The Voice of The Frontline Worker – Literally.

July 18, 2023

Worker Voice Reports Using Wearable Technology

By: Aaron Johnson, Director of International Business Development

Immediately realized benefits that contribute to safety culture:

  • More near-misses and good catches reported
  • Builds trust and engagement
  • Employee inclusion, satisfaction, and retention

For some reason, whenever a conversation turns to improving corporate culture or raising employee engagement, the Beach Boys song, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” always seems to overtake the lament. There is a strong desire and even a keen understanding that we would all be better off as an organization if we could just solve this puzzle. We know this. Managers want it. Employees want it. Even customers want it. But how do we change the tune in our heads to sound more like “We Are the Champions?”

Libraries are already filled with pages and pages of resources. Improving corporate culture and employee engagement is not a knowledge problem. It’s a doing problem. We’ve tried campaigns, posters, incentives, and all sorts of what sometimes feel like gimmicks in the name of working to improve morale. But the buck always lands back in the hands of the leaders and what employees see as real action.

At MākuSafe, our wearable safety device starts with the individual. As we developed our technology, we looked to answer two basic questions: What’s happening in the workplace environment that may cause fatigue or other health risks? And, what ergonomic or worker physicality may also contribute to those same risks?  Within that quest came what I believe to be the secret to unlocking a huge portion of the employee engagement puzzle – we call it MyVoice.

Wearable Technology on worker to track safety

Our wearable device features an easy-to-use push-to-talk button that anyone wearing the armband can use. Much like today’s cellphone voicemail, your actual voice, and a text-based message of the memo, is then sent to whoever is designated. This could be the Shift Supervisor, the Safety Leader, the Plant Manager, or anyone who needs to know what’s happening on the frontlines.

The elegance of this solution is in its simplicity. It doesn’t require an employee to fill out a form, remember to tell a Supervisor at the end of their shift, or even leave their workstation. One intentional push of a button and the voice of the frontline worker can be heard, literally. And it doesn’t even have to be limited to safety.

Of course, noting near misses, identifying potential hazards, or even recognizing good catches are great uses of the technology. But we’ve had customers use our Voice Reporting feature for compliance standards (like ISO, ANSI, or VPP), continuous improvement, quality, maintenance requests, or any detail that an employee might find beneficial. We had one report of an employee noting that the vending machine in the break room was out of Diet Coke. And while that might seem like a small request, in reality, any way we can positively serve our team can lead to higher job satisfaction, drive engagement, and raise the culture.

There is a catch here, however. We do need to respond as leaders to the requests that come in.
We not only wanted to provide a powerful tool to enhance the voice of the frontline, but we also wanted to help the leadership team as well. This is why we developed the MākuSmart platform with a set of built-in management tools to aid in the process.

Besides the vast amount of data our MākuSmart system provides to Safety Leaders, the platform also makes it easy to keep track of voice memos and even allows you to assign a task to a team member to respond to the inquiry or comments. Can you imagine an employee reporting that a machine’s safety shield appears broken, and before they’ve left their post, the memo has been received, assigned to maintenance, and fixed?

Now imagine what that response starts to do across your organization time and time again. It builds trust. And if we go back to those vast resources about culture and engagement? They all say you must build trust.

We believe the first step was providing a resource like the MākuSafe wearable. That says we care about your health and safety. MyVoice, then, is the cherry on top. It takes what can be viewed as just “something for the Safety Team” and makes it a whole company solution that’s easy to use and easy to manage.

Happy employees are productive employees. And at the end of the day, that’s all we’re trying to do, be productive. But let’s do it safely – and add a smile. :) 

If you’d like to learn more about MākuSafe and our safety and productivity solutions, check out our resources page, explore our wearable device, the software platform, and how our Smart Factory integrations can support your efforts.