If you truly want your employees to remain safe, healthy, and happy while working for your organization, it’s worth taking the extra step to collect employee feedback on how they think you can create a safer environment. But how can you go about this in an effective manner? And why is employee feedback so valuable for workplace safety?
The Enduring Value of Prioritizing Workplace Safety
First, it’s hard to overstate just how important workplace safety is for your business. Listed below are just a few reasons why safety is so critical for everyone’s success and well-being.
Fewer Injury-Related Expenses
For starters, organizations with better safety protocols tend to bear fewer injury-related expenses — and there are a lot of them. If an employee is injured in the workplace, you’ll pay higher insurance rates. That employee might take several days or weeks off work. If you’re sued, you could lose thousands to millions of dollars in damages. Even if you spend a lot of money to upgrade your workplace and provide better equipment, you’ll end up financially ahead.
Multiple employee surveys confirm that employees who feel as though their workplace values their safety are happier. They tend to hold more favorable views of their employers. Also, they are often more engaged with their work and tend to be more productive as a result.
Maintaining a safe workplace environment is also important for your company’s reputation. If you’re known for treating your workers well and applying rigorous safety standards, you’re much more likely to win — and hang onto — more customers.
Adding up these first three factors as well as others, safe workplaces tend to be more profitable than ones that cut corners. While profit shouldn’t be the only motivator, it’s certainly one to keep top of mind as bills come in for new processes and safety protocols.
Why Employee Feedback?
You’re following OSHA guidelines. You’re even coming up with some independent strategies of your own to help keep your workplace safe. So why do you need to collect employee feedback as you seek to make further improvements? Collecting employee feedback is uniquely valuable for a few different reasons. Here are just a few.
Workplace safety has come a long way. Today we have better technology, better equipment, and better rules to keep employees safe — but that doesn’t mean the rules are being followed or implemented appropriately. Employee feedback helps you discover when and how people are breaking the rules or misusing their equipment.
How do your employees feel about their workplace? You may have made major investments in workplace safety, but do your workers actually feel safe when they’re doing their jobs? The only way to know for sure is to ask. Brace yourself for a few surprises!
Discovering Weak Points
Entrepreneurs and managers tend to view safety from a “top-down” viewpoint, but your employees see it from the ground up. They can offer a great alternative perspective, helping you discover weak points and potential improvements you might not have otherwise noticed.
Making Employees Feel Heard
Collecting employee feedback and acting on it is also a fantastic way to make sure your employees feel heard. Over time, your team members will feel like their opinions are valued and respected — and they’ll be much more likely to offer additional insightful feedback in the future.
4 Practical Tips for Collecting Employee Feedback on Safety
If you’re interested in getting employee feedback related to safety, the four tips listed directly below can help you get started.
1. Allow participants to remain anonymous.
Employee feedback should (almost) always include an anonymous option. Whether the threat is real or imagined, some employees may fear retaliation or punishment if they complain about workplace safety standards or if they address problematic behaviors of their peers or superiors.
2. Include both quantifiable and open-ended questions.
Ask employees how safe they feel. Use a scale of 1 to 5, but also provide plenty of space to volunteer their own ideas and opinions in long form. Quantitative and qualitative data each have advantages and disadvantages. Set up your employee surveys to collect both.
3. Ask about employee attitudes and opinions.
Don’t focus exclusively on the physical layout of your workplace and work-related activities. Ask your employees what they think and how they feel. You’ll learn more than you would otherwise. Your employees will feel as though their perspectives are understood and respected.
4. Take action.
Your employee surveys won’t mean much — to you or them — unless you take them seriously and use them as a prompt to take action. When new issues are discovered, announce them and simultaneously share your plans for how you’re going to make improvements to deal with them.
Collecting employee feedback is perhaps one of the best ways to learn more about how your safety standards are truly being followed in the workplace. It also provides an opportunity to discover new safety protocols that can keep your workers healthy and happy. With a safer workplace, you’ll retain employees, hold a better brand reputation, and ultimately, prosper.