manager leaning against columnHere at Goldtouch, we often emphasize the importance of doing a complete ergonomic evaluation with a world class ergonomist. Doing so will have an enormous impact on employee health, mental well-being, and ultimately, on your company’s bottom line. But what exactly should you look for in an ergonomist? Today we’ll offer a few tips on how to identify Mr. or Mrs. Ergo-Right.

1. They Have a Comprehensive Approach

Whether you have an ergonomic overhaul in mind or you’d like to solve one, sticky problem, the ergonomist for you will have a thorough and comprehensive approach. For a general overhaul, that means they’ll be able to provide you with a proposal that covers absolutely every risk factor, with an extensive ergonomic checklist for each one. For a more specific problem, the proposed solution will still need to be comprehensive. It should consider every risk factor that currently contributes to the problems at hand or may do so in the future. Oftentimes, this means doing an evaluation that uncovers problems you didn’t even realize were an issue.

2. They’re All About Simplicity and Clarity

That said, comprehensive does not necessarily mean complex. Oftentimes the best solutions are simple and streamlined, as ergonomics often makes processes far more efficient. Likewise, your ergonomist’s communication style should also be simple and clear with little jargon. Or, at least, jargon that can be easily and readily explained. At the end of the day, an ergonomic solution will only prove effective if you and every member of your organization actually understands what it is you should be doing. While you may not be able to grasp an ergonomist’s communication style at a deep level until you’ve already engaged them, look for hints in how they communicate in your initial conversations. Are they responsive? Do you understand what they’re saying? If so, move forward.

3. They’ll Get — and Keep — You Going

Ergonomic interventions are only effective if your employees actually know how to use them correctly. To do this, training is a must. Your ergonomist should be willing to hold group training sessions for some skills, and to provide individual fittings and training sessions for others. They might, for example, start by measuring out the correct dimensions for each employee’s workspace and then training the employee on proper posture and on how to use new ergonomic devices like a split keyboard. Ideally, they should also be willing to return at regular intervals to check-in and lead any further training.

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4. They Let Employees Lead the Way

An ergonomist is an expert — one that you’re bringing in for a reason. But ergonomics is all about solving problems at the employee level. As such, it’s not a great sign when an ergonomist comes charging into your office making boisterous proposals without taking the time to talk to employees about the issues they find most pressing. While employees won’t always be able to put a name on what they’re experiencing, a skilled ergonomist will begin by being an excellent diagnostician before they are a problem solver.

And not just that — a great ergonomist will recognize the importance of employee support by helping you set up a long term support program they can provide for each other as they make these changes and stay accountable. In this way, they will put employee buy-in at the center of their efforts.

5.  They’re a Generalist — Or a Specialist

This post may be focused on what an ergonomist can do for you, but this point really hinges on you. As you start searching, try to determine whether or not you’re going to need someone who can solve a wide range of problems, or you’re going to need a specialist. In certain industries, someone may not necessarily need to have the “ergonomist” title as much as they’ll need expert knowledge about how to use a certain piece of equipment. They may also do more general interventions, but it’s still important to know what you need before you begin. To find evidence of this specialized knowledge, take a close look at their CV to ensure they have both academic and onsite experience in the correct field.

6.  They’ve Got Great Reviews

Like any other kind of hiring, it’s always best to go with an ergonomist that’s been referred to you by a trusted source. Barring that, ask your potential ergonomist if you can have the names and contact information of previous clients.

The Takeaway

Giving your company an ergonomic audit is one of the best things you can possibly do for the health of your employees and your company as a whole. With an excellent ergonomist on your side, your company will be more productive, efficient, and innovative. If you’re considering employee an ergonomist, let us know how it all goes in the blog comments!