From the first prehistoric hunter to employ someone as saber-toothed tiger bait to today’s modern leadership issues, we have learned two big lessons.
- Employee safety has clearly (and mercifully) become more important.
- People who don’t like their job probably don’t do a very good job.
According to Evolve Performance Group, a spin-off organization of Gallup that conducts employee surveys and turns the data into safety-focused solutions, employees who are engaged on the job and respect their leaders are 48% safer than those who don’t.1
This brings to light three important things to consider
- Safety leaders need personal influence skills so they can consistently engage employees. If you don’t know how to get people to believe, it doesn’t matter what you say.
- Unhappy workers on a dangerous mission make kind of a bad combination. Any undercurrent of dissatisfaction can make employees less attentive to safety policy and less focused on the job in general. One way to rectify this is through high-quality employee surveys that ask the right questions and are easy to comprehend. Close analysis of responses will shed light on ways you can understand and improve your employees’ level of engagement.
- Safety training must be more than just informative and comprehensive. It must also ensure that employees feel valuable and understand how they contribute to the organization’s overall success. When was the last time you were eager to learn that you’re not very good at something…and possibly irrelevant?
You shouldn’t need any research to tell you that injured or dead employees are almost never productive! It comes down to a dangerous truth: It is very easy to focus on the wrong things, inadvertently creating more danger than naturally exists. Without knowing current employee opinions, and without the leadership skills to create a sustainable culture, we can invalidate the workforce and prevent buy-in. That will, unfortunately, lead to reduced awareness on the job site. After all, if I think my boss doesn’t care how I feel and if I consider the safety program to be unclear and condescending, why am I still paying attention? To put it in less direct terms, employee engagement is the foundation on which all safety initiatives should be built.
Without influential leaders focused on making employees feel valuable, the best safety programs don’t stand a chance. The core of safety lives within your people, not in your plans, programs, or ideas. This is really good news-it means that when your managers and supervisors take the credit for the company’s safety success, they’ll actually deserve it!
1 Evolve Performance Group. “The Case for Engagement.” Employee Engagement Resources, 26 February 2016. Available at http://evolvepg.com/About/Whats-Evolving/ArticleID/36/The-Case-for-Engagement.