Webinar: How to Build a Top Safety Culture

Webinar: How to Build a Top Safety Culture

Download PFG of the September, 24th Webinar

For those that missed the How to Build a Top Safety Culture live event, below you will find a PDF copy of the presentation available for download.

About the Webinar

This educational webinar that took place on September 24th, 2014. Industrial companies have long had reputations for having “tough” cultures, where incidents were common place and speaking up was considered disrespectful or a sign of weakness. Fast forward to 2014 where leading companies are taking safety seriously and are proactively building a better safety culture one bit at a time.

Join safety culture expert ProAct™ Safety’s Shawn Galloway and TalentClick’s Greg Ford as they outline innovative techniques for measuring, building and maintaining a top safety culture.

Download a PDF of the presentation itself here.




Greg Ford: Well hello everyone my name is Greg Ford and I am the CEO of TalentClick. Good morning to some of you and afternoon to the rest of you. It is a couple minutes past the hour so why don’t we get started. To those of you who have just joined us, I’ve just mentioned that we have quite a large number of people registered for this at 501, so we’re delighted by that. It shows the interest in this topic of building a top safety culture and also of interest in our special guest, Shawn Galloway. So why don’t we get started and respect everyone’s time. As mentioned, my name is Greg Ford and we’re happy to have you join us for this presentation on how to build a top safety culture.

That’s me on the left and Shawn Galloway on the right. He and I are going to go through this presentation. It should take about 30, maybe 35 minutes. There will be time at the end for questions and answers. If we just get forward to the agenda here, what we’ll cover today, we’re of course going to be talking about what is safety culture. Second, establishing your ideal safety culture and how do we measure it? I’m going to be talking about that part. Shawn will be doing most of the other speaking today and he’s going some really good, interesting stuff to talk about. He’ll also be talking about executing the strategy for developing a top safety culture.

As mentioned, at the end we’ll have some time for questions and answers, and then of course the final is how do we go away and actually implement this and affect some change. We’ll be giving you instructions on how to receive your free safety culture measurement tools from both TalentClick and ProAct Safety. So on that note, let me turn things over to Shawn Galloway. He is an expert in safety excellence, strategy, and culture and of course he’s going to uncover what it means to earn a top safety culture. Shawn?



Shawn Galloway: Thank you very much, Greg. I’m honored to be here and be a part of this today. There are several things that I want to discuss about safety culture to kind of kick this off. First off, there’s a lot of misunderstanding about what a culture is and one thing that you’ll see over on the left hand side there is theoretically there is no such thing as safety culture. Cultures already exist; safety is just an element of the organizational culture. But when we look at culture, really what it is (safety or otherwise) it’s a complex set of shared perceptions and shared beliefs that shape the common practice, that shape the behaviors.

Now, I’ve even said it myself, you’re not managing your safety culture, you’re managed by it. Because your culture, safety or otherwise, is your most effective sustainability mechanism. But the reality is you can’t manage your safety culture. You can manage aspects of it. And the aspects we’re going to be talking about here today about are the climate and the chemistry and think about your climate and your organization, what’s the commitment like? Are people committed to the safety aspect of the culture? Is there a sense of caring? Do we have cooperation on what we’re trying to accomplish? And do we have a climate of coaching?

We’re trying to get better by focusing on performance and not just results. And then on the chemistry side, I have a specific model and it’s part of the takeaway pool that Greg mentioned, so I’m going to defer to that. But when you’re really looking at the cultural side of things what we tend to do is we tend to look at the characteristics. When we were approached a couple of years to write the first book ever on how to create a culture of safety excellence, we were contacted by the publisher and they told us that there is about 13 different books on the topic of safety culture at the time and my partner in the firm, Jerry Mathis, wrote one of the first ones in the 90s. Most of them are a bit too academic on how you describe your culture. What makes the culture what it is? What are the things that make it work and that tends to lead organizations on a journey to try to benchmark against other cultures.


How to be more like this type of culture? And that often becomes an exercise in futility. You’ll never be like another organization. You may try to invent some of the same characteristics, but every culture has different capabilities, different things you can do really well. So rather than trying to be like, look at and say how do we grow our capabilities to things that we can do, how we get things done. And every organization, there are also multiple subcultures. In a lot of organizations, it is quite obvious that there is a different culture between the supervision and the executive staff, or the supervision and the employees. There are just different types of subcultures. There may be a maintenance type of culture or maybe a production, a sales type of culture that’s much more focusing on risk for the employees and safety and we want them to be less risky.

[00:05:00] So there’s all these different types of cultures. What we have to be careful of is when there’s multiple beliefs systems around safety or there’s multiple accepted behaviors around safety. So while we do want a sense of autonomy where we can be our own culture, we do want how to align the beliefs and the behaviors2ds safety aspect of the culture. But also realize that cultures already exist. I’ve been writing about this for years, but I see a lot of people with really good intentions writing about how to create a safety culture and I think that forgets the fact that we already have existing beliefs. We’re hiring adults here, we’re working with adults.

We have established habits and patterns of behaviors. They already exist. It’s not about creating something new in a vacuum, it’s how do we evolve it? How do we get better? But ultimately again, when were able to do this, it becomes the sustainability mechanism.



