Just as your corporate culture includes and affects all employees – from top management to the front line workers – so does a safety culture.
A safety culture can only develop when everyone in the company embraces safety as a key component in their everyday work. Whether they are in the office, on site or working from home.
There are two basic elements to creating and sustaining a safety culture: Leadership and Employee Engagement. Our previous post concentrated on the importance of safety leadership. Let’s look at the second one now:
Employee engagement is a workplace approach designed to ensure that employees are committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, and are able at the same time to enhance their own sense of well-being.
“This is about how we create the conditions in which employees offer more of their capability and potential.” – David Macleod
Engaged organisations have strong and authentic values, with clear evidence of trust and fairness based on mutual respect, where two way promises and commitments – between employers and staff – are understood and fulfilled.
Although improved performance and productivity is at the heart of engagement, it cannot be achieved by a mechanistic approach which tries to extract discretionary effort by manipulating employees’ commitment and emotions.
Employees see through such attempts very quickly; they lead instead to cynicism and disillusionment. By contrast, engaged employees freely and willingly give discretionary effort, not as an ‘add on’, but as an integral part of their daily activity at work.
An engaged employee experiences a blend of job satisfaction, organisational commitment, job involvement and feelings of empowerment.
These four enablers of engagement have proved to help organisations.
Visible, empowering leadership providing a strong strategic narrative about the organisation, where it’s come from and where it’s going.
Engaging managers who focus their people and give them scope, treat their people as individuals and coach and stretch their people.
There is employee voice throughout the organisations, for reinforcing and challenging views, between functions and externally, employees are seen as central to the solution.
There is organisational integrity– the values on the wall are reflected in day to day behaviours. There is no ‘say –do’ gap.
Employee engagement does not mean employee happiness.
Someone might be happy at work, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are working hard, productively on behalf of the organisation.
Employee engagement doesn’t mean employee satisfaction.
A satisfied employee might show up for her daily 9-to-5 without complaint. But that same “satisfied” employee might not go the extra effort on her own,
Definition: Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organisation and its goals.
This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. They don’t work just for a wage packet, or just for the next promotion, but work on behalf of the organisation’s goals.
We believe all employees, regardless of seniority, are the solution to health and safety concerns, not the problem.
You can only influence change through emotion, not logic.
Posted by Neil Lancaster. Business Manager & Trainer @ DWI Safety Culture