Have you ever been out in the wilderness, say on a hike or a bike ride, when you just stopped and made a point to listen to the sounds of nature? The sound of birds chirping, trees creaking, and wind rustling through leaves enriches the entire experience of being outside. Guess what? Listening to your employees is just as rewarding and can help make your job site a safer place too.
Your employees have lots of valuable insight, and often from a different perspective than their supervisor or manager. Listen to them. When you listen to your employees you gain deeper understanding of their day-to-day difficulties and the challenges of their job. They might tell you something you were completely unaware of, or their feedback might trigger an idea or initiative that will make their job safer.
Encourage Employee Feedback
In order to have employees who are comfortable voicing their comments and concerns with management, they must be encouraged to speak up. It is paramount that all your employees know that they have a way to voice concerns and the best ways to present them. That can be through direct conversations, weekly safety meetings or even an anonymous comment system. Make it simple for your employees to speak up and create a culture that endorses the voice of the entire team.
When your employees feel like they have an outlet for their observations they will also feel like they have more support from managers and supervisors. As their organizational trust and sense of team increases so will productivity and accountability, two of the most important characteristics for any worker.
Employees place great value on their relationship with their supervisor. If that relationship is a two-way street lined with open communication and mutual respect they will be more likely to come to you with concerns, ideas and observations. By empowering them you are creating a more engaged employee and more engaged employees are safer employees.
Listen To Your Employees
Creating a culture of open and honest communication is much more than just giving employees a way to communicate issues. All of that keen insight is worthless if no one is listening.
As a manager or supervisor, it is your responsibility to engage the communication cycle. Read all incident forms, meetings notes, employee feedback sheets and safety reports. When you see something that is of concern, approach the notifying employee in a positive way in order to better understand the situation.
Always listen to your employees attentively. Not only could that employee be relaying some critical information that could be used to prevent a future accident but attentive listening also encourages more communication. It is essential that employees always feel like they can approach their supervisor with a concern and that the concern will be investigated. When the integrity of employee-supervisor communication is damaged the potentially valuable information exchange is damaged too.
Not all big problems require a complex solution. If you want to make your job site a safer place, just start by using your mouth and ears more.