Safety is the Gateway to Employee Engagement

Many companies struggle to establish effective employee engagement strategies. More than half of U.S. employees (68 percent) are disengaged, costing companies between $450 billion and $550 billion a year in productivity losses, according to Gallup research. Employees will continue to stay unengaged at work if nothing is done.

Improving employee engagement doesn’t require exorbitant budgets for corporate retreats, team lunches, or rewards/recognition. Building a culture for empowered and involved employees simply requires leaders who ask questions and take the time to listen. What better way to start up an engaging dialogue than on the topic of employee well-being?

Establishing a precedent and expectation for employees to interact with leadership when it comes to their health and safety is perhaps one of the easiest ways to approach engagement. Use employee health and safety as the gateway to employee engagement and involvement. It impacts all workers, and when approached respectfully, facilitates dialogue.

How and Why to Communicate Workplace Safety?
Workers want to trust that they are safe at work, and will return home unharmed and unscathed each day. When leadership expresses that safety is a priority and involves employees in health and safety programs it sends this message: Safety is important to me, you are important to me, and I value your opinion. The result is confident employees who feel secure and free to discuss their concerns.
According to health and performance experts at Global Corporate Challenge (GCC), engaged employees are more productive at work, are involved in fewer incidents, show better performance and ultimately yield a stronger bottom-line. What’s more, engaging employees in health and safety programs does not have to be costly. With a little creativity, involvement can come in many forms: soliciting inputs about hazardous work conditions, holding routine safety meetings, sending email notifications about important accidents impacting workers, communicating when safety hazards and the list goes on.

Results of Successful Employee Engagement
Different companies around the world are focusing on employee happiness and sharing their success stories so you can develop your own great employee engagement strategy. Here’s how they’re doing it:
In the book, “Make More Money by Making Your Employees Happy”, Dr. Nelson shares the story of when Alcoa, the world’s largest aluminum manufacturer, was taken over by Paul O’Neil in 1987. At the time, safety management was not at the forefront of Alcoa’s concerns. But O’Neil set out to change that. Over the next 13 years, O’Neil boosted safety management program efforts to keep employees safe and happy. The results were astounding. Employee productivity sky-rocketed as accident rates lowered from one (and even none!) per week per plant. By the time O’Neil left Alcoa, company income increased 500%.

Employee Engagement Solutions
A multinational consumer products company and Gensuite user has jumped on the employee engagement success train too! The company needed to deploy a program that would improve reporting and engagement across their Asia-Pacific sites, and managed to do so by implementing Gensuite’s digitized system.

Gensuite’s Employee Engagement program encourages active employee involvement in safety performance improvement by providing simplified digital tools for workplace assessment, observation and feedback/reporting. Key tools in the suite support Concern Reporting, Safety Observations and Safety Dialogue. Gensuite’s Employee Engagement program eliminates paper-based tasks and creates easy access to safety improvement reporting, deploying a single, powerful and flexible solution suite for engagement across enterprises.

Gensuite’s mobile and multilingual features enabled the company to fully support over 300 employees and enhance safety improvement opportunities at their Asia-Pacific locations. Workers at each site simply use their mobile device to log ideas or concerns, with the option to report anonymously for their own security, all on a simple interface that is easy and inviting to use. To further improve engagement between sites, the company leveraged Gensuite’s multilingual capabilities to provide the applications in each location’s language, making it even easier for employees to engage. In the first 18 months of use, the company saw over 5,000 safety improvement opportunities logged, a major increase in their overall employee engagement.

A company’s most valuable asset is most definitely its employees. There are numerous ways to create a work environment that employees want to come into each morning. Your employee engagement program might include safety improvements, more open conversations or deploying safety management software. No matter what business leaders do, it’s important to prioritize workers’ well-being, creating an engaged and happy work environment.

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