What employees want from the job can change your culture.
In my last post (When Employees Don't Give You Safety Performance), I presented an overview of what employees want from their supervisors and immediate managers. This time around, we are going to take a look at what employees want from their jobs. Because if they don’t get what they want from their job, why would you expect them to give their best effort, especially in safety?
If they’re not giving you safety, it’s because you’re not giving them what they want.
To paraphrase a quote, the secret to getting what you want is to help enough other people get what they want. Zig Ziglar said that. He wasn’t wrong. Help enough other people get a win for themselves and they are more likely to help you get your win.
What if instead of guilt and fear and manipulation tactics, you simply cared?
When you really think about it, there are only two main ways to get people to join in your safety program and for them to buy-in to the idea of safety: you can either manipulate or inspire. Either you pull on the heartstrings to try to guilt them into following rules, or you help them flip that internal switch that kicks-in their motivation and fires up their personal leadership capacity. Before you decide, know this: manipulation does not create leaders.
The supervisor is the first line of defense when it comes to complacency.
You probably take great pride and talk proudly of your people, competent teams who do excellent work. But, from time to time little issues are starting to show up in the form of small mistakes, and memory and judgment lapses. That’s complacency-creep.
Ever thought about how to make mission, vision and purpose statements more powerful and to help improve safety doing it? Even more powerful than a corporate mission statement is a crew mission statement. Kind of like a team purpose or plan that galvanizes the crew members.
It seems like your people don't care about safety, but they do. Yes, your people do care about safety. They just don't care the way you care about it, because they see safety differently than you do.
Everyone cares about something. However, what's appealing and motivating to you is not always appealing and motivating to someone else. Your goals for safety improvement may be important to you, but your people need to have a benefit in working harder to reach those goals.
Every employee has responsibilities in safety. The biggest of which is to ensure that you protect yourself.
There is a lot of talk of safety leadership, complacency, accountability and responsibility on the job these days. At the same time, there is less discussion about compliance measures, rules, regulation, etc. And although there is still much work to be done in safety, we’re starting to change the conversation. Workplaces that are becoming more people-focused is good news.
Blame senior management’s perceived lack of commitment to safety, and you won’t get front-line crews to buy-in to the safety program.
Gallup says that only 31.5% of North American workers are actively engaged in their work. That means 7 out of every ten people are not fully engaged in their work. This includes safety managers and front-line supervisors as well as senior management. But, as the survey points out, senior managers still engage in higher percentages than their employees. Still, these are a disturbing numbers.
It’s easy to complain about how tough it is to be a safety person when senior managers are seemingly disengaged with safety. But it is tiresome that some safety people use senior management as a scapegoat.
“Until senior management improves their commitment to safety, our safety culture won’t improve,” you hear some safety people chime. So they give up trying to get over the hurdle. And that’s all it is; a hurdle. It’s not a closed road. It’s not a barricade. It’s something you have to either get over or go around. It's not insurmountable.
In PeopleWork, Kevin Burns presents his M4 Method of people-centered management for safety. Practical, how-to steps that frontline supervisors and safety people can master to promote a relationship-based culture focused on mentoring, coaching, and inspiring teams.