If you've been frustrated by failed attempts to get buy-in to safety (something more than just basic minimum compliance), you are going to have to look at your engagement levels first.
Gallup workplace surveys tell us that 64% of North American workers are not actively engaged in their work: 2 out of 3 workers.
And the numbers are worse in other parts of the world.
But here’s where it truly affects safety performance. When you are expecting your people to be actively engaged in safely doing the very work that they are not actively engaged in.
Engagement levels affect safety performance.
If your people are not actively engaged in their work, they are never going to be actively engaged in safely doing that work.
You need to fix the engagement problem before you’ll get buy-in to your safety program.
The companies we work with are executing a 3-step plan for safety buy-in. And the whole thing hinges on engagement levels.
You need three things to get better buy-in.
1. First, your people need to have clarity about what you want them to do, to think, and to feel about safety.
They need clarity on the benefit they get from engaging in safety. If they’re not clear on what’s in it for them, why in the world would they put themselves out for the company? And focusing on numbers doesn’t build engagement.
2. Second, your front-line supervisors need the skills and tools that employees want them to have.
Coaching, communications, listening, empowerment skills, leadership. Employees don’t really care how good their supervisor used to be at the job. What employees want to know is how good they are going to become under the leadership of their supervisor. If they don’t get that, they aren’t likely to buy-in.
3. And third, employees need a reason to believe in their company.
Before employees are going to engage in safety, they need to be engaged in their work. That means that every other person and part of the organization needs to be engaged in working hard to get that engagement from their people.
So, focus on getting their engagement.
Remember, you don't need more rules and reminders in safety. You need more of your employees to buy-in. And that takes a very different approach.