How to Build a Safe and Engaging Work Environment: 5 Tips
by Tim Badolato, on Feb 5, 2024 9:30:00 AM
Imagine this: You’re working at a hotel, trying to clean rooms as quickly as you can to prepare them for check-in. Your boss had stated the day before that there were some particularly important clients checking in today and to pay extra attention to their rooms.
You’re in the hallway switching from one room to the next when you notice someone lingering at the end of the hall who doesn’t seem to be a guest and is certainly not a staff member. Now, you feel unsafe continuing down the hallway, but you know you have to finish preparing the rest of the rooms in a timely manner.
When people are at work, they have enough to worry about. Don’t make them worry about their safety on top of normal workplace stressors.
Taking steps to make the workplace safer allows you to focus on employee engagement and team cohesion. That way, you can make the workplace not only safe but also enjoyable for all. Let’s walk through five top tips for improving workplace safety and engagement.
1. Adopt a workplace violence policy.
Did you know that 99% of nonfatal assaults at work occur in the service-providing industry? When you create a workplace violence policy, you show that your business is committed to preventing these incidents and taking workplace safety seriously.
Workplace violence policies clearly outline the repercussions of violent behavior to discourage incidents and make the procedure for dealing with workplace violence transparent. When employees know there is a system in place for handling workplace violence, they’ll be more likely to report incidents that arise. As a result, you’ll increase employee productivity and retention because your staff can focus more energy on their work and less on worrying about their safety.
2. Use workplace safety tools.
Once you adopt your workplace violence policy, the next step is to implement workplace safety tools that enhance employee security. While you may already have security cameras and voice communication devices installed, these methods are not proactive enough. There may be hundreds of rooms in a workplace like an office building or hotel, making it difficult to pinpoint where an issue is occurring.
Workplace safety tools like panic buttons allow employees to easily notify security personnel of any issues. As a result, security members can respond to issues more quickly. Businesses can even opt for silent panic buttons so employees can discreetly call for help in a dangerous situation.
Using these tools makes employees more likely to report issues because it’s very easy to do so. This proactive method is helpful in preventing incidents as well because it’s fairly effortless for employees to press the button when they come across a potential threat. Employees can also leverage panic buttons in emergencies such as health crises or fires to get help as quickly as possible.
3. Prioritize employee recognition.
When people feel safe at work, you can focus on making the workplace more engaging. Recognizing your employees’ achievements will make them feel more motivated and inspired to continue their hard work. You can even tailor your recognition program to specifically reward employees for reinforcing workplace safety.
Double the Donation’s guide to employee recognition ideas recommends implementing the following methods:
- Thank-you notes. A quick thank-you note is an easy way to show appreciation for your employees. For example, if you notice an employee consistently completing their work both efficiently and accurately, send them a thank-you note to show you notice their efforts. You could also send thank-you notes to reward safety-conscious behavior, such as using panic buttons if issues arise.
- Awards. To reinforce safety-conscious behavior, hold an awards ceremony where you recognize employees who uphold workplace safety precautions. Honor these employees with small gifts such as gift cards or a free meal and explain to your team how their efforts help make the workplace safer.
- Events. Lastly, host an employee appreciation event to show your team how much you care. You may opt to host a party at the end of the year to celebrate your team members’ accomplishments, both work and safety-related.
Not only does rewarding hard work and safety-conscious behavior make employees feel good, but it also cultivates a positive company culture. A robust recognition program gives employees something to work toward and encourages them to make the workplace a better place.
4. Encourage your team to get to know each other.
Prioritizing team cohesion and collaboration as a company value can create a safer workplace. When employees know each other on a more personal level, they’ll feel more comfortable communicating with each other and going to coworkers with workplace safety concerns.
To help build a foundation of trust between employees, host events where employees can get to know each other. For example, you could cater lunch or host an after-work happy hour so people can mingle and form personal connections.
You can also reinforce workplace safety with peer-to-peer recognition. eCardWidget explains that peer-to-peer recognition contributes to a positive work environment because coworkers proactively commend each other on a job well done. Encourage employees to send each other a quick thank-you email when they see each other working hard or upholding company safety precautions so they can recognize their fellow team members’ commitment to a safe, engaging work environment.
5. Check in with each employee.
It’s important to check in with each employee regularly to see how they’re doing and address any concerns. When employees feel they have the opportunity to speak up and voice their opinions, they’ll feel more comfortable doing so.
This practice can benefit both work performance and workplace safety. For example, if an employee notices a safety concern, they may question if they should speak up about it. However, if they’re encouraged to voice their concerns in weekly check-ins, they may feel more empowered to bring the issue to a member of leadership’s attention.
In addition to weekly meetings, you could also send out surveys as another employee touchpoint. Surveys can help streamline employee feedback and safety concerns. Consider creating a survey specifically for reporting non-emergency safety concerns and sharing suggestions for making the workplace safer.
If you want employees to perform at their best, you have to first ensure they feel safe in the workplace. By implementing workplace safety policies, tools, and practices, you can prevent and respond to safety issues in a systematic way. As a result, you’ll create a work environment that’s not only safe but also welcoming and enjoyable for your employees.
To sign up for a free demo of React Mobile's workplace safety platform click here.