For the first time in about two decades, workers have begun to feel less safe at work. According to Gallup figures from 2020, the number of employees who report being satisfied with their employers’ safety measures has plummeted by 9%. That’s not what you want if you’re trying to compete in today’s hyper-disrupted market.
When employees don’t feel secure in their workplaces, they experience added stress. And stress can manifest itself in any number of ways from general distraction to lowered productivity. Stress can also take a bite out of employee engagement, which has already fallen per Gallup’s most recent reports.
This makes it essential for you to not only prioritize safety, but explain to workers exactly how and why they are safe on the job. That way, you’ll have a more focused and less anxious staff who can concentrate on doing their best work, not worrying about safety.
How can you communicate the safety practices you’ve put into place? Below are several key ways to ensure that your team members know that you’re putting their needs first.
1. Explain how each new tool you bring into your business promotes safety.
Don’t assume that your employees understand the many ways that a product like a one-way video, two-way audio video intercom system can keep them safer. They may only see this as a handy way to allow clients, vendors, and others to gain access to your building. What they may not realize is that these types of systems give them control over who gains entry into their environment. That’s a huge asset—and one employees need to understand.
Other tools that offer safety can be on the digital side, such as a multi-factor authentication for passwords. Employees may grumble about multi-factor authentication but it’s a good way to keep records safe. The more information you can give to your workers, the more confident they’ll be that you’re shielding them from harm.
2. Talk about safety during regular team meetings.
Rather than treating safety like it’s an elephant in the room, bring it front and center. For example, you may want to add a “safety” section to your regular weekly, biweekly or monthly meetings. Make this the time to bring up safety as it pertains to your company and business.
Encourage your supervisors to do likewise. In some organizations, team leaders like to run through safety drills with their direct supports. While this may not be necessary at your company, it’s an option to help everyone know that safety is worked into your culture and processes.
3. Remember that safety extends to your remote staff.
By the end of 2021, Gallup research indicated that almost half of all full-time U.S.-based workers were remote. Whether you have entirely virtual team members or employees who follow more of a hybrid in-office/out-of-office work model, keep their safety in mind as well. You can’t assume that just because they’re out of sight that their safety is no more a concern.
Remote staff need to know that you’ve put practices in place to keep them protected. You might want to set up a virtual private network (VPN), for instance. A VPN isn’t just a nice way to help telecommuters connect to the Internet. VPNs disguise online activities and encrypt communication flowing between locations. In addition to offering VPNs, you may want to pay for your remote employees’ work devices. As long as the devices are used exclusively for work, they can promote more secure working habits.
4. Stay attuned to any safety gaps in your workplace.
It’s impossible to put safety measures into play if you don’t know where your safety gaps are. Figuring out your safety gaps could be easy or difficult depending upon your workplace. Case in point: If your workers operate machinery in a warehouse setting, you’re probably already working with OSHA to combat unsafe conditions. However, not all safety concerns are immediately apparent.
Taking surveys of your employees to elicit feedback on possible safety issues can give you a wealth of information. You can then take action on the insights that you get from your team members. Let’s say that you hear from workers that they’re worried because your parking lot is very dark when they leave at night. You can respond to those worries by adding more lighting and then communicating that you’ve addressed their concerns. You’ll not only increase safety and awareness but also show you truly care about your employees.
Your team members help keep your business going. They’re the faces of your brand and the engine behind your success. Be sure that you’re taking their safety to heart, and have done everything possible to help them understand that when they’re at work, their protection is a number one priority.