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
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
– 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.
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
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.

Oriana is a Product Manager, Workforce Strategist, Labour Relations Expert and an Industry Advocate. She recently left the AMTA (alberta motor transport association) to pursue other industry initiatives (Working with Sunwapta Solutions and owner of Industry Workforce Development of Canada). She promotes opportunities within the industry, enhances workplace development and human resources, while providing labour strategies and expertise. Oriana Kolonsky Product Manager Sunwapta Solutions Inc.