Workplace Digital Signage: A Scolding Tool?

There is a certain irony in this story from Amazon. Companies everywhere are looking for innovative ways to improve employee engagement. Many turn to visual communication, specifically digital signage, as a great way to capture their employees’ attention and deliver important workplace messages.

In this case, Amazon was using their flat-screen TVs to warn against on-the-job theft by showcasing examples of employees who were fired for stealing. While the individuals were not identified by name, the details of their theft were displayed for all to see. Though that wasn’t the only content playing on the screens, these “termination stories” were what employees were reading.

Clearly this scare tactic let everyone know that theft is serious business to management, and that they were being watched. But is it effective?

The key to any successful workplace digital signage program is to set clear objectives. In a warehouse environment common challenges include:

• Communicating consistently to workers on all shifts
• Improving forklift safety and aisle safety
• Reducing theft in the workplace
• Reinforcing proper lifting techniques
• Avoiding damage of freight
• Stress management
• Conflict resolution
• Health & wellness

If your primary objective for installing digital signage is to reduce theft or accidents, that doesn’t mean that a steady diet of anti-theft or safety messages is going to be successful. In fact, it’ll have the opposite effect because workers will tune it out.

Here are 5 ways to get your employees to look at the screens, learn something and feel good about the company.

1. Mix it up. Include helpful tips on health, wellness and stress management.
2. Make it personal.  Show winners of your safety initiatives. Announce promotions and new hires.
3. Keep their eyes on the numbers.  Use automated counters for safety recordables or days without theft.
4. Invite feedback.  Avoid a steady stream of tops-down messages. Seek feedback, ideas and suggestions and let them know how they can contribute.
5. Don’t lose your sense of humor. Use funny pictures, videos and cartoons to illustrate your messages ̶ and get a few laughs.

Jude Carter
March 22, 2016

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