What are you doing to encourage employees to be motivated about safety?
The final step (after adding motivators and neutralizing demotivators) to build safety motivation is recognizing those who are going above and beyond.
Here’s a positive experience I witnessed:
Leadership supported safety
A company with 70 locations had one that was not only their best, it was best in their industry.
After looking at all their data, all their indicators, all their cultural surveys, I went to the site to figure out what’s going right that we could learn from.
There was an unquestionable positive perception of leadership’s support for safety at this site.
Why? What happened that led to this positive perception?
It was one story that helped create that perception. One third of the workforce I interviewed told me the same worker’s story. It had gone viral at the plant.
Reinforce what you want
This company did work for the Department of Defense. Because of that, security protocols were tight.
One day, an employee saw three people walk in to his area. One was a company engineer, two were guests. Only one (the engineer) was wearing eye protection.
The worker stopped what he was doing, and asked the guests to wear eye protection.
What the worker didn’t know is that the assistant plant manager saw the exchange.
Afterward, she walked up to the worker and thanked him for what he just did.
This was significant enough to the worker so that he told the story to his co-workers.
The story went viral through the plant and turned out to be what employees often mentioned when I asked why the perception about leadership’s support for safety was so strong there.
This was a case of simple, positive reinforcement of what the worker had done right.
That’s why, when it comes to motivating employees to be safe at work, we have to make sure we’re reinforcing what we want.
(Adapted from a presentation by Shawn Galloway, CEO, ProAct Safety, Houston, at the National Safety Council’s 2021 Safety Congress)