Wearable Safety Technology: A Human-Centric Approach to Foster Loyalty and Reduce Turnover

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Date publications:

August 04, 2022

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Did you know that as many as 48% of workers are currently seeking or plan to seek a new job in the next three months? In recent years, researchers have found that staff retention rates are plummeting. Once you’ve found them, it is becoming more and more difficult to keep good people. In 2021, only 33% of workers said that they planned to stay in their current roles. A significant drop from the 47% who said the same in 2019.

Addressing turnover starts with a holistic view of people, looking at workers as whole human beings who choose to share just part of their life with the company. In changing our view of workers, it becomes possible to focus on the overall value that we provide to a worker’s daily life. Encouraging us to find ways to build genuine, meaningful relationships that go beyond money for services rendered; adding value to the lives of workers.

It can be extremely disappointing a good worker quits; even more so once you realize the astronomical cost of turnover. Experts estimate that the cost of replacing an individual employee can be as high as 1.5 to 2 times their salary. In 2019, US employers spent $600 billion replacing workers who quit. However,  75% of turnover is preventable. Knowing the cost of turnover and understanding that the majority of it is preventable, it is only fitting that we should be seeking solutions to reduce it. Implementing smart solutions, such as wearable safety technology, to address the preventable causes of turnover can lead to a cost saving of $450 billion each year.

So now you might be asking yourself what the preventable causes of employee turnover are and how wearable safety technology can help. The human factors that influence workers’ decisions to leave can be roughly divided into three broad categories; the work, the environment and the growth potential of the work.

The Work

This is about the nature of the work itself. Companies who provide positions with clear expectations and flexibility whilst minimizing stress and burnout are more likely to retain their staff.

A lack of clarity in roles and position descriptions are frequently mentioned when workers are questioned about their decision to quit. Failure to define clear boundaries for roles often leads to confusion as workers take on more than they can handle, and eventually results in stress and burnout.

Burnout is a pervasive issue. Studies show that 70% of workers suffer from it in their current role. But when it comes to preventing staff turnover, addressing burnout is paramount. In recent research from Deloitte 42% of workers attributed burnout as the reason for leaving their job.

Today workers are more concerned with the flexible nature of work than ever before. With 30% citing a lack of work flexibility as the reason for leaving their job, it’s not surprising that employers who prioritize flexibility are more successful at staff retention.

The Environment

This is about the company culture that surrounds workers. People want to be actively engaged in their work, involved in their team, and recognized for their efforts. They want to work for organizations that genuinely care about them and managers that exhibit empathy.

Research shows that companies who actively engage with and involve their workers have a 43% lower staff turnover rate. Successful businesses implement strategies that build and encourage employee engagement. Fostering a strong mental and emotional connection between workers and their job, team and organization to maximize performance and minimize turnover.

Studies indicate only one in every three workers feel that they are regularly recognized for their achievements at work. Simply by shifting the focus of the work environment to positive reinforcement can go a long way toward reducing turnover.

Building a culture that makes employees feel safe, cared for and respected leads to better retention. Workers who feel that they are valued become champions of loyalty.

The Potential For Growth

This is about investing in the growth and development of workers. People want to work for companies that provide them with opportunities for growth and development whether that be through onboarding, ongoing on-the-job training, external training and development or opportunities for advancement.

With 69% of workers who had a positive onboarding experience being more likely to stay with that organization for at least three years, it is clear to see that onboarding is paramount for building loyalty amongst workers. Ongoing training opportunities can also influence retention. Companies that provide effective, in-depth training have been found to have a 53% lower turnover rate.

The opportunity for growth and development within a role or organization is intrinsically linked to retention. 87% of millennials identified this as the most important factor influencing job satisfaction. 70% of workers from other generations agreed.

Despite the importance, a large proportion of workers say that their current organization does not provide them with growth opportunities. Companies who prioritize the learning and development of their workers have a natural advantage when it comes to fostering loyalty and retaining quality staff.

The Impact of Wearable Safety Tech

Investing in wearable safety technology that delivers on each of the three key areas that influence loyalty is a great, simple strategy for building better retention.

AI-driven wearable technology is shaking things up seeing organizations around the world weaving wearables into their processes. Solutions to assist workers to learn more about their movements, understand them, and help reduce their risk of injury – permanently.

Designed to meet company objectives but built for workers, these small lightweight wearable devices alert of any hazardous movements that could lead to back or shoulder injuries. These alerts improve awareness and reduce the overall risk of injury.  Track progress, complete training modules, analyze data and produce visually appealing reports through mobile apps and centralized dashboards to target and reduce ergonomic risk.

Not only does this technology teach workers to move better, improve safety and reduce injuries but it also ticks all the boxes for building better retention across the board.