So let’s look at how you establish the culture. When we’re first putting this book together, that’s one of the first things that as per instructions from the publisher, was to write the first step-by-step guide to this (and it’s not a self-published book and I’m not trying to sell any books here) but this is what we outlined that there has to be certain steps. Now based on your maturity or where you’re at, you may need certain steps and you may not need certain steps. There’s no perfect pre-defined approach to achieve a culture of safety excellence; it doesn’t exist. What works for one organization may not work for another.


What Greg’s going to be spending a lot of great time on today can working with key indicators is measuring in working with key indicators. What may be an insightful indicator for you, may be a pointless metric for another organization. There’s no perfect predefined approach but there is a series of steps, there is a series of structures. There’s a series of choices and I’ll get to that when we talk about how we have the strategy to shape and evolve the existing culture that’s there. But that’s one of the key things that we do encourage is when you’re looking at trying to create this top safety culture, when you’re trying to establish the ideal for your organization, too often we begin with the assessments. Let’s begin with where we’re at now. You know, it’s kind of like the cat in Alice of Wonderland, if you don’t know where you’re going then any path will get you there. You have to first look at this and say, where are we trying to go as an organization? I look at safety as a business, you know, as customers to our business of safety, all of us safety professionals, are we capturing and delivering values to the consumers, to the customers of our safety efforts? So we have to manage safety strategically, just like a business manages they’re business strategically to capture market share. And if we’re going to capture market share, it begins with a hypothesis of where we can win in the market place. How can we win over the customers heart and minds and get them to buy our products and services. The same thing in safety, if we’re going to win over the hearts and minds, we’re capturing market share. What could we do well, where could we win with our safety efforts – both on improving injury prevention, but also again to today’s topic, evolving safety culture.


And that has to start with the strategy. Even rudimentary questions like how well does our safety strategy help our business strategy be successful, or does our safety strategy hinder our business strategy. I do a lot of work in mergers and acquisitions, and if the safety strategy is way too aggressive, it’ll prohibit business growth and guess which one is going to win . . . the business strategy. Now Peter Drucker pointed out years ago that culture eats strategy for breakfast and my follow up to the great Peter Drucker is, “And business strategy eats safety strategy all day long”! So the safety strategy has to help the business strategy be successful while still acting as that kind of general counsel to make sure we’re going in the right direction with the decisions we make.

But this is all I kind of wanted to talk here is that there’s a series of steps that organizations have proven to be able to take to be successful, but rather than starting with kind of saying, “Where are you right now?”, you first have to think strategically, “Where are we going and what does success actually look like with safety”? So this leads to a lot of organizations doing what we call the bridge to safety excellence. This is a model we’ve used for many years. Those of you familiar with our work have probably seen this model before. But if you think about where you’re going to where you’re trying to get to, this level of sustainable excellence. And excellence is not just zero injuries. Zero injuries is the by-product of the value of safety. It should not be the goal, otherwise people could punish people for reporting injuries and you’ll have zero injuries. So it’s not the only and the final goal, it’s the by-product of value. And also excellence is not just getting the zero injuries; it’s having the sense of confidence knowing precisely how you got there so you can still continue to improve year after year.



[00:10:00] Kind of that better practice thinking rather than just looking at, “We’ve achieved zero injuries, so why do we continue to invest”? So what core organizations tend to do in building this bridge, the first pillar of support they put in place is management’s initial commitment, the initial things you have to do in a regulatory compliance. Regardless of where you are, most developed places in the world have established some rules and policies around safety. Now, we have to do these things but compliance is the minimal necessary. It will only get you partially across the gap there. Now, we have to create rules and we have to enforce those rules, but enforcing the rules is not just saying something when somebody disobeys; it is reinforcing the rules when people are actually following it.

Now, if you look at your injuries of course and you have uniform deviation from the rules, you don’t need coaching and collaboration; you might need martial law sometimes. But that’s the basic, it’s the foundation, it’s the first things we have to put in place. So consider this question, “Can you obey all the rules, follow all the procedures, wear all your personal protection equipment, and still get injured”? The answer is always of course! That’s why more and more organizations are finally focusing on the cultural side of things. There’s always been a cultural aspect to safety, going back to evolution and, you know, mankind first being on this earth who would communicate to one another about the things that might kill us, the things that if we eat would kill us. We’ve always had safety as a part of society; it’s not until the 1960s that we really start looking at culture and also around the same time in the 1960s we started actually looking at strategy in the business lexicon. It’s always been a part of the military, but it wasn’t until the 60s we started to look at the strategy here.

So if we’re going to bridge the rest of this, we have to have a focus within that culture. And we have to develop systems to where that focus gets reinforced in the absence of those that can do the enforcing. But focus to us is an acronym. Consider this in your organization: focus stands for Forming One Common Understanding of Safety. What do we want people to believe? What do we want people to know? Is that aligned in the organization? Is that reinforced after on-boarding and orientation and new training? Does it go above and beyond the rules, policies, and the procedures? Now, a lot of companies will say safety is a condition of employment. You’re right for the things that are required to remain employed. Those things are conditions of employment. But if we want people to go above and beyond, if we want to capture the additional market share, which is the employee’s attention share around safety, we have to sell them on going above and beyond. We actually have to market safety.

