Monday, November 1, 2010

FNGs and FOGs- Protecting the new employee

There was a time in my distant past when I was on active duty with a branch of our United States military services. There were many important lessons that I had to learn and apply in the combat exercises we practiced on a regular basis. Our personal ability to learn these life and death lessons in many ways determined our ability to graduate from an “FNG” (‘Fantastic’ New Guy) to an FOG, if you will accept the obvious socially correct usage of the “F word.”

Was it luck, learning, application, consistency, focus, skill, intelligence, effort, etc., that lead to surviving long enough to become one of the Old Guys? Probably it was some of each of the above. Now that I am no longer an adrenalin pumped 20 year old (as my papa once told me, “young and stupid”) I see the same parallel in the global world of safety. All our employees start out as FNGs who are at risk.

Numerous safety studies continue to show that new employees experience something like 40-60% of all injuries. As in the military, the FNGs of our organization just “don’t know what they don’t know” and they are greatly at risk because of their lack of experience, knowledge, skills and attitude.

As leaders in safety culture we all need to do whatever it takes to get our FNGs to become FOGs without their acquiring any “Purple Hearts.” With that in mind, what is your company boot camp for new employees?

Do you toss them to the wolves, or is there a carefully thought out engagement and learning process to insure their achieving a zero injury survival and graduation from FNG to FOG? The FNGs typically have high enthusiasm and low knowledge. The FOGs often times exhibit apathy and high knowledge. If our tribe is to be successful we have to pass on the knowledge and improve the attitude at every step in the process.

How do you “on board” the valuable new employees you will need to have your organization excel in the future? Is it an excellent process or a matter of luck?

The Doc

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