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Seasonal employees need safety training, too

As companies rush to hire workers for the holiday season, SAIF has tips on how to provide safety training to new employees of all ages

posted November 23, 2016

Whether it's your first job or a way to supplement your career, working during the holiday season can be a great option for many Oregon workers. But, as companies invest in seasonal employment this year, SAIF wants to remind employers not to skimp on safety—and to remember that safety training communication comes in all shapes and sizes.

Each generation has unique qualitites. Knowing what each group values and how they may think can lead to better communication and a safer workplace.

Generation

Traditionalists  |  1990 to 1945
Loyal, conformers, respect authority, disciplined, and formal

Young workers

Millennials and
Generation Z

  • 16 to 25 years old
  • Like teamwork and competition. 
  • Choose whom to respect.
  • Prefer short, frequent, positive feedback.

Baby Boomers   |  1946 to 1964
Optimistic, step-by-step promotion, question authority, and value relationships

Generation X  |  1965 to 1980
Independent, flexible, want structure, immediate communication, and fun

Millennials  |  1981 to 1994
Multi-taskers, confident, adaptable, highly social, team tasks, and extreme fun

Generation Z  |  1994 to ?
Socially responsible, connected, communicate in 140 characters or less, and influenced by peers

“Holiday help can be vital for Oregon businesses, especially in industries like retail. But it’s critical to provide the same safety training as you would for any employee—especially when you consider new employees are five times more likely to be hurt on the job,” said Christina Lincicome, director of diversity and inclusion at SAIF. “That said, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ for communicating to your holiday workforce about safety.”

Lincicome notes that, while it's not possible to predict how every employee best learns and communicates, there are some generational differences that generally apply.

“We know, for instance, that Millenials may expect more in-the-moment feedback than previous generations,” Lincicome said. “When implementing a strong safety culture, it’s important to provide feedback as you go.”

One thing workplaces can consider is pairing up millennials and boomers for safety training. Boomers tend to have more experience, prefer learning in a social environment, and are process-oriented, so can explain why things are the way they are. Millennials tend to be more solution-oriented, so may be able to point out a better way of doing things.

The most important thing is to not assume, cautions Lincicome. “Some managers may want to provide too much oversight to young workers, or assume older workers already know safety measures. It’s critical to have an open dialogue with each worker to understand their experience to-date, gauge their preferences for how and where they receive communications, and determine where any gaps in safety training may be. By communicating in a way that connects with employees, employers can better ensure their workers are safe, and possibly save lives.”

For more information on each generation's workplace preferences, please see the matrix. Supervisors of younger employees can also get more information, including tips for preventing young worker injuries, on at saif.com/safetyandhealth.