All workplaces are different. Some companies, like Wegmans Food Markets (a grocery in the northeast), create an environment where employees feel valued. A few, like Google, try to make the workplace fun and relaxed for their employees. Other firms take the same approach as Apple, and push their employees to perform and produce the best. But no matter how a company approaches employee motivation, it should also be concerned with making the workplace safe.
Workplace safety is just good business. In 2007, the financial costs workplace-related injuries and illnesses piled up to around a quarter of a trillion dollars. While financial concerns should never be the main motivator behind safety, the fact remains that a staffing company that emphasizes safety is more likely to do well. A staffing firm that has a reputation of promoting safety is more likely to attract the best candidates as well.
However, a culture of safety is more than a few motivational posters and an occasional seminar. It’;s a commitment on the part of a company to take a pervasive, proactive approach to this serious issue. With that in mind, here are a few tips on how to make your staffing business one that can boast a genuine safety culture:
Safety Starts with the Leaders
No company-wide initiative will take off without the support of a business’;s most influential employees. High-level managers must believe that employee safety and profitability are not competitive with each other, but work best when deployed in tandem. Between material losses caused by accidents, healthcare costs, and intangible costs like lost productivity from worried employees, safety is simply smart management in addition to being "the right thing."
Continually Build Your Culture
It’;s not enough to claim safety is a priority and leave it at that. Safety is a commitment that must be acted upon daily. Explain to your employees why safety is so fundamental, and what they can expect from a safer workplace. When those promised changes do occur, they’;ll trust in the ideal and perpetuate the higher standards in their everyday activities. Continually train and assess your employees, taking time to recognize and reward those who demonstrate real commitment.
Clearly define your priorities and lay them out, stating a unified vision for the entire organization. The key is not to assign blame after accidents do occur, but to have employees at all levels taking responsibility for themselves and those around them, reinforcing the culture and preventing costly and dangerous incidents from happening.
Use Your Safety Culture as An Asset
When a talent job-seeker is looking for work, he or she will value a staffing company that values the well-being of its clients. Having that reputation – not only as a company that is good at what it does, but goes about its business in the right way – will give you a competitive advantage.