Culture, walk the talk

At Hands on Safety we believe that your company culture will directly affect how well your workers perform their day to day work and H&S practices. And we do not mean your ‘safety culture’ – your ‘company’ culture is your safety culture!

Culture is “the way we do things around here” and includes shared perceptions (whether true or not), attitudes and practices. Unsurprisingly leadership and management styles will greatly influence the culture of a company.

It is important for the management team display positive safety attitudes and walk the talk. But what does ‘walking the talk’ look like to employees. After 14 years of experience in the profession, and hundreds of interactions with workers over those years we have found three common themes:

  1. Do what you say you will do. Do not make promises you cannot keep. Likewise always follow up and take action on any issues or concerns that workers have raised. Unfortunately, workers have a very low threshold for broken promises and non-deliverables.
  2. If a worker feels adequately resourced, they feel valued. Not to mention adequate (and fit for purpose) resources are important for job safety. Resourcing will mean different things to different workers and will depend on your business. Workers on the ‘tools’ will feel more valued if their tools are up to standard, are reliable and are available when needed, whilst others will value having sufficient time to perform the job in a safe manner.
  3. Listen to and respect workers’ views. But do not ask for their views or thoughts unless you truly intend to listen and accept what they have to say. Asking for the thoughts, feelings and opinions of workers is a great way to engage with them however this can backfire if you a) dismiss them or b) take no action.

Culture develops over time and it takes conscious effort to shape and maintain a positive culture. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much for a negative culture to become pervasive.

Along with the three areas above, visible leadership is vital when it comes to developing a positive culture which will support and improve a company’s health and safety performance. Talk to us today about how your management team can demonstrate visible leadership and ensure your company culture will support successful safety outcomes.