And we have to move from managing compliance to more of a role around leadership in safety. And regardless of all the different terms and definitions of leadership, how I kind of look at in this regard is about it inspiring, influencing people to do more than just what’s necessary to remain employed. Back to the compliance side, how do we get people to go above and beyond? How are we bridging the levels between the organization and creating a sense of trust? Marcus Buckingham in his book How Full is Your Bucket?, is a great statement: he said building trust was like filling the bucket full of water a drip at a time. It takes a long time to do so and it’s pretty easy to kick it over and have to start all over again. You know, again, what we want is discretionary effort, not just more do-as-you’re-told. Think about, have you ever worked for somebody that you just didn’t trust? How much discretionary effort did you provide? We want to create a sense of teamwork in safety. A lot of time we’ll put groups of people together and we’ll call them a team.


A team that doesn’t have a focus, a team that doesn’t all get together, a team that’s not winning, a team where there’s politics and winners and losers on that team, that’s a committee. That’s not a team. After my service in the military, my first corporate career was in an organization called Covane and now its referred to as Fluor. Somebody on my team had a great statement about teamwork and their statement was, “We’re not going to allow each other to fail, regardless of who we are; whether we’re a visiting CEO or a temporary employer-contractor. We’re all in this together”. And that’s kind of led our initial focus in safety is that it’s not failure; it’s failing, so we tend to measure all those things around compliance. We measure our injuries, our incidents. But that’s a failure rate. None of us, you know, when Greg and I work with our clients and even in our previous careers and everything, we didn’t put these systems in place to expect to have failures. When an incident, an injury occurs, you know, we did everything we can to structure this is so an incident, an injury wouldn’t occur, but somebody found a hole in the system, a chink in the armor.

[00:15:00] Now, that’s why its referred to as a failure rate. If that’s the only thing we’re focusing on rather than the things that Greg and I are talking about today, think about from a cultural perspective the motivational message that sends. And if our goal and our only communicated or most communicated goal is on the injury rate, well, of course that’s important. Think about how that sounds when you’re trying to communicate the reason for reducing that. “Alright folks, it’s almost 2015; I want you to work harder this year to fail less”. The goal is not to avoid failure in safety, the goal is to achieve success. And back to the model out of the book that I showed you, that kind of stairs diagram, that’s the first start with discovering. What does excellence in safety look like? And it’s not just the absence of injuries. The example I like to use is the Olympics. When the Olympics occurs, many countries to our right here in North America several hours ahead of us will hear which Olympians medaled in an event, and because of the time delay, we won’t see a performance until hours later.

So we’ll already know who got the gold, then we’ll watch the performance. We’ll say to ourselves, “That’s why she got the gold”, or, “That’s why she only got the silver”, because we could see the performance that contributed to the result. Yes, we all want the result, but we have to start looking at what is the performance that is going to get the result, and it’s not all about controlling. It’s about influencing. We have to control the compliance side, but we also have to influence as well. So realize again that we have an existing culture, we have perceptions that start at the top that influence people’s attitudes. If you hire somebody that has very negative beliefs about leadership support for safety, of course they’re going to have a bad attitude towards it. If I believe my boss really supports my decision to volunteer and get involved in safety improvement efforts, it’s going to affect my values.


Not just the shared values (and that’s a lot of what beliefs are, is shared beliefs that become a value in an organization) but it’s also the personal values, the things that we take with us as well that are based on our experiences as you’ll see in this model, that if I believe it’s a good idea to stop a job for a safety concern, I’m going to make a different decision if I don’t believe that it’s supported. When I make decision to stop a job for a safety concern, as one example, I have an expectation of what will occur when I behave that way. Behaviors are just what you do, what you say, how you say them, the words you use, you know, your body language, even your word product. But if I decide to stop a job so I behave in that way, I have an expectation of what will occur. Psychology points out that all disappointment is based on a set level of expectations. You’re disappointed if your expectations aren’t met, of course you’re going to be disappointed. But when I stop a job for a safety concern, and if I have a bad experience, thus the color you can see there on the screen, the more negative the experience is the louder the stories are that either (+)confirm or (-)conflict with my existing beliefs.

Now if I have a good experience, I might not tell that many people in the storytelling because why would I brag about that, I expected to have a good experience. If I have a great experience, I might tell a couple of people because it exceeded my expectations, but if I have a bad experience I tend to tell a lot of people. I’ve written several articles about this, and you can find this model, but it’s important when we start looking at this, you know, what are the beliefs that we want people to have in the organization? What do we want them to experience? If we want somebody to stop a job, is it very clear to the supervisor, as an example, what their roles and responsibilities are when somebody exercises that authority. Do they walk the job with them, or do they just say, “Trust me, everything’s fine. It’s okay, go back to work”. Now, if we want people to have certain beliefs, we have to look at what those experiences are because when those experiences become common, so then do the beliefs, so then do the behaviors that result.

