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Effective Change and Communication

By: Dale Partridge, Director of Safety

Quite often the construction company is faced with changes in policy or procedure for a variety of different reasons. There are many things that affect the way that a change is implemented. When faced with these changes, it is very important to balance communication to your employees while satisfying the legal side of the business.

Employees are tasked with learning and knowing rules, regulations, company policies, proper tool handling, plus a variety of other items that need to be committed to memory. When current policy is changed or new policies are implemented, it is critical to communicate in a manner that is most easily interpreted and understood.

The first hurdle of interpreting this change is in how we put it into a readable format. If left to the legal department, the written change may be challenging for the average person to interpret and understand. This type of process could cripple the intent of the change right from the beginning. Remember, the purpose is to give employees the proper training and tools to complete their jobs safely. If we hand them a legal document and ask them to comply we are setting ourselves and them up for failure. There is a balance to meeting the needs of the legal department and effectively putting a change in writing that can be understood by all employees.

Lastly we need to consider the delivery to the affected employees. It is key for the delivery method to be done by appropriate personnel. No matter which method you use for delivery, you should ensure that it is done by the appropriate person(s). This could be a third party or perhaps a person who is respected and seen in the field a majority of the time. Good delivery can mean the difference between falling on deaf ears or involving the employees and having them believe that the changes are for their safest interests.

In conclusion, one can see that a change is just not a pen stroke on a piece of paper. Balancing all aspects of a change starts at the very beginning and continues all the way through implementation. We need to think carefully about all aspects of a change so that we can keep our companies, and most importantly our employees, safe and healthy. Understanding and communication are key to a productive, healthy, and safe workforce that allows us all to benefit.

A veteran professional, Dale is a subject matter expert on the topic of safety with a diverse background in compliance and quality control. Paired with an extensive list of OSHA training and certifications, he is responsible for the overall status and facilitation of the company’s safety training programs, as well as safety compliance, tracking, reporting, documentation, and oversight of all on-site safety managers. Dale creates an environment of personal accountability, and plays an integral role in maintaining Welliver’s position as a leader in workplace safety.