We know that a happy workforce is a productive one – that's nothing new. As we prepare to enter 2020, staff engagement practices are at an all-time high. We see many companies taking steps to lead the way in staff engagement and staff well-being.
So, does keeping your employees safe make them happy? The simple answer is: yes. But it matters how you invest in making them safer. Do you do the bare minimum, only what's required, expecting one size to fit all and the same personal protective equipment to be used in the winter and summer months? Or do you approach safety as a key priority worthy of the appropriate level of investment in comfort, quality and longevity?
Employers that provide a better-than-basic level of safety equipment for their employees make a statement about how much they care for and value their staff, which is proven to boost morale. This improved morale in turn can improve safety; in fact, research by leading powerhouse in employee engagement Gallup found businesses with high levels of engagement experience up to 70% fewer employee safety-related incidents, attributed to workers paying more attention to their surroundings and more closely following advertised safety procedures.
In contrast, workers who disengage from their organisations for whatever reason are prone to disregarding safety procedures, taking shortcuts and failing to report minor injuries, hazards or near misses.
With an estimated 28.2 million working days lost in the last financial year to work-related ill health and workplace injuries, it's not difficult to see why this is an important issue.
So, how can a business engage its employees with the importance of their own safety?
01. Be Patient
There is no quick route to employee engagement; be prepared that it will take time to embed. You will likely see some results within a year, but it may be many more before you feel that you have made a widespread difference
02. Involve everyone
You may need to employ different tactics to engage people at different levels of your organisation, and depending on their individual personalities. Don't forget about shift workers and part-timers, and make sure that your directors and senior managers are 'talking the talk' and 'walking the walk'
03. Be open and honest
Explain to your employees what you want to achieve and why it is important. Ask for their suggestions, and treat all the feedback you receive with respect. If you have to say 'no' to a suggestion, make sure you explain the reasons why. Encourage honesty from your employees and build a genuine no-blame culture
04. Identify natural leaders
Look for those individuals who your employees already turn to for advice and support – they will be vital in helping you garner support. Consider offering financial or other rewards to those who volunteer as employee safety representatives, and for other safety-related achievements
05. Provide training
Ensure all your staff have access to adequate safety and well-being training on an ongoing basis
As well as being more proactive at preventing on-the-job accidents, engaged workforces are proven to contribute to higher profits, greater productivity, less absenteeism and lower turnover of staff – what’s not to like?