Knowledge

When Implementing Wearable Technology, Your Employees Come First

After countless deployments, we’ve crafted a three-tiered approach built on respect, transparency, data control — and fun

The world of industrial safety is tricky. All businesses purport that safety is a top priority, often smattering safety posters on every available surface and seemingly always working on new safety initiatives. But while these organizations work so hard to maintain safety, it can often feel like it’s just for show — and that can leave associates feeling misled and uncared for. 

The organizations that we work with do things a bit differently. First, by virtue of the fact that they’re investing in wearable safety technology, they’re putting their money where their mouth is and actually displaying a real care for their associates, or Industrial Athletes. They practice what they preach . Now those safety posters don’t seem to be as hollow. 

The Industrial Athletes we work with are well-versed in bullshit and can smell it a mile away.


Even with organizations that are truly “safety-first,” that are earnestly investing in the safety of their employees, associates can still feel jaded and distrustful of both management’s true intentions and of any new technology itself. 

That’s understandable. Working 30 years on the job only for a tech company to come in and look for ways you could be doing better is apt to ruffle a few feathers. Certainly, without proper communication and buy-in, carelessly deploying this technology into the field would be a sure-fire way to ensure that it won’t be accepted and widely adopted. 

That’s where our expertise and consultative approach come into play. 

StrongArm Tech is the most experienced safety wearables provider in dealing with Industrial Athlete concerns, having worked with tens of thousands of such workers across hundreds of facilities  and dozens of clients. This experience means we’ve seen it all: from eager innovative safety cultures ready to adopt the tech on day one, to longstanding union shops that will battle for every inch of ground. 

In these dealings, we’ve come up with a three-tiered approach we’ve seen succeed time and time again.


RESPECT

The first facet of dealing with any potential pushback is respect. 

It may seem trivial, perhaps even painfully obvious, but the Industrial Athletes we work with are well-versed in bullshit and can smell it a mile away.

If you try this approach – if you aren’t upfront about the program and its benefits, and its challenges from the beginning – you will be found out, and the trust will be lost. 

Respect means that we want to engage in a meaningful discussion with our Athletes early and often. When able, we’ll visit a facility and often work into the early hours of the morning to ensure that we speak directly to each Athlete involved in the program on a personal level. In a remote deployment scenario, more often than not we’ll have a virtual meeting with the Athletes to open up a dialogue. 

Respect means more than just listening. It means working to fully understand the concerns and hesitations of all Athletes. Why might they not want to participate in the program? Is there an obvious explanation that will help ease some of their concerns? Are they being difficult, or are they just looking to be heard?

Whatever the root cause, ensuring that we are available to converse, and further, that we are open to feedback and a healthy dialogue sets us up on the right foot to help ease concerns and ensure productive and consistent buy-in to the program. 

Some Athletes just want to be listened to - they want to feel heard. Some want to dig deep into the tech and pepper folks with questions. Back and forth conversation is healthy in a normal, respectful relationship, and that’s the attitude we bring when dealing with Athlete adoption. 

TRANSPARENCY

That leads to the next important piece of the puzzle – transparency. Now, we won’t be giving up any company secrets, but we work as hard as we can to give the Athletes as much information as possible to help them feel more comfortable with the technology. 

Industrial Athletes crave and are entitled to a deeper understanding of what it is they’re being asked to do, why they’re being asked to do it, and what the value in it is. 


If your associates are asked to wear a device and are not given any further information on the specifics, do you think they’d do so willingly and with a smile? Of course not! They crave and are entitled to a deeper understanding of what it is they’re being asked to do, why they’re being asked to do it, and what the value in it is.

We provide all Athletes a list of all components in our sensors and what their purpose is. We talk at length with them and their managers about the type of data we collect, but more importantly, about the type of data we DON’T collect – no GPS, no camera, no microphone. We want it to be abundantly clear that our technology is used for their benefit, for their safety, and never punitively. 

Frequently we’ll encounter pushback from union shops when they aren’t entirely sure of what it is that is being asked of their members. They’re suspicious of a new “tracking” technology and they are rightfully asking probing questions. More often than not, once we sit down with leadership and explain our technology and our intentions in detail, we get the buy-in we’re looking for. 

Our technology is not Big Brother, but rather a Guardian Angel. 


DATA CONTROL

Nowadays data is everywhere, and everything is data. It’s the currency of the 21st century and to be mindful about the data that you expose to the world is the responsible and necessary thing to do. Data can be highly personal, and as we become more aware and increasingly comfortable with the amount of data collected on us every day, it’s only natural that Athletes would question what we do with – and how we protect – their data.

          Related Article: Data Privacy and COVID: 4 Pillars for a Safer Workforce


At StrongArm, we take data privacy and security extremely seriously. This is why we are ISO 27001 compliant – a designation and certification usually reserved for companies many times larger than our own. The certification is a stamp of approval from the International Standards Organization that we’ve taken every possible step to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of our data.

With our presence in California, we are CCPA compliant, providing transparency to clients about their data usage when requested. Further, we are GDPR compliant, which upholds us to a European Union standard that we’ve voluntarily adopted to ensure that we’re able to de-identify, anonymize, and remove individual data should it be requested.

What’s more, we’ve gone so far as to create the StrongArm Safety Pledge … 

Suffice to say, the data we collect is stringently monitored, and access to that data is controlled by StrongArm to ensure proper controls are being put in place for protection of our customers’ data.

Athletes participating in a StrongArm program can rest easy knowing that we treat their data with the utmost care and integrity. 


+++++


By treating our Industrial Athletes with respect, ensuring transparency, and maintaining stringent controls on our data, StrongArm continues to have success in rolling out our technology to even the most conservative of individuals. Further, in working with StrongArm you’ll have a partner to help ensure that your Athletes are just as interested in and excited about the program on day 100 as they were on day 1. 

Your associates will feel comfortable with our platform, embrace a new technology, and ultimately be more likely to return home safe after every shift.


AUTHOR PROFILE

Jack McCormack | Director, Clients @ StrongArm Tech

This is some text inside of a div block.

Jack McCormack is StrongArm’s veteran director of clients. He’s been on warehouse floors from coast to coast and has the stories to prove it. Want to say hi? Shoot him an email, here.