some of these tactics to generate engagement, keep employees’ attention, and drive retention at your MRF. Let us know how they go, and share your ideas so that together, we build a library of tips every MRF can use to keep safety top-of-mind, every day.