One of the most crippling costs a company can incur is on-the-job accidents. The National Safety Council reports that workplace safety incidents cost employers $171 billion in 2019. That’s about $1,100 per employee per year. Risk managers are constantly searching for ways to make the workplace safer for employees, but the surprising news is that the answer may lie with employees themselves.
Engagement = Safety
That headline comes from a Gallup survey that found workplaces in which employees are highly engaged (specifically, those companies ranked in the top quarter) record 70% fewer safety incidents than companies where employee engagement ranks in the bottom quarter. So it turns out that employers looking to improve engagement may well end up improving safety.
What Is Engagement?
Employee engagement isn’t just an HR buzzword; rather, it’s an emerging indicator of productivity and profitability. Simply put, engaged employees are emotionally committed to their workplace and its mission. They aren’t just in it for a paycheck. Instead, they share their companies’ values and are motivated to be a part of the team working to achieve corporate goals.
How Does Engagement Drive Safety?
Writing for EHS Today, Michelle Boeldt states, “Engaged workers fully are committed to their work and the success of the company.” Boeldt, who leads the environmental, health and safety marketing department of an engineering firm, adds, “They put in more effort, have a higher quality work product, go out of their way to assist others, have fewer accidents and are willing to provide feedback and suggestions on ways to increase efficiencies and improve the work environment.” The bottom line? Employees who care about their work are safer.
Harness the Power of Employee Engagement
Boeldt offers several suggestions for employers looking to improve workplace safety through improved employee engagement:
- Instill a sense of ownership – Make sure your employees know how valuable they are – and how much you trust them to do their jobs well and safely.
- Involve employees in the safety program – Keep the lines of communication open with your workers, and include them in discussions about changes that affect them. Also, form employee-driven safety committees to build a culture of awareness and caution.
- Provide ongoing training – Keeping your employees up to date on safety concerns and refreshing their memories when it comes to proper protocols will help reduce safety incidents.
- Recognize employees – Public thank-yous are incredibly motivating. Give shoutouts to employees whose work helps keep their colleagues safe, and celebrate extended periods of incident-free production.
- Open the suggestion box – Encourage continuous feedback. Be on the lookout for bright ideas and creative safety solutions. Not only will fostering this participation give you valuable insights, but it will also strengthen engagement and safety.
Look to Mega Force for Staffing Solutions
If you’re looking for talent to build an engaged, safe workforce, contact Mega Force. We help employers in High Point and throughout North Carolina connect with reliable candidates who can infuse their businesses with innovation. Start here.