Employee engagement is the holy grail when it comes to building a strong culture of safety that keeps employees healthy and drives operational excellence. And like the holy grail, it’s unbelievably valuable and (almost) impossible to find.
Perhaps this is because the solution is not as obvious as it seems. In the quest to prevent injuries and ensure that employees are safe and healthy, it’s easy to focus on the physical aspects such as safety equipment, policies and training. It’s much harder to focus on psychological aspects like the behavior, motivation, and mindset that are vital in individuals who want to create long term safety habits.
“Safety is not a gadget but a state of mind.” – Eleanor Everet
In order to change anyone’s behavior, you need to change their mindset and, according to the experts, the best way for a company to do this is through corporate culture. It’s when policy becomes ingrained in corporate culture, that we see real change.
3 things companies with long-term engagement in safety have in common
Over the years, our team has worked with thousands of energy and utility employees and companies that have been working diligently to build strong safety cultures. The companies that are most successful, all have these three traits in common: their safety programs are rooted in science, their content is relevant and personalized, and they present their content in a unique and engaging way.
1. Their programs are rooted in science and industry best practice
In order for employees and their managers to stay engaged in safety, they must feel confident in the validity of the education provided and processes followed. It’s a challenge for busy safety leaders to keep up with the latest data and insights, but it is critical to ensure that your employees have access to the best, most recent science. The CSRA is a helpful source of up-to-date information and best practices.
2. Their programs are relevant and personalized
We have seen that people remain engaged when they understand the benefits behind what they’re being asked to do. For example, when they know that injury prevention not only keeps them safe at work but also improves their lives at home, enabling them to enjoy hobbies and live an active life for longer.
We have also seen that safety is more effective when the content is tailored to various job roles and their unique risks. For example, the injuries experienced by a solar technician would differ from those experienced by a gas technician.
It’s not just the content that needs to be personalized. The best companies also give their employees a choice of format because they understand that people learn differently. Some people prefer to read instructions, some find visuals and videos more effective, and others want face-to-training. The more options on offer, the greater your chances of successful engagement.
3. They present safety in a unique and engaging way
Let’s face it, safety can be viewed as a dry topic. It’s usually the same old thing, presented in the same old way.
We have seen that the top companies aren’t afraid to use technology, gamification and micro-learning for a fresh and engaging take on presenting and sharing health and safety content.
Our customers give their employees access to an online or app-based library of safety content in various formats, including short, on-demand videos that are job and task specific (we call this micro-content, and it’s very effective). Some even create a reward program to encourage employees to compete with each other for the top spot as safety champion. This has proven to be a great way to boost morale and embed safety into company culture.
Conclusion: Create a safety program that your employees can trust and embrace
By implementing some of the above examples, your company can easily create a long-term culture of safety that drives operational excellence. The key lies in finding the right safety partner to help you offer cutting-edge science in an engaging manner.
If you are interested in learning more about the examples we mentioned in this article, or how Vimocity helps utility and energy companies to transform their safety programs into sustainable, long-term centers of operational excellence, then please get in touch.
Vimocity is the employee-embraced health & safety solution that’s proven to reduce injuries and away days. We do it by making Olympic-level movement science accessible to everyone, in a manner that is relevant to their lives, both at work and at home.