You know the importance of safety – but do you know to motivate all employees to get on board?
You may have tried your luck by dedicating numerous resources to build comprehensive safety programs or have applied best practices to train managers and employees to make safety a priority.
After all efforts and preparation to build a culture of safety, are you seeing the results? Are you able to see a connection between the goals of your safety program and the response from your employees? If yes, then you are off to the right track. But if not, fear not as it is not too late for you to engage your employees in safety.
A disengaged workforce could spell trouble for any company across different. It can also lead to unsafe behaviors on the job. One of the biggest challenges for employers, safety professionals and management is to get the employees to “buy into” the value of workplace safety.
Employees who are not 100% committed to a safety culture are not overly concerned with their work performance. Hence, they are not invested in the future success of your company. All of this negatively affect the day-to-day operations, hinder the growth of the company, and may put worker’s safety at risk.
If this is one of your workplace concerns, you may need to re-evaluate your ways of motivating employees. Here are five ways to engage your employees in safety preparedness.
1. Make safety an important part of your culture
From applicants to long-term employees, they should know that safety is one of the central values of your company. Safety reminders and training should be part of the onboarding processes and annual training for best practices.
In addition, employees should be part of the safety decision-making processes. Allow employees to make suggestions and take part in safety committees.
2. The management team should be champions of safety
The success of the safety programs largely depends on the motivation and support of the management and leadership team. Both teams should set a positive example for the rest. They must abide by the same safety policies that are expected of regular employees.
Most of the time, the management team oversees the ongoing definition and evaluation of the policies. Part of their role is to keep up-to-date on health and safety regulations specific to the business’ industry. Their duties and responsibilities range from planning and preparing drills, developing employee safety programs, to working with safety professionals and consultants to enhance response plans.
3. Remember your Drills
The recommended timeframe to conduct drills company-wide is at least 3 to 6 months. When doing regular drills, review all procedures, roles, and responsibilities of everyone. In that way, everyone is familiar and comfortable with the process.
As the famous line goes, ‘practice makes perfect.’ The more you practice, the more prepare your employees will be when an emergency arises. It is a great idea to practice all different emergency scenarios – like fires, earthquakes, storms, and floods. While doing that, introduce new challenges that may occur in real life, like having a blocked staircase or a power line outage.
4. Allow Employees to Give Feedback
An effective safety program requires an open channel of communication which allows employees to give feedback to the management. If possible, encourage peer-to-peer or team feedback to promote growth and bonding among members. This practice will make them open to changes.
All employees, from the leaderships, regular employees, and newbies are encouraged to talk about their ideas and concerns to boost communication.
After every drill and evaluation, it is a best practice to request feedback to identify areas of concerns, gaps, or suggested ways to improve processes. You can do it anonymously in case others do not feel comfortable discussing it with the supervisors. You can also run polls or a voting system so the rest of the team can choose the best suggestions. Have them participate in providing feedback even on the smallest things. Let them know that nothing will be seen as a ‘crying wolf.’
5. Offer Training
Training should be part of your company’s safety programs, specifically about your policies and procedures that encourage engagement.
According to Laban Jodges, a workplace safety expert, ‘Businesses and organisation should up their employee training to boost overall safety culture and enhance training programs. Safety training should include training new and existing employees on work practices, equipment changes, and adapting to new technology.
One of the most beneficial training you can provide your employees is First Aid Training.
First Aid Training helps improve overall workplace safety, prevent workplace accidents and limit their severity when they do occur. Employees who are trained in first aid procedure and safety protocols are more of the issues and risks around you. Your increased level of awareness pushes you to be more careful in the workplace. It allows you to spot problems before they can take a turn for the worse.
Regular first aid training will hold the entire workforce accountable for upholding safety practices. As a result, employees will have a morale boost and will be happier knowing their workplace is a safe place for them to be.
‘Happier workers are more productive workers.’
And lastly, do not forget to thank your employees. Giving your thanks to their participation and effort is a great way to bring safety culture back to life. Recognise those who embody your policies and those who go above and beyond to make a difference to the safety and wellbeing of your organization. A small ‘thank you’ note, coffee treats, celebratory lunches, and having a recognition wall can go a long way.
The safety and wellbeing of your employees are your priority. The most effective way to maintain best practices across your organization is to ensure your staff is fully engaged, committed, and personally motivated. We hope these 5 ways will engage your employees in safety and personal preparedness.