Global analytics firm Gallup studied over 100,000+ teams and over 2.7 million workers worldwide to understand what workers need most to perform at their best. One of the most striking outcomes of this study shows that highly engaged teams who communicate intensively experience 64% less safety incidents than low-engaged business units who pay little to no attention to internal communication.
Why is it that one company, in a specific industry, struggles with safety while another excels? Especially if the same rules apply? One major reason is a company's culture and its approach towards internal communication.
Because it takes a lot more than simply handing out rules and regulations. You need employees to buy-in to what you are trying to accomplish with your safety programs. That takes a very different approach and requires strong communication, rather than endless checkboxes and do's and don'ts. It's about getting people to see the benefit of making safe decisions and in becoming more willing to look out for themselves and their colleagues. It's less about enforcement and more about engagement.
Effective safety communication is open, transparent and honest. Instead of telling employees what they can or cannot do, tell them 'why' it must be done. Employees will have a better understanding of the rules if they understand why they are in place - and they may even end up helping to alter or add to the rules.
Open communication can only exist if you are willing to accept feedback, questions and concerns, so that employees aren't holding anything back. If they are not afraid to ask questions, challenge regulations, provide feedback or report issues, safety improvements will happen faster than ever before.
Open communication also includes communicating errors, human mistakes and malfunctions. Both top-down, horizontally and bottom-up.
It's up to Internal Comms to provide the right tools and channels to enable all the above. To make them accessible for all employees and easy-to-use in their daily operations.
Targeted & Tailored approach
Handing out a big safety rule book with regulations during onboarding will not do the trick. You'll need to make sure that employees always have access to the right information at the right time at the right place. Information that is only relevant for their specific function, tasks, potential hazards and/or working environment. Similar to a marketing department sending out targeted information to well-defined target groups, Internal Comms and Safety must work together to disseminate information in a personal, tailored and targeted manner. Extensive targeting avoids information overload, clears out irrelevance and strongly improves reading motivation, which is of the utmost importance when it comes down to safety.
Personal & Human
Make each safety message personal and relatable for your employees. Create easy-to-digest content, make it visual, tell stories. Instead of drafting endless rules, share real stories from real colleagues who have experienced the dangers of carelessness themselves. With visual storytelling, not only will your employees read or view your safety messages more, they will also better understand the bigger picture. Sharing personal, human stories is a highly effective way to create buy-in from employees and to establish a widely-supported safety culture. Also here, it is up to Internal Comms to translate cold safety content into warm human stories.
One thing is clear: companies that excel in safety not only have great safety policies, but also great internal communicators. Both departments should work closely together and combine their expertise to create awareness, build a strong safety culture and deliver each message with impact.
Meet Roger allows companies to manage their entire safety communication via one centralized dashboard. Both Safety and Internal Comms (admins) can collaborate together in one digital hub to create, review, target and plan safety messages in a timely manner. With Roger's built-in segmentation engine, each message can be targeted to a well-defined internal audience, making sure employees only receive relevant information. Via the Roger Smartphone App, employees (users) have direct access to their personal safety messages, instructions and documents and have the ability to provide feedback via in-app polls and surveys.
If you want to find out more, we are happy to show you how our platform works!