The term visual management refers to a way of communicating key messages by using visual signals instead of texts or other written instructions. In risk management, it can be used to integrate deliberate design into a facility, allowing for quick recognition of the information being communicated to a team, for efficiency and clarity.
“Visual management makes information easy to understand, and its implementation enables employees to see the direct impact their work is having on the team and the wider company,” said JoAnna Pallardy, Senior Client Services Manager at Safety National. “This is an important tool for risk managers and how they train their employees. It can also assist in helping co-workers build a stronger connection to their jobs, knowing they are in control of their actions and can see the immediate impact they have on an organization.”
For risk managers seeking a more visual approach to their messaging, these steps can help.
1. Keep it simple.
- Photo, video, and graphics are the primary visual media types to capture a location, moment, memory, or message in a visual form. Using a visual aid tool, like a cursor, highlighter or laser pointer, can also draw attention to the most important parts of the training, picture, or diagram.
- Use appropriate colors, fonts, symbols, and labels to make your visuals easy to read and understand.
Risk management visual media can be misleading or confusing if arbitrary or inconsistent colors are used, it could exaggerate or hide differences and may lack clear definitions or explanations. For example, a risk heat map relies on appropriate design to clarify messaging.
2. Use it to help explain complex aspects of risk.
- Align visuals with your objectives. If you want to influence behaviors by appealing to emotions, you may use images or icons that evoke fear, empathy, or hope.
- Depending on your objectives, you may want to use different types of visuals to emphasize varying aspects of risks, such as probability, severity, uncertainty, or comparison.
- If your audience is unfamiliar with the topic and needs a general overview, you may use more simple and intuitive visuals. If your audience is familiar with the topic and interested in the details, you may use more sophisticated and detailed visuals, such as histograms, scatter plots, or confidence intervals.
Visual aids can help test and refine risk communication, as they can provide feedback and insights on how your message is received and understood. You need to evaluate your visuals before and after you use them and make adjustments as needed.
3. Keep visual media up-to-date and relevant.
- Old visual media methods can alienate one generation, while new visual media styles can confuse or frustrate another. Your signage should be evaluated regularly for its effectiveness, which can be best measured through employee and stakeholder feedback.
- Visual aids should also be replaced or removed if the information is outdated, particularly when it comes to safety guidelines and changing legislation.
More and more companies are choosing to use visual management cues to communicate with their staff, as opposed to relying on written or verbal communication techniques.
For more expertise, guidance or resources on this topic, please contact [email protected].