Among the most common concerns of safety professionals today is the best way to keep employees motivated when it comes to safety. Even when you understand the importance of safety, it can be difficult to encourage employees to get on board with your safety efforts. If you are still seeing a lack of buy-in from employees on your safety program, it may be time to re-evaluate your approach. Take a look at the following best practices for ideas on how to motivate your employees to become more committed and enthusiastic about your safety practices.
Include Safety as an Important Element in Your Culture
From the moment prospective candidates arrive for an interview, it should be crystal clear that safety is a core value in your organization. You can do this by including safety training and reminders in the onboarding process. It takes more than just teaching employees about safety in their early days in your organization to keep them committed, however. Make a point of reminding your employees about the importance of safety by introducing a safety topic on a daily basis. This will keep safety at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
Engage Employees with a Leadership-Down Approach
It can often be difficult for employees to remain motivated to follow safety programs when they do not see buy-in from their leadership. To avoid this problem, make sure your leadership team is also committed to setting a positive example for everyone. Not only should leaders be held accountable for following the same practices expected of their employees, but it’s also a good idea for leaders to set aside time to encourage feedback from employees.
Use Positive Reinforcement
When it comes to encouraging employees to follow safety programs, positive reinforcement can go a long way. With this strategy, you are encouraging employees to repeat desired behavior by offering positive consequences for said behavior. Studies have shown that employee satisfaction tends to rise when employees feel as though they are appreciated by management and actually making a difference. Consider this for a moment. If employees feel as though following safety protocols makes no difference whatsoever, are they likely to follow those protocols? By comparison, when employees understand that following safety practices makes a significant difference in keeping everyone safe and that their actions are appreciated by management, they will be much more likely to follow safety programs.
With that said, it’s also important to ensure that safety mishaps are not ignored. Unfortunately, there is sometimes a tendency to simply sweep minor mishaps under the rug. This can be detrimental when you are trying to encourage employee buy-in to a safety program. It is essential for organizational leadership to be diligent when it comes to addressing safety issues. These issues should be addressed as opportunities for learning on everyone’s part.
Encourage Employees to Feel Ownership of Safety Programs
Employees are naturally more likely to be motivated and committed to safety programs when they play a role in those programs. This can be accomplished by reminding staff that their commitment to safety practices makes a difference in terms of not only themselves but also their co-workers and the workplace as a whole. Providing employees with a variety of avenues for offering feedback on their safety program is another great way to encourage buy-in and motivation. Organizations can also give safety incentives by allowing employees to serve on problem-solving committees and even conduct safety evaluations.
Actually Put Employee Feedback to Work When Assessing Safety Programs
When requesting employees to give feedback on safety issues, it’s crucial that you use that information to reassess the effectiveness of your program. After all, front-line employees can often give valuable information that can help your organization to improve safety practices. Furthermore, employees need to see that their feedback and opinions matter. Make a point to act on feedback in a timely manner and let employees know that their participation is appreciated.
Ultimately, employees must be committed and motivated for your organization’s safety program to work. By ensuring new employees know from the beginning that safety is a priority at your organizational culture, using positive reinforcement to let employees know they are appreciated, and listening to their ideas, you will be able to make your workplace more compliant and safer for everyone.