In many companies, management claims safety is a core value, yet employees perceive it is less important than other corporate functions (such as production and quality). During slow times, safety is considered a high priority, only to be forgotten during rush production periods.
From reality to the visionThe steps you need to take to begin to bring your vision to life depend on the results of a reality check â€” in the form of an organization-wide perception survey â€” and the description of your vision. The steps often will look like this:
1) Communicate to all employees the vision. Have the top leaders explain where they intend to go â€” directions, plans and goals for safety.
2) Communicate to all employees the results of the perception survey reality check. Place a major emphasis on the hourly employeesâ€™ perception of where the organization is today.
3) Communicate to all employees how the vision can be achieved. This might include getting a better understanding of why the reality check, the perceptions, came out as they did. Hold discussions with cross-sectional study teams, further interviews, etc.
4) Communicate to all employees the steps to be taken. Usually this entails:
- A clear definition of roles for each level of the organization from hourly worker up to and including the CEO.
- A clear definition of tasks that each person will be required to perform.
- A clear measurement for each person to show whether or not tasks are performed.
- A clear statement of what will be the reward contingent upon task achievement.
There may be much more â€” task forces for various aspects of the system, for instance.
And most important, once your accountability system is in place, make every effort to get the active participation and involvement of every employee. Employees must be free to choose to participate. And activities must be meaningful things connected to safety (not just the grunt work that managers are too busy to do).
ReferencesCollins, J. and J. Porras, Built to Last. Harper Collins, NY, 1994.
Collins, J., Good to Great, Harper Collins, NY, 2001.