This is why it’s important to realize we have an existing culture and these things are occurring within the culture. Are we managing the things that shape the culture, or are we being managed by it? So I have a couple of things before I turn it over to Greg to talk in several different ways and how you can kind of measure your culture here. One thing that we look at in the chemistry, I mention the climate inside the caring and cooperation, but when we look at chemistry as well, our company has executed about 2,000 consulting projects over our 21 years, it’ll be 21 years as a company this November, and study after study and all the big data that we roll this up, the organizations that rate highly on a measurement like this consistently outperform others. Now it is a subjective measurement because you’re kind of self-rating here, but sometimes in measurement an imprecise of the right thing can be better than a precise measurement of wrong thing. Just like your lagging indicators. As you get better and better at this, at safety, you have a lot less data so it loses its statistical significance and you have these random data points that are out there.

[00:20:00] So once we start looking at, well what do we want, what’s our culture look like here. If we had excellent results, what would we see? What would we hear regardless of the job site or the location that we visited, what would we hear that would be consistent that gives us that sense of confidence that these results we’re having are real? We know why we have zero injuries, it’s because of our purposeful intent, not just we think we were doing a lot of things and had good results, therefore it might just be lucky. So there is a measurement and Greg is going to talk about this before we wrap up today, but consider on the call here and we’ll provide you a framework to encourage this dialog to occur internally, but consider on this model and on the call here, write the number down and if you’re with other people in the organization, discuss what numbers you have. But on a scale of 1 to 10 to each one of these elements of what we call the Chemistry of Safety Culture Excellence, how do you score on a scale of 1 to 10?

Now this is where some decisions are made. You look at your entire company, you look at a site, and you look at a department. Well, it’s hard to know where everybody is coming from so you kind of have to look at that yourself, but on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being high, 5 is your middle road, 1 is you’re not even there yet or you haven’t even started, what’s the passion for safety excellence? What score would you give yourself on that? What about focus? How would you rate that? There’s clear understanding on what the focus is and the focus is precise and it’s transformative in nature. It’s if we know this one thing, if we can be excellent here, it would make a huge difference, either injury prevention or culture. Are the expectations of what performance, not just results, what performance is necessary clear? You could walk up to any manager, supervisor, employee and ask them, “What are your two most important responsibilities, what’s really the two most important things expected of you to shape our culture and help us contribute to injury incident prevention”?

And people would recite back to you what that is. Are we doing a good job with accountability? Most organizations tend to do more of what I refer to as reactive accountability. “We didn’t get the results we wanted… who need to be accountable”? That’s the reactive side. Proactive accountability (and I just use that term to see the difference, just like in safety we have proactive and reactive efforts) is what accountability is really all about. And it’s making sure people are doing the things necessary to get our results before checking to see how we did. So it’s more accountability on performance and what we need to do, what’s expected within this focus to get our results. So are we holding people accountable for the performance and it that, again, more proactive and is it more positive than negative? You would rate reinforcement high if you feel the right things are being reinforced in the absence of enforcement.

You feel confident that after orientation and on-boarding that the right things are being reinforced when people start working in the work environment. Vulnerability would be rated high if people believe, “It’s not going to happen to me”. They know there’s still an element of risk. We can’t engineer all risk out of any industrial setting. Now you don’t want people to go to an extreme and think, “It’s inevitable to get injured”. That’s the wrong side to that. You do want people to have a healthy appreciation for the risk. You don’t want them to feel like superman or superwoman, you know, even if we’re great in safety, there’s still always that chance you need to be on guard. So, would you rate vulnerability high? You would, if you feel as though that people know that even if we’re good in safety, there’s still always that chance. We’re not complacent. You would rate communication very high if you feel confident that it’s free flowing, that it’s boundary-less. It’s not being censored, with a c, in the organization. You know, people are looking for, “What does my boss really need to know?” and communicating that. “What do my people, my employees, really need to know?” and communicating that. We send a lot of signals in communication, but is knowledge-transfer occurring? The Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw said the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it’s taking place.

Now, is our communication transferring knowledge and not just sending signals? Measurement is largely what we’re talking about here today. Does your measurement motivate, excite, and prompt direct behavior in the organization. Does it give you insight into why results were achieved? You really look at what measurement is supposed to do and it’s supposed to be motivational. Think about your own organizations, where you’re coming from, how many of your employees are super motivated by your safety measurements? If the answer is very few, why not? How do we shape our measurement so they don’t just give us insight into how our lagging indicators do, but do the measurements help us to get better and continuously evolve, looking for better ways.


[00:25:00] And then the bonding agent that makes, individually, each one of these elements work and collectively as a whole, is trust. How would you rate trust? Now, it’s really interesting in the guide that we’ll give you as a result of this webinar, is the conversation frame work and how to have these conversations and if collectively the average is a six on vulnerability, and now a following question, “What would have to be true to move it from a six to a nine over the next year”? But again, it’s about identifying what excellence looks like, and then you start to define where we are against this. So the last couple of things for this point here, when we look at zero injuries, when we’re trying to get better and better at getting to that point of zero injuries, and it’s already been mentioned that your data starts to be lost a little bit, and we start to focus on leading indicators. But there’s another type of indicator I’m encouraging you to consider today and that’s what we call transformational indicators. That indicator gives you insight into the value contribution of your leading indicators to your lagging indicators. It’s the why the results were achieved answer. What companies tend to do is they’re eventually trying to get to this point of kind of a balanced scorecard approach to it.

