Consequently, it is unsurprising that the first step of any successful strategy is to enhance employee safety. In the age of Coronavirus, we have become acutely aware of the need to protect employees from illness and have comprehensive safety plans in place. Employees are human beings first and foremost, and as humans, we have an inherent need for security. This security can be psychological or physical, but it must exist for employees to do their best work.
To create psychological security, each employee must feel part of something, which encourages them to stay loyal and motivated. As a result, companies need to develop open lines of communication with their employees to “create the right climate, mindsets, and behaviors within their teams” [mckinsey.com]. Additionally, many companies offer training opportunities both on and off the job. These opportunities boost a sense of belonging for each employee.
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Physical security is also a factor in maintaining a safe workplace. A company should have several safety protocols in place, first and foremost being an identified chain of command. If a safety hazard is specified, the system should immediately notify the highest-ranking employee contact. This process ensures that all employees are working safely and that no accidents go unnoticed. Alerting those in the relevant departments to safety threats also plays a big part in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus. Regular employee testing within departments allowed management to identify risks and enabled them to pinpoint and trace those to whom the virus may have extended. In addition to this, each employee must have their set of safety equipment to guarantee that they can protect themselves from harm at any given time.
The changing landscape of the modern workplace and its impact on employee safety
Working is no longer just about arriving at a place with designated hours to complete tasks. For example, a study conducted by CPS Advisory Council found that “the number of deaths occurring outside the physical confines of people’s worksites has more than doubled since 2000, representing an increasing share of all occupational fatalities”. This statistic alone emphasises how important it is to identify unsafe behaviour in these non-traditional settings so a company can adequately educate employees on their surroundings.
Employees are less likely to engage in safety behaviours if they don’t understand the risks of their surroundings or how their work practices can impact Safety. “Education is a vital part of employee safety…Safety and risk education should be a mandatory part of onboarding when you join a company,” comments Birlasoft’s Sougat Chakravartty. However, according to “Canada’s Report on the Prevention of Falls at Workplaces” (published for the first time in January 2014), more than 25% of workers reported not receiving information on precautions to prevent falls before commencing their job. These findings highlight one of the significant challenges for workplace safety: educating employees about the risks they face and how to mitigate them.
Management and HR leaders must take the initiative and provide their employees with the necessary guidance. In addition, companies could consider using supplementary solutions such as an HCM system to relieve some of this responsibility’s pressure.
“An HCM system entails various different offerings such as digital assistant features, workplaces safety and incident registers, along with educational resources. These functions help to aid both employers and employees in preventing and managing safety issues proactively.” [Sougat Chakravartty, Birlasoft]
How to enhance employee safety in a hybrid era workplace