Workplace accidents, theft, drug use and other issues that impact the safety and well-being of all employees need to be vigilantly addressed before they become a problem.
Because of the difficulty of finding qualified talent, companies have become lax in ensuring they have the right people in the right jobs. As a result, health and safety issues that could be prevented by good selection practices, safety training and ongoing communication are often overlooked.
A general manager of a medium-sized production company does not reinforce the hiring policies set by the owners, including drug testing. Since they were not used when he was hired and his mandate is to control costs, he doesn’t use these hiring policies either. As a result, one drug user has become two, and drug use and distribution are rapidly growing among employees. To make the situation worse, the GM has pushed the responsibility for documentation onto the employees and then diminishes the importance of their evidence. These ill-advised and dangerous management practices have created high turnover, poor product quality and suffering ROI.
While this may seem like an extreme case of negligence, being an ostrich and sticking one’s head in the sand will not transform poor practices. It’s everyone’s number one responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of all employees at all times.
Proper Due Diligence. This is where employers can make the biggest difference. It’s better to keep a job open than to hire anyone with a history of theft, drug use and distribution, and other employment-related issues that can turn into safety concerns (don’t forget, white-collar crime is on the rise). Remember, good employees will research the company online, including social media postings. They are not interested in working for a company that doesn’t value its employees.
Use a qualified core value assessment that looks beyond background checks (which rely solely on public records) and into a person’s ability to arrive to work on time, respect others and speak up when there are violations of standard operating procedures. The right tool is inexpensive and will positively impact company profitability and well-being.
Job Fit Is Key. When employees are not happy in their jobs, they do the minimum work necessary to keep their jobs, and productivity suffers. In turn, they will usually find another outlet to make their work more interesting, which may not support the values, policies and safety practices of the company.
Qualified job fit assessments, when used properly, ensure people are in the right jobs. (How do you determine that an assessment is qualified when there are so many to choose from? Get your copy of Hire Amazing Employees to find out.)
Employee Orientation and Training. According to an Institute of Work and Health research study, only 1 in 5 companies provide training for a new job!
Train all employees before they start their jobs. Then, consistently and rigorously reinforce work and safety practices, including: How do they report a problem or concern? When do they do so? Who do they tell? Remember, any bullying and intimidation should be handled immediately when employees step forward to report violations or other concerns.
Vigilant Communication. When someone has the courage to speak up, OSHA citations, workers’ compensation claims and employment litigation can be prevented. It only takes one lax moment to have someone, and the company, get hurt.
Don’t forget to use different communication vehicles (wall banners and postings, department meetings, pep talks before and after shifts, texting (when not driving), etc.) as reminders. It is critical managers hold each and every employee, and each other, accountable for following standard operating procedures in a safe manner, whether or not the issue is in their department.
Safety and well-being should be #1 in any company. Ensure proper hiring, training and communication practices are reflected in this all-important commitment.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2017
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Jeannette Seibly has been a business advisor and executive coach for over 24 years; along the way, she’s guided the creation of three millionaires. She is laser sharp at identifying the leverage points that will take a business and its team to the next level of performance and success. She also has extensive experience providing qualified assessments for hiring, coaching, training and managing great employees. Check out her website, or contact Jeannette for a free confidential conversation.