But what tends to happen on our progression here is we look at our results and then we start measuring the things that we’re doing: our audits, our inspections, our observations, our training, and our communication. If we’re doing all this, what’s the value contribution? If we’re doing training and it’s not changing what people know, how effective was the training? If we’re doing training and it’s not changing what people believe, or it’s not changing common practice – what they do – there’s really no return on investment in training. And I’ll talk more about strategy and why this model is so important. But when you start looking at what’s transformational, what’s transformational is do people need to know what we need them to know. That’s what we refer to as the Safety IQ. Do they believe what we need them to believe? And that’s why it starts with defining, “If we had excellence in our culture here (because our culture is unique) what are the three, four, five beliefs or perceptions, if you will, that would be a strategic importance to us to help us evolve to where we’re going”?

Do people believe those things? Go back to the other model. What experiences are shaping those beliefs? But more and more organizations are moving towards, “We first proposed this in the early 2000s – the balanced scorecard for safety – and not just looking at the results and not just looking at the results and not just looking at what we’re doing to manage safety. If we’re doing things to manage safety, is it influencing the culture and is it influencing performance. Because, again, if we’re doing a lot of things and it’s not changing what our people know, believe, or do, is there any real ROI in our performance”? And the last example for this particular model here, if you look at the similarities between health and safety (there’s a doctor by the name, a very famous physician named Dr. Larry Brilliant – he helped eradicate small pox from the world on that team in the 1970s. He came up with a mantra in healthcare that I’ve been advocating for years throughout all of North America to get people to try to internalize in safety. His mantra is, “Early detection, early response”. It’s the same thing in safety, if we can detect things early we can respond. Now, to react is negative. In healthcare, if your body reacts to a procedure, that’s bad. If it responds to a procedure, that’s good. Are we responding and not just reacting? And in healthcare, let’s walk down to the same model here. Your lagging indicators are a heart attack. Your leading indicators, if we think about how to managing safety, is how often am I exercising, how many calories am I taking in and how many am I burning? You may even look at your sodium intake if you’re going that far for heart health.


We look at all these things, what are we doing to shape our health? And what tends to happen is we say we’re doing these things and we haven’t had a heart attack, therefore, we must be healthy. Your blood pressure is a transformational indicator. If you think that you’re very healthy and all of a sudden you check your blood pressure, and you’re exercising and eating right, and you have high blood pressure, the answer isn’t more. And that’s often what we do in safety, you know, we find out things aren’t where we need them to be so let’s do more in safety. And most organizations we consult with, and most of them are the best in safety, they don’t get better every year by doing more. They get better by focusing the energy that they already have in safety. Now, more isn’t always the answer. Better is the answer. But blood pressure is an example of a transformational indicator, because if you still have high blood pressure, you then need to change the things you do. The answer isn’t just doing more. And when we think about this in safety, what often become those transformational things, do people believe what we need them to believe? Are they making the decisions that we need them to make?

[00:30:00] Now, if an injury occurs, you’re trying to gather insight into the decision. You know, in the military we called it an After-Action Review. We’re trying to understand why people made those decisions. Behaviors are transformational, and so are the experiences and the stories. Some of them are hard to measure, but they are so valuable and so insightful. If you have five or six major safety programs and if there are five important things you need people to know as a result of those five or six major safety programs, go out and do a quiz. Do people know what you need them to know? If you’re doing a bunch of training about Lock Out, Tag Out, and you ask them a couple of questions like where the procedures are located at, and you’ve done a bunch of training and they don’t know, well, that’s pretty transformational and insightful.

So what I’d like to do, and we’ll talk more about this, is that I’d like to invite Greg to join us once again and outline a practical way to measure your organization’s current safety culture.



Greg Ford: Thanks, Shawn. So to those of you who did join us a bit late, my name is Greg Ford. I’m with TalentClick. You’ve been listening to Shawn Galloway, and for those of you who haven’t seen Shawn speak at any conferences, I’m sure you can tell already that he’s a great speaker very knowledgeable. And Shawn, one of the things that’d I’ve heard you say which has really resonated with me, and this was right at the start so some of you may have missed this, is that we already have a safety culture. We just need to evolve it. For those of you who aren’t quite sure where we fit in to things versus Shawn and his organization, our organization is focused on industrial psychology and some of the measurement tools. So when we talk about how we have a safety culture already and we just want to evolve it to a place in the future, well, in order to know where we’re going, we need to know where we’re starting from. And that’s where we come in with the diagnostic tool, if you will. Shawn was talking about healthcare a second ago and early detection, so we provide that. Let’s call it a description in order to get to the prescription. A diagnostic tool like this, let me call it a safety perception survey or what have you, it is very similar to an employee engagement survey or an employee satisfaction survey, for those of you have ever taken part in that kind of thing.

