The Important Role Employee Engagement Plays in Safety Success

Charting safety performance is an important step toward achieving safety goals and relies upon gathering and parsing the right set of metrics. Each organization has access to a multitude of data — such as the number of incidents in a given timeframe or the change in delivery time after safety improvements, etc. — and choosing which data points to track and act upon as metrics for safety performance can vary based on organizational needs. One metric that many employers may not be putting enough stock in, though, is employee engagement.

What is employee engagement? In simple terms, it’s the level at which an individual aligns with the goals of their employer and job functions.

In human terms, everyone wants to feel fulfilled by what they do. Even if a job doesn’t completely define who we are, it plays a major role, and we want that aspect to be a positive piece of ourselves. Because feeling like we understand our place in an organization, believing in that organization’s goals, and seeing the direct fruits of our trust and labor is empowering and enriching.

Employee Engagement and The Organization At Large

The argument for taking employee engagement more seriously comes from the rippling impact engagement has for safety and for an organization as a whole. Overall, engaged employees work harder, succeed more, and set better examples for their fellow employees, raising morale in the process. By the same token, disengaged employees tend to do the bare minimum, sow dissention, and try to shirk responsibility.

This means employees with high levels of engagement tend to take their roles more seriously, and by extension, are more likely to follow safety guidelines. For all jobs, safety is a necessity, but in more hazardous industries, it’s particularly imperative that an employee’s attention remain focused on the task at hand. Staying “in the zone” is the split-second difference between a task being completed flawlessly, and a dangerous safety incident.

Employees with high engagement focus their attention on more than just the direct responsibilities of their job. These are the employees actively participating in safety trainings and workshops, striving for safety leadership positions, and bringing safety updates and recommendations to supervisors. They encourage other employees to adhere to safety guidelines by setting the example themselves, raising morale through action, and making their organization a better workplace because of it.

Measuring Employee Engagement

To get an accurate read on how engaged employees are within an organization, employers have a few options available.

The first is to ask employees directly, through an internal, company-wide survey. This allows surveys to be frequent and fine-tuned with organization-specific questions written by employees who speak the language of their own company. However, this option can be labor intensive, and requires setting up a method to frequently disseminate surveys and distill the responses into data.

The second option is to have a 3rd party create, distribute, and collect surveys for employees. These companies — like Optimum Safety Management — are experienced in exactly what to ask to accurately measure employee engagement and have the tools to present data from the findings in an easy to understand format. Optimum also offers follow-ups and improvement steps on how to utilize the data presented.

If neither approach sounds more appealing, it’s always possible to use a hybrid option. This allows a company to tailor the survey and utilize the robust capabilities of a team like Optimum to distribute and analyze the results.

Optimum Safety Management provides the information and services to help companies develop safety leaders and improve overall safety performance. For more information on how Optimum Safety Management can assist with your businesses’ safety needs, contact an expert today, or reach out via phone at 630-759-9908.