Improving Worker Involvement in Creating a Safe & Healthy Workplace
Weekly WHS Article 1st March 2022
How to Improve Worker Involvement
The connection between the involvement and commitment of your workers in WHS and the marketing experiences and strategy of American flour companies may not be immediately clear but please read on. The same factors can be used in your workplace.
P. Duff and Sons made history in the early 1930s by producing and patenting the first cake mix. Just buy the box of cake mix, put the mix in a bowl, add water, 2 eggs, stir, put it in a baking pan, slip it in the oven and bake your cake. Very convenient.
Many other companies joined the new game but sales reached a plateau in the early 1950s. So, one of the largest cake-mix companies engaged a marketing expert called Ernest Dichter to get sales moving upwards again. Dichter used focus groups for his research and concluded that women wanted to feel more involved in the cake making process.
So, cake-mix-in-a-box companies began a campaign to inform and help women in how to make icings for their cake, how to colour and flavour their icing, and how to create images of all shapes and sizes to go on their cake. And cake mix sales expanded. The cake mix companies were very happy.
Women who made cakes and iced them could justifiably feel that, despite buying a cake-mix-in-a-box, they could make a cake that was mostly theirs, contained a good part of their effort, their choices and create. They were very happy with their cake creations and the attention and admiration they received from those who saw and ate their cakes.
Looking back from 2022 at the cake mix marketing of the 1950s we can readily see factors that are commonly known today about motivation and involving people and workers. People;
are happier with a product if they have participated in making it,
will have more affection and attachment for a product if they design it or have put effort into it,
need to be recognized for making or doing things that are needed and wanted by others,
are strongly motivated to accomplish tasks that attract the attention and admiration of others,
like to create things or be involved in the creative process.
You can find one or more of the above bullet points in current day marketing and HR strategies. For example; what international company sells affordable, functional furniture and gives you all the parts in a flat pack box? And you have to follow their assembly instructions to combine and connect those parts into the functional piece of furniture you want. Yes, it is IKEA. How many of the bullet points above can you see in IKEA's marketing strategy?
Inform, Train, Instruct, Supervise, Consult and Help
Remember that the cake-mix companies informed and helped women so that they were able to be creative and more involved in their cake making.
Likewise, you may need to inform and help your workers to become able to be more involved and committed to WHS compliance by providing; “any information, training, instruction or supervision that is necessary ...” (section 19(3)(f) WHS Act).
The WHS duty to consult workers is also important in this process. It includes section 48 of the WHS Act which requires that;
relevant work health and safety information is shared with workers
workers are given a reasonable opportunity to express their views and to raise health or safety issues
workers are given a reasonable opportunity to contribute to the decision-making process relating to the health and safety matter
the views of workers are taken into account, and
workers are advised of the outcome of any consultation in a timely manner
1st March 2022