Home Roundtable Monthly Challenges AUGUST 2018 LISTENING CHALLENGE Reply To: AUGUST 2018 LISTENING CHALLENGE

  • James Flawith

    September 28, 2018 at 6:07 am

    It’s hard to hear on our job site. In order to be heard, people used to end up shouting. When you’re shouting to be heard and the other person doesn’t hear you, something odd happens. You get angry with that person. It sounds ridiculous, but I’ve seen it enough times first hand to know it’s “a thing.”

    I have a section on our monthly worker assessments where I asked each employee if they find anything frustrating or difficult at work. One of the guys wrote a comment like, “it’s hard to hear each other, we should chip in and get radios or something.”

    When I read that the light bulb went off. This was the answer. I searched far and wide to find a communication system for tree work and wound up using a telecommunication company to help set us up with a radio system for our company.

    We started using the communication system and we all noticed an immediate improvement in communication, reduced noise/yelling, less anger/frustration and increased precision with the work. It’s been 2 years since we incorporated this system and have recently tested a newer Bluetooth system which is lighter, more streamlined and uses noise dampening (which means we can now communicate when in near proximity to high noise levels – like when running a chainsaw or working at the chipper). The incorporation of the Bluetooth test is also a result of listening. When workers weren’t wearing their radio packs I asked, “why?” and found out the backpacks we used to hold the radios weren’t comfortable (something I knew from experience).

    The Bluetooth has a couple drawbacks (it only allows 4 of us to talk instead of being on an open channel) and durability is still unknown. I’m not as concerned about that as I am with providing myself and my employees with a safe, professional culture that isn’t scared to listen to its people.