While we regularly focus on Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) strategies for the ageing population, there is another generation streaming into the workforce that can’t be ignored – the millennials.
By 2020, millennials are expected to form 50% of the global workforce and with a fifth of all work-related injuries already experienced by Australian workers aged 25 years and under, a new approach to your WHS training for this generation needs to be considered.
Hold up, what are Millennials again?
The millennial generation typically fall between those born in the early 1980s and early 2000s and are often known as Gen Y or Gen Me.
At present millennials already have higher incidence rates of work-related injuries than baby boomers, especially in industries with high levels of shift workers; such as health care, hospitality and construction.
In this article we discuss how you can make your organisations WHS training relevant to millennials, so your organisation can keep safety hip… ok maybe just a little more accessible.
The best teacher is ME!
Millennials often don’t use paper at all outside of work, so if your WHS training program involves a ring binder and an annual half day training course in a windowless room, you may need to switch it up.
Often the best way to teach a millennial is to challenge them to teach themselves. Having grown up with the internet, millennials are used to having information literally at their fingertips.
According to a recent Millennials at Work report, “One of the defining characteristics of the millennial generation is their affinity with the digital world. They have grown up with broadband, smartphones, laptops and social media being the norm and expect instant access to information. This is the first generation to enter the workplace with a better grasp of a key business tool than more senior workers.”
Millennials are seeking flexible, mobile, on-demand solutions when it comes to training, which may see organisations changing what they have done in the past. Now technology trumps paper.
Tips to embrace this include:
- Show me the video! If you are anything like this millennial writer, reading instructions is only for when your IKEA chair leg doesn’t seem to be facing the right way around. So here at GB we love Skillshare online learning community where you can take classes, watch video lessons, create projects and even contribute a class yourself. Read our review and grab yourself a discount.
- 24/7: If your company is able to configure access from mobiles or tablets, consider learning materials that employees can use and access at anytime. Often the desire to learn or get more detailed with training material is hampered by available time during work hours.
- myGBed online training courses: available for GB clients to access 24/7 on any device. The courses have been developed by accredited trainers and cover two of GB’s most popular programs – Return to Work Responsibilities for Managers and Hazard Management in the Workplace.
- E-Learning: This online training system lets employees train when they want and depending on your IT set up and security, where they want. The training can utilise many interactive tools such as short quizzes, pop up boxes, videos, audio and delightful pops of colour.
- Get them involved: Millennials love giving feedback and making an impact, so get them involved in designing an awareness campaign about WHS for your next Health and Safety Month.
Get a little personal
While technology is an important part of WHS training, millennials also want to know why it’s important and to be able to give feedback and share experiences of their own.
The best way to do this is for both you and your employees to share personal examples of safety experiences, stories of past incidents and where controls or measures helped or hindered. Stories add a ‘real world’ touch, just ask any millennial about the hugely popular “Humans of New York” blog and see if you can keep them from telling you their favourite post.
One practical way to implement ‘the why’ and make story telling a part of your WHS education is to include it as part of your organisation’s regular team meetings. Each employee could take a turn to discuss what they or a colleague has done to promote safety recently or a situation where they could’ve done things better.
This can motivate your team to regularly keep WHS at the front of their minds, while providing tips they can use in their day-to-day work experiences.
If you would like to know more about the changing dynamics of your workforce and how to keep your WHS program relevant, contact GB to see how we can we can assist.