1. Identify your stakeholders
Selecting new protective clothing isn’t something you can do by yourself—it’s a collaborative effort. That’s why it’s crucial to identify all the key players who need to be involved and invite them to collaborate early on. From your own Health & Safety department, to the Purchasing and Management teams, to the employees on the workfloor who’ll ultimately be wearing the new garments. Depending on where you’re located, perhaps you’ll even invite your local union to get involved. A diverse, cross-functional group of stakeholders will help keep everyone’s interests balanced, and establish a higher degree of buy-in.
HOW READY ARE YOU?
Take the Pre-Tender Protective Workwear Quiz to find out what you’re missing before you start your selection process.
2. Investigate their motivation
You have one common goal, but your stakeholders have many different values. The key is to get to the heart of what motivates each stakeholder. Purchasing, for instance, will be motivated by staying on-budget and keeping an eye on the bottom line. Logistics will care about whether or not the supply chain is able to deliver quickly. Some stakeholders will want to prioritize comfortable garments, while others will want the most impressive technical specs, or the most durable options to withstand frequent laundering. If you can help your stakeholders understand why this project matters to them, you’ll get and keep their buy-in.
3. Define your process
4. Unleash ownership
5. Don’t forget the most important stakeholder of all
That’s right, the wearer! It’s easy to get caught up in all the moving parts of the tender process and forget why you’re selecting protective clothing in the first place — to protect your workers. They’re the ones who’ll be wearing the new protective clothing, after all, so it’s essential to consider them important stakeholders. The success of your tender is ultimately determined by the wearer’s experience, so be sure to get their buy-in by asking for their input.
Before you draft your tender, ask your workers what they think about their current protective clothing. During the selection process, perform a wear trial to validate their experience of the new garment options: does the fabric breathe? Does it absorb sweat? Is it light enough to be able to move around freely? Is it comfortable? “Comfort” means something different to everyone, so take the time to hear all of your workers out. Getting wearer buy-in every step of the way not only results in a more successful tender, but a stronger safety culture long-term.
6. Never stop educating
Protective clothing may be low on the priority list for some of your stakeholders, making it a challenge for you to engage them and get their buy-in during your tender process. Here’s where long-term safety education comes in. Take every opportunity to keep safety top of mind for your stakeholders, at all times! Keep them up to date on why protective clothing is so important for your company’s success, and why their specific role is essential in the bigger picture of your company’s safety culture. This will help ensure their buy-in and collaboration when you need it most, during your protective clothing selection process.
Take the time to listen
At the end of the day, you simply can’t afford to start your protective clothing tender without buy-in from your stakeholders. Choosing a new protective clothing solution is a collaborative effort, so it’s crucial you do everything you can to engage all your stakeholders, all the way from management to the workers who’ll wear the new garments. Getting buy-in from everyone involved in the process can feel like a puzzle, but balancing all the different interests at play will ultimately help you make the best decision together.