How to Communicate Safety Standards Across Generations

· by Cristi Waterson

Cristi is a guest writer for HTI. She works as a Career Success Consultant, and is an expert on safety in the workplace.
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How To Communicate Safety Standards Across Generations


When it comes to internal priorities for businesses, employee safety is one of the most important aspects to keep in mind. However, living in a multi-generational culture trying to get the importance of workplace safety across to all of your employees can be a real struggle. 


Of course, implementing workplace safety standards can have a huge impact in different sectors of your company. Including consumer happiness, and employee performance. 


Throughout this article, we plan to share step by step how to enforce and communicate different workplace safety standards in your business to protect not only your company but also your workforce. 


Ready to get into it? 


 What Generations Are We Dealing With? 


The first step to learning how to instruct your taskforce with safety standards is to understand exactly what we mean by a multi-generation culture. As of today, our main generations can be divided into three main groups: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y’s / Millennials


Baby Boomers: 


Baby Boomers currently have a 38-percent stake in the U.S workforce. This generation of kids were born between 1946 and 1964 according to U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. The advantage of the baby boomer generation is the experience. 


Some trademasters have been working in their respective professions for 20-30 years. Most of the time, this experience creates an understanding of how important safety in the workplace. However, the Achilles heel of this generation is sometimes they can get cocky.


Believing that thanks to their experience, they do not need to sit through safety lessons, or adhere to new workplace policies due to it being different from the way it was done in their day. 


Gen X’s: 


Our next generation of workers occupy 32-percent of the U.S workforce today. This generations kids were born between 1965 and 1975. Research done on this generation led to the belief that although this generation was knowledgeable, the experience was not quite the same level as our Baby Boomers. 


Typical behaviour of this generation is to be distrustful towards authorities, and a character trait of being very cynical. Which could lead to some conflicts when it comes to training seminars. 


Gen Y’s / Millennials : 


Our last generation of kids occupy roughly 21-percent of the workforce in the United States. The approximate time period of birth is between 1976 and 2001. We all know the typical stereotype of this generation, which is arrogance and self-absorbed. 


From a business perspective, the easiest way to classify these employees is that they are high-maintenance. Requiring constant praise. 


So now that we know the pros and cons of each generation, it’s time to figure out exactly how you can bridge the gaps between these generations and help them understand and implement your safety protocols. 


It’s Worth The Time To Consider Different Training Methods


The difference between Gen X’s and Baby Boomers is not that hard to overcome. However the same cannot be said between both Gen X, Baby Boomers, as well as Millieneals. A strategy that would work for one generation, may not be as effective for another. 


Which is why it’s really not a bad idea to consider multiple training strategies for each generation. Although it sounds like a heavier resource investment, it would work out cheaper, and more efficient in the long run. 


Take Advantage Of The Experience Baby Boomers Bring


The easiest way to create a sense of importance for safety protocols is to bring in those veterans who have learned the hard way just how important it is to have some sort of safeguard in place to protect employees. 


These “war stories”, which resulted in dismissals, and even unfair retrenchments to save a company a couple of bucks will resonate with Gen X kids. While at the same time, Millennials flourish in this “experience” training, which will help them shift their mindset towards the importance of sufficient safety protocols in the workplace. 


New Technology Is The Best Way To Relate To Millieneals


1976 was when technology really started booming, and we were in what we call the digital era. This era is why Millennials typically relate to advanced technologies far more rapidly than older generations. 


This familiarity with technology can be used to your advantage when it comes to safety protocols. Not only can you invest in some high-end technology to protect your employees, but your millennial workers can also help teach the older generations how this technology works, and best practises to protect themselves from digital monogamy. 


General Training Tips And Tricks


Believe it or not, when I was performing the studies for this article, these two strategies were all I needed to bridge the gap between the generations. Forcing them to work together, through experience and knowledge seemed like the most efficient option for efficient learning. 


From there, the only important things are your typical training rules. 


  • Have a straightforward, non complicated way of training your employees. 
  • Create a friendly, and constructive working environment. 
  • Ensure that it is interesting to retain interest and enthusiasm amongst all the generations.