The “WHY” for “WHAT” Needs Done Safety Talk
Employees at many companies are given directions to what needs to be done that work day and nothing further. They may not understand why something is done a certain way or why do it in the first place. It is important to take the time to explain the “WHY” along with the “WHAT” during work tasks when it is appropriate. By doing so, it often results in employees being able to make more informed decisions that results in a safer and more efficient work environment both in the present moment and in the future.
Defining the “WHY”
The “WHY” of a work task or the process to complete it refers to the explanation of the reasoning of why something is done a certain way. Telling someone WHAT to do is the most basic step in giving instructions. Going on to explain the WHY behind the WHAT gives the individual a learning experience that can be applied to not only that situation but also to other situations later on in their career.
Help Others Understand the “WHY”
You do not have to be a supervisor to help explain work tasks to other employees if you understand a work process and have experience with it. Take time to mentor other coworkers when you have the opportunity to do so. There are many different situations that come up in a workplace each day that may require explaining the WHY to a coworker.
Situations When the “WHY” Should be Explained
- An employee is new to a work task.
- An employee does not understand why certain mitigation actions or safeguards are put into place prior to starting a work task.
- A job step or series of job steps may be different than previously experienced.
Not every single decision, action, work task, etc. needs the WHY explained every time, but there are many times when it should be explained.
Why it is Critical to Explain the “WHY”
When employees understand why something is done as opposed to just what needs to be done, they can begin to make informed decisions going forward. Explaining the thought process behind why a certain decision is made or why a certain action is taken during a work process allows the employee to use that information in other situations.
When employees understand the WHY behind the WHAT they can make more informed decisions that leads to a safer and more efficient work environment for everyone involved.