EHS professionals spend a lot of time managing the complex web of compliance-regulated activities and various tracking and reporting requirements. These demands occasionally divert attention from one of their primary roles: to improve the safety and health of their workforce. One way to increase effectiveness in this area is to make sure all employees are engaged in their own safety and wellness, as well as that of their co-workers.
Much has been written about employee engagement in this area, but here are a few tips/reminders as you create or refine your 2018 safety plan:
Emphasize why it’s important
It’s easy to come into a new year with a little bit of complacency. There was likely a big push to end the prior year strong and the laser-focus required to do this can result in some New Year fatigue. Now is an ideal time to remind your employees of why their safety and well-being are important to you, their co-workers and their friends and family.
- Integrate role-playing into your online training where possible to help make the training come alive in your work setting.
- Share testimonials from others, including fellow employees and in-house experts, on the importance of a safe work environment.
- Encourage employees to browse a few new courses or learn a new part of your safety process, beyond their mandatory training, so they can learn, share and develop their skills.
Encourage the behavior
Don’t just use the stick associated with “mandatory’” training. Share the investment management has made in safety and training, and remind your employees that their safety training benefits them at home and in their community as well as within the workplace:
- Send out emails and newsletters that highlight successes of your safety program and new training courses available.
- Offer a series of online training modules relevant to your employees’ career development goals so they can see the personal enrichment.
- Be the change you want to see by engaging in the behaviors shared in item #1.
- Reward employees for sharing what they have learned with others in the organization in formal and informal settings.
Provide opportunity for feedback
Ask your employees about the types of skills they want to develop and the certifications they may be interested in acquiring. Help them select the training to meet these goals; when it comes time to provide that training, you’ve incentivized them to participate by giving them a voice in the process.
Gathering feedback on tools that are working well, as well as those that need improvement, gives employees ownership in the results and sets you on track for an improved and sustainable safety and wellness record.
In a strong safety culture, everyone wins
When everyone is engaged with safety, everyone benefits, whether that’s the employees, managers, senior leadership or even a company’s stockholders and investors. Strong levels of engagement with a robust safety culture contributes to a better work product, increased productivity, improved morale and higher levels of retention of top performers.