Culture is an archaeological construct and it stands to reason that you have to dig a bit in order to find out what’s really going on in your organization.

When I conduct various types of culture assessments for safety, people often get nervous. Many feel that they might be unnecessarily exposed. But if you aren’t getting dirty and going deeper and broader, you’ll never get better! 

If you don’t dig up some “dirt” and find out about the “bad stuff” - why begin to contemplate conducting a culture assessment for safety in the first place?

Here are six ways to get dirty and begin to improve your culture for safety:

1. Anonymous pencil and paper perception surveys provide a wealth of comparative information about our cultures for safety which needs to be embraced and acted upon, when appropriate and necessary.

2. Open-ended questions placed near the end of the survey provide valuable information that needs to be further explored.

3. Safety focus sessions give homogeneous groups a chance to voice their opinions. This type of upward feedback can be ranked and sorted in order of importance and provide further insights not revealed in the perception survey.

4. On-the-floor or in-the-field interviews provide a valuable means for open two-way discussions for EHS improvements.

5.  Properly executed employee safety suggestion boxes are a very simple and straightforward way to bring up some dirt that can be used for ongoing improvements.

6. Safety maturity matrices and grids offer groups of people further insights and strategic road maps for improvement, but you need to have the right cross section of participants.

Any way you look at it – you have to dig up some dirt on your organization if you want to get better. 

Better yet, your leaders need to get dirty, a bit naked, and more transparent with your people too!