Anything that makes lives better, creates more success and more freedom is easy to sell.
Safety, for it to be done effectively, needs to be viewed as a marketing strategy - not a compliance program. Forcing people to comply against their will creates a disconnect - a sense of disengagement. And, when people are no longer engaged in their work, it's safe to say that they are no longer engaged in safely doing the work. How you present safety will either help or hinder your people in deciding whether to buy-in to safety for themselves.
The job of safety supervisors and managers is to remove the mental barriers of buying-in to safety. And to get employees to choose safety for themselves - both at work and at home.
You know well enough that safety isn't just a thing that people do at work - at least not to be successful. Removing the mental obstacles creates opportunities for employees to buy-in to safety. Help them to embrace it as one of their personal values. People who cut the lawn in sandals, drive with broken tail lights and cracked windshields don't buy-in to safety. Those who speed and forget their seat belts don't buy-in to safety - even though they seemingly work safely. They tolerate safety rules. That's very different than buying-in and owning safety as a personal value.
Look at it this way, you cannot buy that which is not for sale. So in order for there to be a buyer, there has to first be a seller. Don't be afraid of the idea of selling safety. It's easier than you think.
Here are three things you need to know about helping others buy-in to your safety program:
1Selling Safety Is Not Vulgar. The idea of safety managers selling safety to employees is met with resistance. After all, historically, safety has been a compliance measure. It is the rules, the processes and the procedures for ensuring that no one gets hurt on the job. But safety doesn't actually work well until someone buys into it and chooses to own safety for themselves. And they will gladly buy safety when they can clearly see the benefits of owning safety. What makes safety managers wary of selling is being perceived as manipulating people. The thing is, while we hate to be sold - we love to buy. You need to get your employees into a buying attitude when it comes to their safety choices. If safety is good for your people, find a way to communicate that. Find a way to outline the benefits of the safety program instead of quoting legislation and rules. Answer the WWIFM (What's In It For Me) and you open the door to a new buyer.
2Safety Is A Commodity. Safety is just like any other commodity. Safety isn't owned until someone buys into it and chooses it for themselves. And people will gladly buy safety when they can clearly see the benefits of owning safety. Whether its a tangible item or an idea, people buy all the time. You willingly buy life insurance, medical insurance, RVs, boats, snowmobiles and motorcycles. You do so not because you have to, not because some salesman sold them to you but because you wanted to. You buy the latest iPhone or other technology because of what you convince yourself you will get from buying it. You are willing to buy when you convince yourself that your life will be better. Safety works that way too. And it, more than any other thing you will ever choose to buy in your life, will make your life better.
3Your Job Is To Sell. Your job as a safety manager is to remove the barriers to buying. That means getting into the heads of your "customers" and removing the mental barriers. Something is preventing them from choosing to buy your safety program. You need to know what that is if you want to improve safety performance. Look, if you are trying to convince someone to comply with procedures, you're already selling. You're just hoping that soon they'll wake up and buy what you're selling. Selling is nothing more than helping people get what they want. And what people want, is the goodness and richness that life has to offer. Safety can deliver that. Your job is to re-frame their preconceived notions about safety. Remove the barriers that prevent them from buying safety for themselves.
Anything that makes lives better, creates more success and more freedom is easy to sell. But you will never convince someone else of something that you yourself don't believe in. The key to creating buy-in to safety is based on your level of conviction for safety.
They may not care what you have to say. They not believe what you have to say. But they will check you out to see if you believe what you have to say. Deep conviction sells safety. Safety leaders have deep convictions for safety - and it's evident.
Kevin Burns is a management consultant, safety speaker and author of "The Perfect Safety Meeting" and his newest #1 Amazon Health & Safety Bestseller, "Running With Scissors - 10 Reasons To Invest in Safety In Slow Times." He is an expert in how to get through to people - how to talk with them so they hear and understand. Kevin's presentation "Trust The Process - Instill A Safety Attitude To Build An Engaged Culture Of Safety" will help your organization reach the following goals: better engagement and buy-in to safety, increased teamwork, better communication, lower turnover resulting in increased profits from production.(c) Can Stock Photo