As a business specializing in sourcing safety staff, we are pretty good at identifying a prospective employee’s hard skills, practical experience and formal education. A resume, a few interviews and some reference checks provide substantial insight into basic competency for a given safety professional.
The real challenge in sourcing employees who possess the total package of Safety Professional skills is evaluating their soft skills competencies.
89% of respondents to a 2019 LinkedIn Global Talent Trends survey reported that bad hires were a result of lacking soft skills.
Our experience in maintaining a high level of client satisfaction with safety staff echoes the LinkedIn survey results. Problems on projects regarding the Safety Professional’s skills are rarely related to a lack of core safety skills competency, but nearly always tied to a break down in the soft skill arena.
It is common for an industrial or commercial project requiring safety support to include a variety of trades and associated contractors working the job at the same time. The Safety Professional’s skills that have the greatest impact on project success are those that influence the many contractors in a positive way; effectively maintaining a safe workplace while minimizing conflicts and tension.
4 Safety Professional Skills Critical for Project Success
Communication skills lay the foundation for all the other soft skills. Active listening and the ability to articulate concepts clearly are critical to a Safety Professional’s success in effectively collaborating with other employees on a job site. We strongly recommend a substantial portion of the evaluation of prospective Safety Professionals for your project include both their ability to actively listen and their ability to verbalize abstract concepts.
Safety Professional Soft Skills must include the ability to effectively collaborate. Few things will turn a job south faster than a “lone wolf” Safety Professional who develops a combative relationship with your tradesman or supervision on site. Evaluating a candidate’s disposition for effective collaboration can be tricky as everyone is putting on their best face for an interview process. Role playing through example situations and looking for longevity in prior assignments are two helpful techniques.
Creativity is necessary when it comes to effective problem solving. A deficiency of creativity in Safety Professional skills often results in rigidity; the stiff law enforcer rather than the security and safety consultant. All interviews should include specific questioning and role play to allow a candidate to demonstrate their ability to see obstacles and devise creative responses in real time.
For the sake of this post, adaptability is synonymous with flexibility. Adaptability and flexibility describe a Safety Professional’s skill with being able to effectively apply their knowledge through changing circumstances and remaining engaged. While creativity is more of an innate capability; adaptability is more of a “want to” criteria. An effective Safety Professional will have a service mentality that demonstrates that they want to provide quality support no matter the circumstances or challenges. Past performance is the best indicator of how flexible an employee is likely to be in the future so careful review of past work roles and feedback from references can be helpful assessing a candidates adaptability for your project.
Why Pay Attention to Soft Skills for Safety Professionals?
The 4 Safety Professional Skills Critical for Project Success described here often end up falling in priority as project start dates compress the hiring timeline. Hiring managers often feel they need the basic hard skills most so may be willing to make an offer to a candidate without thorough vetting for the soft skills.
Don’t do it…
The best way to evaluate a Safety Professional skill set is through personal experience on the job. The next best way is to include specific questioning, roles plays and criteria for measuring critical soft skills throughout your hiring process.
Elevate the priority of the soft skills described to improve your project safety and reduce turnover resulting from bad hires.
ResponsAble’s Safety Staffing Services
Struggling to find qualified safety professionals for a contracted or direct hire position? As expert safety recruiters, we help you get the job done. ResponsAble is the safety recruiting company that helps you find the right people with the necessary skills to effectively and safely complete the job. Big or small, temporary or permanent. For more information, please submit a contact form here.