Want to improve engagement? Prioritize workplace safety

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For the first time in nearly two decades, workers are beginning to feel less secure at work. According to Gallup’s 2020 data, the number of employees reporting being satisfied with their employer’s security measures dropped by 9%. This is not what you want if you are trying to compete in today’s hyper-constrained market.

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When employees do not feel safe in their workplace, they experience additional stress. And stress can manifest in any number of ways, from general distraction to low productivity. Stress can also take a bite out of employee engagement, which according to recent reports from Gallup has already plummeted.

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This makes it necessary for you to not only prioritize safety, but also to explain to workers how and why they are safe at work. That way, you’ll have more focused and less anxious employees who can focus on doing their best work without worrying about safety.

How can you communicate the security practices you have implemented? Below are several important ways to make sure your team members know that you are putting their needs first.

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1. Explain how each new tool you bring to your business promotes security.

Don’t assume that your employees understand the many ways that products such as one-way video, two-way audio video intercom systems can keep them safe. They may just see it as an easy way to allow customers, vendors, and others to gain access to your building. They may not realize that these types of systems give them control over who enters their environment. This is a huge asset—and one that an employee needs to understand.

Other tools that provide security may be on the digital side, such as multi-factor authentication for passwords. Employees may complain about multi-factor authentication but it is a good way to keep records secure. The more information you give to your employees, the more confident you are that you are protecting them from harm.

2. Talk about safety during regular team meetings.

Instead of treating security like the elephant in the room, bring it to the fore and in the middle. For example, you may want to add a “Security” section to your regular weekly, bi-weekly or monthly meetings. Make it a time for security as it pertains to your company and business.

Encourage your supervisors to do the same. In some organizations, team leaders prefer to conduct security exercises with their direct support. While this may not be necessary in your company, it is an option to help everyone know that security works within your culture and processes.

3. Remember that security extends to your remote employees.

By the end of 2021, Gallup research indicated that nearly half of all full-time US-based workers were remote. Whether you have entirely virtual team members or employees who follow more of a hybrid in-office/out-of-office work model, keep their safety in mind as well. You cannot assume that just because they are out of sight that their safety is no longer a concern.

Remote employees need to know that you have put in practice to keep them safe. For example, you may want to set up a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN isn’t just a good way to help telecommuting travelers connect to the Internet. VPNs hide online activities and encrypt the communication flowing between locations. In addition to what a VPN offers, you may want to pay for the work equipment of your remote employees. As long as the devices are used specifically for the task, they can promote safer working habits.

4. Be aware of any safety gaps in your workplace.

If you don’t know where your security gaps are, it’s impossible to implement security measures. Depending on your workplace it may be easy or difficult to locate your safety gap. For example: If your employees operate machinery in a warehouse setting, you are probably working with OSHA to deal with unsafe conditions. However, not all safety concerns are immediately apparent.

Surveying your employees to get feedback on potential safety issues can give you a wealth of information. You can then act on the information you receive from your team members. Let’s say you hear from employees that they are concerned because your parking lot is too dark when you leave at night. You can respond to those concerns by adding more lighting and then communicating that you have addressed their concerns. You will not only increase safety and awareness but also show that you genuinely care about your employees.

Your team members help keep your business going. They are the face of your brand and the engine behind your success. Make sure you are taking their safety seriously, and do everything possible to help them understand that their safety is the first priority when they are at work.


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