My name is Thomas Towner, and I am learning how to be an influencer. But not the kind you may be familiar with. In this day and age, there are lots of types of influencers out there, most of them involving social media. Of course, we are also using social media, and yes, it may involve some of the products we sell (insert information on a Strongweld Defender TM here). But our larger goal is to help people. This includes our customers and our employees.
At FDC, we believe in building relationships with our customers and our employees to strengthen what we have here. We interact as family, because that’s what we are. If you’re here, you’re family… or whatever that Italian restaurant said. So it’s only natural for me to want to help my family here in whatever way I can. I wish to ensure not only our company’s success, but also to upkeep the positive atmosphere we have built here.
Of course, that means I want to keep everyone safe and healthy. This is where the influencer idea comes in. The definition of influencer in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “one who exerts influence : a person who inspires or guides the actions of others.” My hopes are that I can help influence my coworkers to think safely and hopefully promote some positivity in their own lives. Their health and well-being are my top priority, so if I can contribute something to their staying safe and happy, then I will, in return, feel an immense sense of accomplishment.
A little bit about myself: the boring stuff
Before moving to Florida in December 2022, I was working for a warehousing company that handled a few larger restaurant chains. I was responsible for loading the products onto the trucks there. It was a fast-paced, manual labor type job that taught me a lot about hard work and helped me develop some more skills. Within the first year of being there, I had won an MVP of the Month award, and six months later, I had won it for the year. I did very well there with the assistance of my coworkers and supervisors, but needed a large change.
As you can imagine, in that type of environment, safety is a huge deal. There were at least 15–30 people operating in the warehouse at all times. There were lots of fast-moving forklifts, electric riding jacks, and people running around looking for the products they needed. Not to mention, heavy products weighing upwards of 100 lbs at times. So keeping the staff injury-free is quite an undertaking.
The way they went about it was much like we do here, but on a larger scale due to it being a corporate warehouse with lots of employees receiving the training. When I first started, they didn’t have an assigned safety administrator, but after about a year or so, there was a gentleman who started coming around and giving us all the material to go over and sign-off on. He would randomly approach us at least once a week and ask us all individually if we had any questions about the materials given, ask what we thought about the topic, and sometimes quiz us on what we needed to remember.
This was my first “safety in the workplace” experience that I had had in my working career, and I excelled at it there. I always remembered the material taught to me, and in the 6 years I worked there, I had one injury that did not result in the loss of work. From there on, I always thought it would be interesting to pursue a career in some sort of safety position, but never thought it would come together. I especially never predicted I’d be writing an article about how to be an influencer.
Now, I can proudly say that I have taken on this responsibility here at FDC. I have so much to learn, but I’m lucky to have a group of experienced individuals in our corner here to help teach me. I’m both excited and grateful for this opportunity to grow.
Learning How to Be an Influencer
So how do we help influence our coworkers to work safely and keep them happy? There are many ways to accomplish this, which we will explore below. If you are reading this as an employee, I want to remind you that we are always open to any suggestions you may have. If you have a contribution of some sort to add to how we handle building a safe culture, our doors are always open. This is how to be an influencer:
• Leading by example helps show fellow employees that taking the extra steps to make sure you are working safely can be easily done. When fellow employees see this, they are more likely to follow suit.
• Clear communication can be another tool for influencing safe behavior. Making sure all employees understand their roles clearly and that all safety protocols are communicated effectively.
• Training and education can help influence safety by ensuring everyone is properly trained and aware of what their job entails.
• Safety meetings are a great way to interact with your co-workers and get their insight on whatever topics you may be discussing. Having meetings regularly can also give you ideas on what problems may be occurring and how to solve them.
• Safety culture means everyone sharing safety as a value and not as a set of rules. This makes it easier to discuss openly without fear of retaliation and lets everyone feel safe in their work environment.
• Create a supportive work environment by fostering a workplace culture that values the employee’s perspectives and well-being.
• Open communication is key to promoting a positive work culture. Letting your co-workers know that they can always come to you when they are struggling with something can help everyone. This way, they feel more relaxed and at home in the workplace.
• Work-life balance is also very important for promoting a positive culture. Showing your employees that you care about how life goes outside of work boosts morale and shows you see them as family.
• Recognition and appreciation can go a long way toward boosting positivity in the workplace. When people receive positive recognition, it can make them feel accomplished and happy. When they feel appreciated for the work they do, chances are they’ll go above and beyond.
• Professional development can show that you care about your employees’ futures and that you want to invest time in them to help them grow. This can boost morale greatly and is another way to make them feel appreciated.
With all of these ideas in mind, I hope to accomplish a lot here by helping our company grow and thrive. FDC has a great family culture already, but there is always room for improvement. My hopes are to contribute to that improvement every day. There is never a limit to how much we can hope to improve, and there never will be. As always, my door is open, and I look forward to the work ahead.