So let’s move on to the next slide. Most of these perception surveys or safety culture assessments are done online. They’re quick and easy to do if you’ve never done one before; there’s very little work involved for you. Typically, it would be about 70 questions or so, which would take 10 or 12 minutes to complete. The responses are anonymous. Now, here’s the thing: you would want at least 10% of your employees to complete this, if not a whole lot more. Now this is a function of the size of your company. If you have 10,000 people in your company, getting 10% of them (1,000) is a pretty good sample size. If you have only 100 people in your organization, well 10% equals 10 people, that’s not a very good representative sample. So just keep that in mind when you’re thinking about the number of people. And the final key point with this, we recommend it’s a mix between the top to bottom levels of employees (so the frontline workers, the supervisors, the foreman, and so forth, as well as the managers). I’ll explain more about that in a second. So the results are represented in five different ways. The first box you see is kind of the aggregate score and I’ll show you one of these examples in a minute, but this is all employees that answered in the organization. It’s then broken down into several other sub sections.

The next one is your managers. The one after that could be your supervisors and the front-line foreman or team leaders. The next one is the actual front-line workers. The final piece of business intelligence could from benchmarking against your industry average. Let me show you what some of these report pages might look like. The next page shows you several boxes. In the pyramid, you’ll see the different levels of managers, supervisors, and the front-line workers. Each of those sections or levels of people get rated and you can see the boxes 1, 2, and 3. There’s the management scorecard, the scorecard for supervisors, the front-line people and so on. And that’s really good insight as to how different people in the organization are rating the different levels. In some ways, it’s almost like a 360 degree review. The executives often have a different perception of the organization than the frontline workers. Just as with an employee engagement survey, you might have gaps and blind spots.

[00:35:00] Look at this as almost like a gap analysis, if you will, and how there’s a disconnection between what upper levels and what lower levels might think. OK, let’s look at the next one. We’re not going to go through each of these sections of the pie chart, but the data can be sliced and diced in different ways (i.e. type, physical work locations or business units. It can even be based on things like tenure. You can compare people on the job for 10 or 20 years versus new hires and just compare the perceptions of all these different people in different levels and different locations and so forth. And it becomes very powerful business intelligence for moving forward and looking at where you want to evolve.

The final one is interesting. This can give you a really good sense of what the individual comments are. Again, they are anonymous, but they’re captured and given back to you so that you can actually get first-hand comments on what these people are actually saying about the organization. A good survey will rank the highest rated questions versus the lowest rated responses and so on. So that’s it for me, just a quick overview of how one measures this and what the future might look like and how to get there. So Shawn Galloway is going to finish things off with a few last slides.



Shawn Galloway: Great, I appreciate that. Good to be back. What valuable information and this is exactly what I’ll be talking about here is that if you don’t have data to determine where to go in the organization, you tend to lead your efforts by opinion. As we all know, that’s not a very good idea. Now, in the very beginning we have opinions and that goes back to as businesses want to capture market share and we in safety want to capture attention share, we look at that more of a hypothesis of where do we think we could win? Where do we think our culture is at? But exactly to Greg’s point, if you don’t have data, we tend to use these opinions. And here’s how the opinions, without this data, tend to shape the strategy of a lot of organizations. It’s what we call, in our organization, the perpetual cycle of avoiding failure. And it looks like this.

And think about for your own organization if you’ve fallen into this trap. Step-by-step you review your incident rate, you set a new incident rate goal, you develop a list of initiatives and you execute those initiatives. And then you look at your incident rate. How did we do? Marshall Goldsmith, great author and leadership coach, has a great saying that he calls the success delusion. And it’s so very true, both personally and professionally. And it sounds like this: “I’m successful. I behave this way. Therefore, I’m successful because of the way I behave”. Not necessarily. Now, what tends to happen is we do a lot of things in safety, and what happens when we get improvement, whether it’s the Honeymoon or Hawthorn effect (you know, we’re getting results just by focusing our attention on it), but sustainability is always a challenge.

We know that correlation doesn’t mean causation, but we forget this sometimes. We’ve done so many new things in safety, we had better performance, and therefore we had better performance because we did these things. Maybe it’s normal variation. Maybe it was brute force communication. Maybe we just got luckier this year. This is why it’s so important to have the type of data that Greg’s talking about. There’s a lot of different ways that you can gather data. What Greg provides is a keen insight into the organizational reality. And you need that information to have a real strategy.


It’s a bit of a busy slide here, so let me talk you through this. Let’s first back up and talk about what a strategy is. Respectfully, zero injuries is not a strategy. To become a world-class safety organization, that’s not a strategy. That’s a destination. That’s a good end in mind. That’s a good goal or objective. That’s not a strategy. This is how I define a strategy: a strategy is a framework of choices the organization makes to determine how to capture and deliver value. Strategy then is, “How do we win”? Going back to what I started with earlier with my time with you today, how exactly do we win? And are we delivering value to those customers of ours in safety? If we’re doing a bunch of things and people don’t see value in it, if we’re doing too many and become an administrative nightmare, they turn off the safety. We’re not soliciting and winning the hearts and minds of our customers, they’re doing it because they have to. So, if we’re going to set about a strategy, it first starts with that vision. And I’m not referring to a vision statement or a list of values. It’s what, at the executive level, we all agree on what excellence would look like in our organization.

