Employing staff who are suitable for the job is only half the story, you also need to help your staff understand your organisational culture and workplace and how to complete their job in a safe and efficient manner. Every workplace is slightly different and each presents a variety of risks that you need to alert staff to. Most organisations deal with this by orientating staff when they first start a job and through on-going training sessions, such as Workplace Health and Safety tool box talks.
One of your roles as a care coordinator or supervisor is to keep your staff safe at work as well as provide a safe working environment for clients and other visitors to your centres. Of course, we have policies and procedures that help outline what you need to do and how to do it, but what about your staff? How do you ensure they know your policies and procedures – are they written or presented in a way that helps them recognise what a risk is and how to identify hazards?
It’s not just physical hazards and risks either. Do your staff understand the programs your organisation is funded for and how to meet client needs? As a trainer, I have often seen the ‘Aha’ moment when learners suddenly understand why they are being asked to do something a certain way or why one client receives certain services while another doesn’t. When staff have knowledge of the programs, they are more confident and are able to be your ambassadors out in the field.
I’m sure you'll agree, a well-informed and trained staff member is more helpful and less likely to have accidents than one who is not. So how can you work towards this outcome? After orientating your staff correctly you can help keep your staff up to date and keep safety in the front of their minds by running toolbox talks.
A toolbox talk focuses on one key safety topic at a time. A well-designed toolbox talk should be short, use basic, easy to understand language and be applicable to the workplace.
An Info Share (our definition anyway) is similar to a toolbox talk, however it focuses on topics outside of work health and safety, such as basic program knowledge or client rights and responsibilities.
It shouldn’t take long for you to run your staff through a toolbox talk or Info Share. Start by describing the main topic, explain any key definitions and most importantly, put the information in context by discussing a relevant workplace scenario. The more your staff become involved in the discussion and contributing to the scenario or answering questions the more likely they are to understand how the information is to be applied. The information you have provided then becomes knowledge.
We have Info Shares around funded programs uploaded to the CDCS Total Quality Package resource hub. If you have a membership, you can check them out there.