There was a decision by the Alberta Workman’s Compensation Board recently that fined a Chinese company with a record fine, basically for not taking care to establish a safe work environment for workers. This is an extreme example perhaps, but it highlights a set of values, a life view, that we can probably find with individual staff members in any construction company or engineering company. While the fine was for a company not taking due care, it is another situation when a responsible company struggles to get staff to follow safe working procedures.
May I suggest that we are moving into an age when a variety of communication styles and training approaches will become standard for government bodies and within individual organizations. With four generations and multiple ethnic backgrounds within the ranks of every organization, training and communication will become more effective as it begins to speak to the different value systems and life views that are present everywhere.
The WCB decision is an example of using a big stick to obtain compliance. This is one tool but perhaps not the first choice if you are working with your own staff. Staff members respond to what is important to them, not necessarily what is important to the boss. Compliance with safe working rules and regulations will improve with communication and training that speaks to all staff members from a point of view that is important to them.
We are past the stage of ‘one communication style fits all’.