Something that QHSE managers sometimes forget about is the value that can be unlocked by simply walking around the workplace. To achieve business improvement you need to know what needs improving.
Often managers within an organisation can isolate themselves from the general employees, this can make them rather disconnected from the day to day operations of the business, be viewed as unapproachable by their staff and be unable to identify problems before they become serious.
Management By Wandering Around (‘MBWA’) is a practice that has been around for years. It is thought to have originated in the 1970s from Hewlett Packard. MBWA is defined as an unstructured and hands on approach to direct participation by managers in the work related affairs of their staff.
A wise manager who wants to be connected and engaged with their staff will benefit from the MBWA approach. It can improve a manager’s understanding of the functions, people and processes that are at work within the business and it can help staff to feel motivated, recognised, inspired and connected.
So how do you do MBWA?
MBWA should be approached in a relaxed and unstructured way to acquire real insights into the day to day operations of the business. Some main points to remember are outlined below.
- Relaxed and Unstructured: By visiting different departments within the business at unscheduled times, the staff will not have time to prepare and do anything differently to how things would normally be done had they not have been anticipating a visit from management. By being relaxed and informal about the process, staff will be more inclined to be open and honest with you about their thoughts and experiences.
- Be Inclusive: Make sure that you do not focus too much on specific staff or departments leaving others feeling left out.
- Less Talking, More Listening: Truly take the time to listen to how the workers feel, acknowledge what they are saying and ask questions about their experiences. Don’t criticise, don’t have an opinion, don’t jump into offering solutions… just listen and then go away and process the information.
- Be Hands On: Take the time and make the effort to truly experience what the workers experience day in day out, don’t just stand behind and observe… get involved.
Executed correctly, MBWA can lead to interesting discoveries about how your workers are feeling, the culture behind the organisation and what motivates your team. This is invaluable to managers with a vested interest in ensuring that their teams are happy and able to effectively carry out their duties in a workplace that is safe and welcoming.
If you are a business owner and you believe your QHSE systems and processes could do with a refresh, contact QSM Group today to see how we can help.