There’s an old concept in the construction industry known as the field/office divide. This represents the idea that the decisions being made in the home office rarely match what is happening in the field. Although it’s generally somewhat better in light industrial and technical workplaces, since managers tend to be onsite, there can still be a gulf between employees and management.
When it comes to safety practices, many employers make rules that they don’t always follow themselves, and the results can be disastrous. To keep your workplace as safe as possible, it’s vital that you set strong policies and ensure that they’re followed at every level, including upper management. Here’s why.
In psychology, the term “modeling” is used to describe the process of teaching and learning by example. Rather than, or in addition to, verbally explaining what people need to do, modeling demonstrates active steps for them to follow. Showing your employees the best safety practices by performing them yourself is a powerful way to get them to follow your lead.
Setting the Tone
Every workplace has its own culture and tone. If the people at the top are consistently safety-minded, this sets a safety-first tone that will permeate throughout the entire site. Employees who want to cut corners will weed themselves out, making the organization as a whole safer for everyone.
Improving Employee Engagement
“Do as I say, not as I do” is a winning recipe—for destroying loyalty. Your employees want to feel respected and cared for, but giving them a bunch of rules that you don’t bother to follow sends the message that you are just trying to micromanage them. By contrast, following your protocols, every time shows employees that you are a member of the team and won’t ask them to do things that you aren’t willing to do yourself. This boosts loyalty and engagement, making your employees more likely to trust your leadership.
It’s always best to lead by example. When it comes to safety, your willingness to practice what you preach can make a huge difference in defining company culture, improving engagement, and creating a safer workplace for everyone.
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