Making positive organizational changes to your safety culture starts at the top. Still, it can be difficult to notice your areas of opportunity with other business priorities being top of mind. Often this balancing act is not apparent to everyone within the organization, but frontline employees and supervisors notice it first because it shapes their behaviors and priorities when it comes to workplace practices.
“It is common to find organizations that are struggling with this balancing act,” said Maryann Hoff, Senior Risk Control Manager for Safety National. “Safety is part of the equation and valued, but business goals, quality and production often outweigh it.” So how do you maintain the dedication to safety within your organization and lead with passion? These five tenants (C.A.R.E.S.) are essential to impacting your safety culture, and ultimately, your bottom line.
Is safety a core value of your organization? Is it being applied to all levels of your organization? When it is intrinsic to business operations and goals, comprehensive and central to all day-to-day activities, and communicated to all members of the company, it defines who we are as a business. In addition, making safety a priority for how a business operates sets a standard for other safety leaders in the community and industry.
When employees are taking ownership and responsibility for overall safety, everyone is accountable. In this regard, the blame is not placed on one individual or group, and the focus is on finding solutions that impact everyone. Additionally, accountability in the workplace includes measuring and evaluating performance in everyday safety practices.
When responsiveness is valued, feedback is shared and received in all directions, and employees are heard. Information is evaluated, and data is acted upon to make timely changes within an organization. When employees feel listened to and leaders set new expectations, it becomes much easier to encourage safety in the workplace.
Engaged employees are more likely to feel empowered to create a positive safety culture. They are also more likely to take the initiative to recognize or correct issues or hazards they see in the workplace because they feel they can make a considerable change.
This collaborative effort throughout the entire organization includes identifying ways to work towards a common safety goal. A synergistic workforce allows for employees to speak freely and trust leaders to use their ideas to create a safer workplace.
Remember that change must start from the top of the company but ultimately must include buy-in on all levels to be significant. Start with an evaluation of your company’s priorities and see where safety fits. If it is not at the top of your list and feels like an afterthought, encourage employees to provide feedback since they witness areas of opportunity through day-to-day operations. Prioritizing these tenants could rebalance safety within the structure of your organizational goals and impact the level of commitment that all employees feel towards driving a positive safety culture.