A recent global Gallup study asked: “What makes a great life?” (1)
The basics were at the top of the list: law and order (safety) followed by food and shelter, and for the last 80 years to have a family and to own a home and live in peace. However, there’s a new global dream on the list, and it surprised them.
The new dream, shared around the world, is to have a “great job.”
Everyone, everywhere wants to live the “best life imaginable.” The study found that to achieve this, you must have a “great job.” You might ask yourself, “What is a great job?” especially if you’ve never had one.
The definition of a good job is a living wage and working full-time. According to the study, the differentiator is this: “Employees are engaged in meaningful and fulfilling work and feeling they are experiencing real individual growth and development in the workplace.”
The sad news is just 15% of the world’s workers are engaged in the workplace (1). Engaged workers drive your business, they inspire teams, solve problems instead of creating them, volunteer in the community, have far better health and wellbeing, and fewer workplace accidents, and little to no mistakes and defects. So with 85% of workers being disengaged, organizations have a lot of work to do on this front.
So if C-levels say they are interested in employee safety and engagement, here are 10 sure-fire ways to tell if that is true:
- They invest in the right things. “The quality of managers and team leaders is the single biggest factor in your organization’s long-term success” (1). They are investing in the tools, training, and development of their managers. “Inspirational messages are important. However, they’ll have no significant impact unless leaders build a strategy to bring multiple teams together and make great decisions,” according to Gallup (1).
- They know that feedback is key. Consider this: 47% of employees report that they received feedback from their manager “a few times or less” in the past year. Only 26% said that the feedback was helpful (1). C-levels who care about safety are investing the time and money in creating a culture of high employee development to build the most productive environment for the business and the employees. They don’t just talk about it. They are putting their money where their mouth is.
- They value employees for their strengths. C-levels who care about safety are interested in productive conversations about building employees’ strengths. They want their managers to understand how employees think, feel, and respond to situations, not just what they are doing wrong. Employees, like everyone else, want to feel valued and that they belong.
- They have a zero tolerance for offensive and discriminatory behavior. C-levels who care about safety double down on respect for one another. They ensure managers formally and informally commit to this standard. They communicate and enforce the policy at all times. Top leader’s behavior determines what is ok for the rest of the organization.
- They have a digital system for reporting issues and a protocol for how to handle them is in place at all times. Nothing else matters until C-levels create a cultural requirement and a robust system in place for reporting issues. They want to know the good, bad, and the ugly.
They don’t blame when something is reported – they have a system in place for investigating consistently and use the information to drive change and improvement. Employees are never afraid to speak up because they trust that the employer has a genuine interest in knowing what needs to be improved.
- They have clear criteria for defining success. C-levels spend extra time making sure the organization’s principles are clear. Criteria for success is defined, objective, measured with targets in place. They understand that this is how they will attract and retain the best workers. It’s part of the recruiting strategy as well as the overall strategy on how to win!
- They carefully pick their managers. C-levels understand that having leaders who will do what is right builds the integrity of their safety culture organically. They build relationships – connecting team members, being aware of what is happening on their teams, and resolving conflicts before they escalate.
- They treat every employee with respect. From the janitor who cleans the bathrooms to the top of the organization – respect is given. They understand that if they give respect, they will get it as well. Highly safe companies have engaged employees who feel respected.
- They strive for gender balanced teams. C-levels who care about safety know that women have an essential role in keeping people safe. Gender-balanced workgroups get more work done and have a more substantial capability to meet the customers’ needs. On average, women are more engaged than men and tend to have more engaged employees.
- They go beyond feedback; they give recognition or praise for doing good. Having a system for feedback is essential. A C-level knows that focusing on this process; they will see an improvement in quality, a reduction in absenteeism, and shrinkage. Employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to quit in the next year (1).
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