Your company culture will make or break the success of your safety initiatives. You can create the best policies, procedures and training programs, but if stakeholders companywide aren’t concerned with creating a safer workplace, it’ll be tough to realize lasting results.
While your executives can positively impact your culture, your management team is ultimately responsible for creating it. The people to whom your workers directly report will have the greatest impact on their attitudes towards (and compliance with) your safety initiatives, and it’s critical that you get them on board.
To that end, it’s important to understand the telltale signs your management team is not on board, so you can adjust your program and communication efforts accordingly. Here are eight of the most common indicators your higher-ups aren’t aligned with your safety culture.
1. A Lack of Engagement
Whether they realize it or not, managers lead by example. They can relay policy changes and training requirements, but if they’re not actively participating themselves, you can’t expect more from your workers.
Are your managers playing active roles during training? Are they leading toolbox talks? Are they observing new rules, and are they explaining the reasons for those rules to their teams? If not, don’t expect major changes to your safety culture–or your incident rates.
2. Unsafe Behaviors
Likewise, if your managers aren’t observing safe practices themselves, their subordinates won’t take your program seriously. Their actions carry more weight than their words, and it’s imperative that they consistently exemplify safe working methods.
3. Negative Employee Feedback
As a safety manager, you likely interview workers throughout the year to learn about their concerns, interests and attitudes towards your program. What do they have to say about their managers, specifically with regards to safety? Hopefully they can say their superiors are committed to their safety, but that’s not always the case.
4. Poor Communication
Even if you use a safety software suite to get the word out about your programs, management is ultimately responsible for relaying updates and requirements to workers. Employees throughout your organization should observe new policies and show up to training without constant prodding on your part. If you’re having to send constant reminders, it’s likely your management isn’t helping out.
5. Low Time Commitment
Training certainly takes time, but if it helps reduce incident rates, that time is well spent. In some organizations, however, managers will avoid dedicating team member time to training sessions, particularly when deadlines are fast-approaching. If this scenario sounds familiar, your management teams may not understand the importance – or the bottom-line benefits – of consistent safety training.
6. Budgetary Disagreements
Every set of stakeholders has its own concerns, and it’s normal for different teams to have different priorities. In a safety-focused organization, however, there shouldn’t be too much disagreement regarding the need for personal protective equipment, hazardous machinery maintenance and other safety-related expenses. If you struggle to convince managers of the importance of safety spending, they may not be on board with the culture you’re trying to create.
7. A Stubborn Mindset
An over-reliance on tradition doesn’t improve productivity, nor does it make workers safer. Safety improvements require open-mindedness and a willingness to embrace new methods, and a stubborn resistance to change is a sure sign your management is not on board.
8. A Lack of Results
Ultimately, one of the most tell-tale signs your management isn’t aligned with your safety culture is a lack of results. If your incident rates aren’t improving, if your workers’ morale is low, and if your injury-related expenses are growing, consult your leadership. Getting them on board could be your greatest opportunity for positive change.
Changing your company culture isn’t easy, but it can be done. To learn how a safety software suite can help, download our eBook, 9 Ways to Make Your Job as a Safety Manager Easier.