For those who already went there in thought, let me explain. I am not referring to the engagement where you are expected to spend a month of your wages for that special someone nor am I talking about those of you expecting that special someone to spend a month of wages on that “rock” for the finger. I am talking about a completely different type of engagement. So, let us get to it!
What is engagement? It is the act of engaging or the state of being engaged. The execution of engagement within the workplace is one of the most important things an individual can do regardless of what profession they work in.
So, what is engagement in the workplace? It is you making a connection with those that you work with. You are letting them know that you are part of the task(s) that will be taking place. This connection can be accomplished through verbal communication, physical presence, and written form.
I have been in many conversations with inspectors of all different levels of experience who have indicated that they are having difficulties with the crews or individuals not communicating their intentions, not participating in tailgate meetings, not sharing work information, work as if the inspector is not present, etc. When I hear these complaints from inspectors my first thought is did the inspector execute engagement on the first day he or she was assigned to the crew. More times than not, they did not.
Inspectors, I cannot stress enough the importance of making that connection with your crews on the first day you meet in the field. What is the process of connection? Glad you asked. It is you explaining your position, your intentions, and your daily goals. Keeping in mind, your connection process is not the process of directing their work. It is you being engaged with them and their tasks throughout the day. There is a big difference. You will explain to them what your duties and responsibilities are and the rules you have been handed down by your superior for which you are held to. You will be upfront with them about what you expect to see after tasks have been completed and if the work does not meet the standards set forth by the client there will be rework performed to make it acceptable. You will let them know you are there to assist them in any way possible short of directing their work. You will make yourself readily available if anything needs to be addressed. You will reiterate the importance of safe work practices and your zero tolerance for unsafe work activities. You will let them know the importance of communication and that the sharing of information regarding work plans, tasks, etc. is imperative to the success of their workday.
Of course, there are countless ways and versions to connect with the crews, but you get the idea for the process of connection. This process is the first day of engagement. Inspectors must stay engaged throughout the duration of the project. You need to follow through with what you said. You need to show them consistency and transparency. If you do not go through the process of connection and engage on the first day you will inevitably have problems throughout the time you work with these folks. And in more times than not, they are not intentionally disregarding or “walking” all over you, they just think you are not interested in what is going on. You must stay engaged with your crews and personnel or you will lose the connection and any participation from them.
Trust me when I say this if you disregard the first day of engagement, and decide to wing it, you will more than likely struggle with many of the requirements and duties of your position. Do yourself a favor, initiate the process of connection, engage on the first day, and then stay engaged. You will have a safer and more productive day.
Take care and be safe!