Safety wearables aid role clarity by giving workers purpose and direction as they focus on clear, achievable safety goals. Soter Analytics’ technology solutions even have the capability to assist workplaces to build clear descriptions of tasks and job roles through a Job Dictionary.  This cloud-based solution showcases employees’ on the job activities and ergonomic hazards allowing companies to have a comprehensive risk and physical duties overview and hire only the most appropriate candidates for high-demanding roles.

It also reduces the likelihood of burnout, equipping workers with the tools they need to manage their own movement safety. Particularly for workers in physically demanding industries like manufacturing, warehousing or construction, this technology facilitates a deeper understanding of the stresses on the body and improves physicality. Improving a worker’s individual movement sense (or proprioception) can lead to a significant reduction of on-the-job pain, thus removing one of the key factors driving burnout and stress in these physically demanding workplaces.

The powerful AI in these devices can even identify the risks of injury from particular movements due to contributing factors such as fatigue, stress, pre-existing injury or distraction. Machine learning based on algorithms detect the quality of the movement. Even movements that are completed with correct posture may deteriorate in quality over a duration of time and the devices are smart enough to identify these changes.

The safety of any given movement is assessed against a wide range of characteristics including velocity, jerkiness and bend angle. Leading to a holistic, human centric approach that sees workers not only feeling less stressed at work but also outside of work.

Soter Analytics’ wearable safety tech is designed with the end user in mind; in this case the workers. Our devices are built to foster flexibility, not inhibit it. Giving workers the power to have informed conversations with their managers. Through using the Soter device and the insights gained from the data in the personal mobile app, workers become equipped to advocate for themselves and discuss their safety with their managers. A tailored experience unique to each worker that engages them in the process with autonomy to follow and track their own progress, compare results with co-workers, complete in-app manual handling training tutorials at their own time and pace (increasing learning retention) and make sustainable changes to their behavior.

It also provides an opportunity to build a positive work environment where employees genuinely feel like the company cares about their wellbeing. Investing in Soter’s wearable devices will make workers feel like the company is prioritizing their health and wellbeing and taking steps to provide a possible working environment. This will ultimately create a positive workplace environment and culture that will ensure happy, motivated employees unlikely to go looking for other employment.

Mark Douglas, Continuous Improvement and Projects Manager, commented on the recent implementation of Soter Analytics’ wearables at the retail warehouse at Wincanton  in the UK, saying, “We have been really pleased and surprised to find colleagues taking it to heart and doing their best to reduce the vibration and haptic feedback alerts that increase awareness of their unsafe movement postures. Their considerations have been along the lines of I can choose to ignore the warnings, but they are there to give me information to help keep me safe so why would I?”. Bringing this technology into our teams has empowered our workers to tell us about their safety.

AI-driven wearable safety technology facilitates recognition. Providing management with easy to act on metrics that highlight the strengths and achievements of workers. Create a human centric safety culture that champions people and builds confidence. Soter Analytics’ clear data insights will make it really easy for you to identify staff that are performing well and moving safely as well as those who require a little more attention. This can help you to engage with your workers and motivate them through the appropriate rewards and recognition.

Some developers have even incorporated gamification into their safety wearables, making the process even more engaging and genuinely fun.  Dr. Anastasia Vasina, Chief Product Officer at Soter Analytics says, “Why can’t safety be fun? Why is there a stigma around safety being boring and an obligation rather than a continuing game of getting it right? Aligning the value of safety to excitement and using games to motivate, educate and empower a worker’s commitment to safety, is what we are focusing on to drive down injury rates and encourage safe movement”.

Actively encouraging improvement, safety wearables are an investment in the growth and development of workers. Wearables have the power to show a company commitment to workers and their growth. Providing growth opportunities that improves physical health benefits workers at work and at home. It is a commitment to their holistic personal health that adds genuine value and builds loyalty. Investing in these solutions places your organization in a unique advantage with your workers; it shows a genuine commitment to their overall growth and development and places your business at the forefront of employees’ minds when thinking about whether their workplace looks after them or not.

In one simple investment, wearable safety tech addresses the work, the environment and the potential for growth; key underlying factors that influence loyalty. By focusing on worker health and wellbeing, a deeply human need, companies can build meaningful relationships with employees that lead to their long-term retention.

About Soter Analytics

Soter Analytics is a global safety science company producing AI-supported wearable solutions that reduce the risk of ergonomic injuries in the workplace. Soter wearables are widely used in logistics, manufacturing, healthcare and other industries, helping leading companies to prevent up to 55% of back & shoulder musculoskeletal injuries.

To see how Soter Analytics can help you improve safety behaviour, engage employees to self-manage their training and prevent workplace ergonomic injuries, simply Book a FREE Demo today.

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