Nov. 5, 2014 is the 20th annual Take Our Kids to Work Day in Canada. Created by The Learning Partnership, the program supports career development by helping students connect school, the world of work and their own futures.
For safety professionals, this day is a chance to begin stressing the importance of safety on the job to the workers of the future. After all, young workers are especially vulnerable to injury on the job. So emphasizing now their safety duties and rights may encourage them take workplace safety more seriously when they later get their first jobs.
If you let workers bring their children to work for the day, require the workers and their kids to sign a consent form. And to evaluate the success of your program, get feedback from the participating kids with this survey. (If you’re not participating in this event this year, give serious thought to doing so in 2015.)
The Learning Partnership has many resources you can use so that all participants get the most out of this day, such as posters, guides and certificates of participation.
And don’t forget that while the kids are in your workplace, treat them like any other visitor to the premises and take reasonable steps to ensure their health and safety, such as by giving them a safety orientation.
Here are some other tips for making this day a success:
- Use new, young workers where possible—students can relate better to them.
- Think about what your company does well or is known for (such as an excellent wellness program for employees, an “open concept” workspace, an effective safety mentor program, etc.) and consider sharing these successes.
- If you want to ensure the next generation of workers is ready for the working world, this day is a great opportunity to “educate” students about today’s workplace needs and expectations. For example, think about and stress the attitudes, skills and behaviours you expect from new, young employees (positive attitude, team work skills, organizational skills, responsibility, etc.).
- Consider providing a one-page handout about your workplace.
- What are your social media and electronic device policies? Students would benefit from hearing about them. Ask students to refrain from using cell phones except at breaks and lunch. They need to learn about appropriate usage on the job now.
- If you have flexibility, plan your day from 9 to 4. Students will get tired by afternoon as they’re used to a certain schedule.
- Hungry students have trouble paying attention. So plan to include meal and/or snack breaks.
- Don’t be afraid to encourage positive behaviours and correct negative ones, especially if you can connect it to the workplace.
- Give a global perspective. Can you help students understand how you connect to the global marketplace? Do you do business with different countries? Speak different languages in the workplace?