[00:40:00] Now we need some data to determine where we’re at. And Greg, over on the right hand side, can provide some fantastic data about where your current organization is, your incoming employees that you’re about to hire and where their mindset may be at in safety. You need data? You probably have it on the left hand side there. If you look at your injuries and they’re mostly conditionally related, well, you’ve determined which one to focus on; the hazards or the real barriers that are out there. Is it mostly behaviorally preventable, or is it the mandatory variables or variation from the rules? Is it the discretionary behaviors? We try to focus more on coaching and influence. Do you have more injuries and incidents on certain days of the week, times of day, tenure of the employee? You look at all that to set your key priorities and then you start to determine which initiatives, programs, training, would support the priority that’s based on the data.

What tends to happen, and we get companies calling us all the time, “We want to do this thing”, or, “We know you do this and we want you to come do this for us”, and when we’re asking them what data is driving this or why are we doing this, the program becomes the strategy rather than the program fitting within the priorities that are part of the strategy. Just going back to that part on strategy, it’s a series of choices. And sometimes one of the most difficult things is what we’re not going to do in safety. And it’s almost politically incorrect to say that we’re not going to do everything we can to improve safety, but that is the reality. We can’t do every program and process and training packages out there. We’d go broke. So we have to choose what we’re going to do and even when we look at the data, there may be choices that have to be deferred by a couple of years because that’s just the operational reality. We have to know where we’re at. What are the current beliefs? What’s the psychology of the organization?



Once we have those key beliefs and once we know where we’re at (and even more so why people believe those things), then we can start setting our priorities to start changing the chemistry of the organization and the climate of the organization. But in here, I’m encouraging you not to have your program or your training become your strategy. It needs to be an initiative that fits within everything. So last four things that I want to leave you with, and then I’ll turn it back over to Greg, is that these are four insightful questions that have worked so well for me and the organizations that I work with. I encourage you to take these questions back and start asking them within the organization. Now, the answers you get will be a collection of opinions and everything; that’s why you need the data Greg is suggesting. But having these questions starts the collaboration and starts getting people engaged. And W. Edwards Deming said it so well in the 1950s is that people support what they help to create.

Get people involved and have this dialogue and start the question about what is safety excellence. If we had zero injuries, what would we see, what would we hear that’s common and gets us insight into why we have those results (so what’s observable)? Again, just like my health example, health isn’t the absence of visible disease. What does safety excellence mean? And I will tell you to get a little insight, even though we work with some wonderful organizations, sometimes when we have this dialogue, even at the executive level of the organization, the executive team is not always on the same page about what excellence really is, who is responsible for achieving it, how long it’s going to take to get there, and the resources and costs to make that happen. And if the executive team isn’t on the same page with that first question, it’s no wonder we have these multiple safety cultures that are cascaded throughout the organization. So start with that.

The next question is, “How do we currently add value and motivate safety excellence”? Are we delivering value to the customers of our safety efforts? Now some of the value has to do with regulatory costs and public impression. There are certain things that are hard and fast business that we need to make sure we’re reducing risk. It concerns me when I hear safety professionals say things like, “Our job is to work ourselves out a job”. No, that’s not the case because then we allow management to think, “If we have fewer injuries, why do we need all these safety professionals around here”? It’s not about reduction of cost and risk. It’s about adding value to the business. What do we do that adds value to the business to help the business be more successful with our safety efforts? It’s contribution of value. In the beginning, of course that value is cost reduction. But it’s not about reducing and removing things; it’s about adding things to the organization.

[00:45:00] So what are we currently doing to motivate safety excellence? Not the blocking and tackling the rules, policies, and procedures, but what are we doing right now that motivate safety excellence? Now the reality is when you’re looking at motivation is most people are inherently and intrinsically motivated to want to do a good job and want to feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. The reality in performance management and motivation is most people wake up motivated to come to work and get it beaten out of them. The goal isn’t to say let’s add more motivators. The goal is about trying to understand what is currently demotivating it? What are we doing that demotivates safety excellence? Here’s a quick and concrete example. You want people to report near misses. Well, even with good intentions, some organizations will start penalizing the reporting of near misses which can create a fiction writing contest. Rather, why don’t people report near misses? Let’s address the demotivators. Is it clear? Is there a common definition about what a near miss really is? Is it clear to them what will happen? Is there anonymity or are names collected? Do people get in trouble with a near miss or do we look at a near miss and think it’s a gift to us that we can learn from, or is it more who did what wrong and blame follows? What are we doing that might be demotivating?

And again, going back to the strategy and the choices, sometimes the best question isn’t what can we start doing but what do we need to stop doing? Sometimes we just need to get out of people’s way and help them be successful. So the fourth part to that is, “If we couldn’t punish, how would we ensure rule following”? So it’s called a lateral thinking exercise. What if the regulatory agency in your area said it would fine you tens of millions for punishing an employee for a safety violation? We tend to always default to trying to stop things in safety and over-discipline in some situations. What is discipline wasn’t even a tool we had available to us? Drucker pointed this out in the 1960s that not-for-profit organizations can teach a lot about management leadership to for-profit organizations because you can’t fire your volunteer workforce. If you want people to give their time and their money, you can’t punish a volunteer because they won’t show up then! How do we get people motivated? How do we encourage them? And then that goes back all the way around, and we keep looking at this, what really is safety excellence? What are we doing that’s motivating them? What are we doing to add value to the customers of safety to make safety excellence a reality? What might we be doing that we just need to stop doing that is doing more harm than good? And if we really want people to above and beyond, how do we look at influence rather than just trying to add more demotivators or more punishment? I’m going to turn it back to Greg. I’ve had a great time talking with you all today. Here’s Greg.



