It’s no secret that workplace safety is one of the main concerns of facility managers. Substantial time is spent evaluating and addressing safety measures within the facility itself – things such as proper lighting levels, clear pathways, chemical exposures, fires, repetitive motion injury, slips, trips and falls. But there is often very little time spent on the one factor that could have the greatest impact on workplace safety: employee engagement.
According to Gallup, companies with engagement scores in the top quartile of business units have 70% fewer safety incidents than those in the bottom quartile. When employees are highly engaged and recognize the importance of what they do, each is more likely to be focused on the task at hand, resulting in fewer injuries. They will take initiative to act on potential problems to create a safer environment for others.
But how do you create a more engaged facilities team?
1. Knowledge is empowering
We often teach employees how to perform a certain task, but do we teach them why that task is important or how it impacts others?
Education and training are critical to employee engagement, but it simply can’t be a one-time event. Training should be ongoing, address relevant topics, be delivered in bite-sized chunks and should even be fun.
Gamification, combining business with fun, can be a vital component in training today’s workforce. Consider making training a friendly competition between departments. Before jumping in, define your company’s objectives, create your goals and bring in a reward system.
Do you need to improve on employee morale? Make training fun and reward your work community.
2. Recognize your safety culture
All employees want to be recognized for a job well done. Recognition can come in all forms, whether it’s a handwritten note or an email acknowledgement for a specific activity or behavior. It can also be a formal acknowledgement in a group setting such as a team meeting.
Managers should take time weekly, or even daily, to recognize great performance. Studies show that positive reinforcement of behaviors have a greater impact on performance than reprimands for negative actions.
3. Above all, make it easy
Let’s face it – we’ve become a culture that’s all about ease and efficiency, especially since the introduction of the smart phone.
We use apps to buy groceries, summon a taxi, book travel, record television shows, adjust the thermostat – you name it. Why not use one to communicate with your employees the way they prefer – on the device that is right at their fingertips?
We know that not everyone has a technology team to develop a customer app, but many third-party apps have the capacity to facilitate employee communications and push out training-focused content.
At Compass Group, we developed just such an app, called Nudge, which is designed to facilitate the employee engagement process. Using the app, employees receive daily push notifications and earn points for sharing their best practices. Those points turn into prizes that keep the employees engaged, educated and rewarded. We’ve even used it to track safety knowledge and improve results in keeping with our client and company standards.
The results have been outstanding. In January of this year, the app was launched at a large facility client in Houston. In three months, we’ve seen a 30% safety knowledge increase, 60% adoption rate, 80% engagement total and 3,000 ideas shared. More than 790 safety ideas have been collected – all with a 90% approval rating of the Nudge app.
The employees receive points for everything from driving safety content and customer service tips to cultural and company initiatives. It just goes to show that employees are more willing to engage when it’s easy, efficient and fun.
Employee engagement has benefits that go well beyond driving a safety culture. Strong engagement can help reduce turnover and unexpected absences in your department while contributing to improved efficiency and customer retention for your entire organization.
As the facility manager, you have the ability to impact employee satisfaction in your workplace. By helping your team understand that impact and recognizing those who contribute in a positive way, you will enjoy a more engaged workforce committed to providing a safe and well-maintained facility.
If you would like more information about how Eurest Services creates a safety culture in the workplace, please contact us here.