How do we help staff get over the “big brother” hysteria?

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When implementing a lone worker safety solution your first priority is the safety of your people. How do you do this while ensuring your team are on board with the solution and don’t feel that they are being watched?

My first piece of advice? I strongly advise that the word “tracking” is never used in communications around these solutions. It instantly conjures up images of big brother sitting in front of a big screen watching everyone’s moves.


Building trust & credibility

Of course, as a rule, and as should be true, most people have far better things to do than watch dots move around a map. That said, I have seen these solutions being taken advantage of by managers prone to micro management and mistrust of their staff. As soon as that happens, the solution will lose all credibility and the trust of your staff will be eroded. 


The only sure way to prevent a secret control freak in the ranks to abuse the power of the solution is to simply not give access. Many of our clients have strict GPS policy in place which clearly stipulates who can log onto the platform and under what circumstances. This is a great place to start. And make sure the policy is shared on your intranet and during the training of the solution. This goes a long way towards calming any GPS cynics in the ranks. A good solution will also allow you to grant access to particular groups/individuals to different managers. This might also work in your organisation.


Communication is key

All communication to staff around the solution should make it clear this is a Health and Safety solution. It is there as a means for them to get help fast should they need it, and to communicate if they are working in remote locations. It is also a compliance requirement. Providing “effective works of communication” is a duty of the PCBU. So if all else fails in bringing staff along on the journey, that should null and void any argument.


Bringing your team along on the journey

As always, it’s better to try bringing your team along on the journey though. We find clients who have invested in engagement workshops prior to implementation have the most successful uptake and integration of the solution as BAU. 


I don’t recommend you put the vote out as to “what” solution or you’ll be spending years in trials and debate. But once you have selected the solution, show it to your teams, engage them in conversation around what it can do and how they think it should be used. Ask how many devices your team thinks they need. Who needs their own and who can share a number of pooled devices. What might their processes be, how should the functionality be set, and how the incident response instructions might be structured. Get their input on if these matters and find out what works for them. After all, they are the people in the field who will be using the solution and they will know best what’s going to work. 


Tweaking response plans, device settings and numbers is all easy enough to do before the final order is placed and you will have a workforce who feel trusted, valued and engaged.


Maintain clarity through socialisation & policy

A good socialisation phase always results in a workforce eager to start using the new solution which in turn of course the investment is well spent and will provide instant safety. And don’t forget to share the GPS policy at this stage and your updated Lone and Remote Work policy which should include use of the solution.


Guardian Angel have sample policies we are happy to supply. Get in touch to discuss your requirements and we will provide a sample policy that will work for your team.

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