Greg Ford: Thanks, Shawn. And you can’t go away because we do have some questions that have come in and I see the first one is one that is best fielded by you. Before we get to that, I just want to thank everyone attending today. We have a few minutes left for questions and answers. If you haven’t sent in a question and you have one, go ahead and do that through the control panel through the dashboard. If you have any that are not answered today or after the fact, feel free to just send us an email. I’ll put up the email address on the very last slide here in a minute. Also, as a thank you for attending, we have a couple of things for you. Terry Mathis and Shawn from ProAct Safety are being very kind and generous in offering a free safety culture maturity measurement tool that measures the chemistry of safety culture excellence. To ensure you get that free gift, make sure you add us to your safe senders list. I believe you got an email from Jeff Swan and that email address is jswan@talentclick.com. So Jeff will be in touch with that. The other thing is we’re offering, from TalentClick, a diagnostic tool so you can do your own safety culture assessment. It’s a complimentary one we’re giving to you for attending today. I’ll tell you what the value is with that because I see one of the questions is how much does this kind of thing cost? I don’t want to make it a commercial, but I will say, in general, it is much less than most people think. It starts at around $2500 for a basic assessment and as I said, that would be the value that we’re providing to you folks for attending today. So thank you very much.

[00:50:00] Let’s move on to our final slide and I’ll put up that email address, so there it is in the middle: connect@talentclick.com and the phone number is on the bottom of the screen there. We do hope you found value in the discussion today and we do welcome your feedback. Feel free to send us an email or questions at any time. So the second question is from Robert. Shawn, the question is should we be building a safety culture or should we be building our leadership culture in doing the right thing?

Shawn Galloway: That’s an excellent thing. I think those are excellent chicken and egg type of questions. Also, don’t forget the supervisors in the middle. What tends to happen with a lot of top-down and bottom-up approaches is supervisors tend to get squeezed out. I would first start with educating the leadership because the leadership has to be the one to make these decisions. Now, your culture will already exist and your culture is the sustainability mechanism. Now what’s interesting is that cultures don’t actually resist change, cultures are already changing all the time. They resist the force of the change. It’s important that the leaders approach this not through more force. Forced change is almost always temporary, especially when the force goes away, and so does change. So the best way I can answer that is you have to build the leadership capabilities. You have to have of course the characteristics, but they have to have those capabilities and sometimes it starts with that realistic discussion that has to occur on what is the culture that we want. You know, behind closed doors with a lot of boards and a lot of senior executives, quite frankly just because the business reality sometimes their answer is, “Sure we want to get to safety culture excellence, but the reality is we most likely won’t be there for another 10 years. Right now all we can focus on is just trying to be better year after year”. And that’s the reality of things sometimes. But you do have to build your leadership and their capabilities because of course if they’re in command and control and you want to create that safety culture of collaboration, well you do need to have the leadership. But where I would first start is to think strategically about this to answer your own questions. Use Greg’s survey and look at your own and say, “Where are our existing leaders”? If you could only put them into two categories, where would you put your leaders? Are they more those that are trying to influence and become the change agent and challenge status quo thinking, or are they okay with just managing status quo? What happens if the supervisor is a change agent with a manager who is okay with the status quo? How long will that supervisor still be a change agent or be with the organization?

So again, it’s kind of that chicken and egg. You do need to have the right leadership with the right capabilities, but start first with the discussion of where are we trying to go? What does that culture of excellence look like? Do we have the right leadership skills to get us there? Do we have the skills, but we’re just not holding each other accountable? Are we measuring the wrong thing? Are we measuring what we want and motivating it when we get more of it?Or are we spending more time focusing and measuring on what we don’t want? So it starts with having that strategy and the right data to answer that question for yourself. Is it really leadership skills? Do we need people to be more coaching to give people different experiences? Do people not have the skills? Then you might need to develop your leadership aspect of the culture first. But I would encourage that you gather some data around that so if you do act on it, you’ll be able to come back to that data and measurably indicate if it made a different or not.

Greg Ford: Excellent. Thanks, Shawn. Very good answer. We’re coming up on the hour and we’re not going to be able to get through all the questions, so as I’ve mentioned earlier, we’ll do our best to get back to you outside of this session. One last thing: it’s been drawn to my attention that we may have had a few audio difficulties for a few people, so we apologize for that. We have recorded this, so Jeff at TalentClick will be sending out a recording that you’re welcome to listen to and the audio should be just fine on that. And of course you’re welcome to forward that to anyone else you like. So once again, respecting everyone’s time, we’re going to wrap things up now and we sure appreciate everyone’s time and interest. Thank you so much and we look forward to the next one together. On behalf of Shawn and myself, take care and have a safe day.