Even though the benefits of providing a safe working environment may be obvious to you, it doesn’t mean they will be so clear to your employees. Even if they are, it may be that they will be seen as advantages solely for the benefit of company profits.
Of course, this is only half the story. Yes it’s true that better safety at work will help increase morale and reduce staff turnover, and lessen potential for expensive fines and injury settlements – and all this will result in an improving bottom line – but it is also good for individual careers.
In order to see the benefits of a safer working environment, it’s necessary to engender a safety culture.
How not to sell the culture of safety
A natural reflex action to enforced change is to rebel against it. Here are five ways in which you will turn your people off the adoption of a safety culture:
1. Preaching the new culture and forcing it
2. Using scare tactics: people become immune to this very quickly
3. Selling as extra work, on top of current responsibilities
4. Highlighting the negatives: the downside of non-adoption
5. Non-involvement of senior management
Five ways to sell the culture of safety
The only way to create a desire to change the culture of your organisation is to sell the benefits of change to your employees. Here are five things to do to ensure a new safety culture is adopted throughout your organisation and stays in place in the long term:
1. Appeal to self-interests
Let your people discover the benefits that flow through to them. A safer work environment means opportunities for career advancement, lower possibility of costly time of work, and better working hours and conditions.
2. Engage employees from the outset
Seek their views, and ask for ideas and suggestions as to how to improve. Incentivise staff involvement by recognising the best ideas, and be fully inclusive.
3. Provide an internal support structure
Be open to discussion, using team meetings as sounding boards. Incorporate safety as the first point of order in daily processes, and use appropriate language with training opportunities provided.
4. Lead by example
Ensure senior executives in your organisation demonstrate they are committed to the culture of safety, by being involved in its implementation on a daily basis.
5. Provide an external support structure
Using outside expertise helps employees understand the importance you place upon safety. It also provides mentorship and coaching that, while aligned with the needs and aims of the business, is seen as more impartial and ‘on-their-side’ by employees.
The Change Network is Australia’s leading specialist provider of frontline management and safety leadership training to the construction industry. We make construction firms more profitable by:
- Training your people in practical, real-world leadership, communication and negotiation skills. See what construction managers and workers say about our training.
- Onboarding new team members faster, making them more engaged, productive and profitable for the business. Generous government funding available.
- Building a culture of safety in order to support workers, reduce risk and comply with Federal Safety Commission regulations.