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  • Writer's pictureDealerPILOT HR

The Water Cooler Talk that you actually want

Regardless of if you call them stand-ups, tailgates, water cooler talks or safety talks, they are critical to your operations.

When was the last time that you know of your departmental managers ( yes, all departments!) had some form of a stand-up safety talk?

Sometimes it's the small things that make a big difference, but it is also these same things that we are unsure of how to begin. So let's dive in!

Stand-ups are a great way to remind staff of a specific safety protocol, hazard, training reminder or just an operational best practice.

They don't need a lot of work, time or effort either. Challenge your departmental managers to hold a 5-10 minute stand-up once a month to discuss a safety topic.

That is only 12 ideas in a year that are required, and we all know there are more than 12 hazards or issues to stay on top of.

In May of 2022, our industry suffered a fatality in relation to a lift accident. Wouldn't it be sad to think that this may have been avoidable, if we took 10 minutes to remind staff about safe operations and equipment best practices?

Here are some tips to get your departments started on a monthly talk:

  • Check with our SMEs to find out what some of the current challenges or concerns are. This could include asking the JHSC for ideas, talking to your HR/H&S team or seeking advice from an expert outside of your dealership.

  • Use your tools! These meetings can be scheduled in your intranet or other safety or departmental calendar for the entire year so that everyone makes attending a habit. Content planning can be done this way too.

  • Have each manager create a list of topics based on your findings from Pt. 1 that they can chose from to make them timely and relevant.

  • Document the meeting! Although these are informal, often FAQ or Q and A style chats, that are very short, it is still important to keep some type of record of the topic discussed and who was in attendance.

  • Be creative ( and engaging) , maybe rotate speakers based on their knowledge, have a coffee and donut challenge or see who can complete a BINGO over the course of multiple topics. Think outside the box to ensure staff are engaged and retain the information. Safety doesn't need to be dull!

  • Watch for industry news or local issues of concern that you can use to implement some best practices.

  • Coach and guide the presenters. Dept. Managers may need a topic guide or similar "script" to start with so that they are comfortable with keeping the meeting brief, on topic and informative. Share information: if one dept. has done a great talk and has speaking notes, pass them along to others. This can enhance shared learning, emphasize a common process and cross-departmental protocols (and why re-create the wheel?)

When in doubt, reach out! We assist our subscribers in planning, holding and managing safety talks, so ask us! You can email to find out more about safety talks and our services.

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