Building Employee Engagement for a Stronger Safety Culture (part 8)

one-on-one10-things-employee-engagementLast issue we looked at the first three drivers (of six) for building employee engagement.  In this issue we look at the final three drivers of engagement for a stronger safety culture.  Keep in mind throughout this discussion that these drivers should not be considered in isolation.  They must be integrated together to be most effective.  We’ll return to this point at the end of the article, and provide an example of how this works.[content_protector password=”EeP-8″ identifier=”EeP-8″]

As a reminder, the drivers of engagement include:

  1. Perception of job contribution and value of the job
  2. Clarity of job expectations and the ability to work well
  3. Involvement in decision making
  4. Opportunities for development and growth
  5. Regular, quality, two-way feedback with a supervisor
  6. Immediate recognition for achievement

Since we’ve already covered the first three of these in a previous article, we’ll elaborate only on drivers 4-6 below:

4. Opportunities for development and growth: The normal learning path in place for moving from an Operator 1 to an Operator 2 position is one way to accomplish this.  But that’s not the primary idea here.  Instead, we should discover what drives each employee individually so that we can help him/her create a personalized development plan to reach their own personal goals.

Where do their natural talents lay?  What do they want to get better at?  Where would they like to be in three years?  Our job as leaders is to find this out and help them grow personally.

5. Regular, quality, two-way feedback with a supervisor:  Your employees have a need to know what you think of their performance on the job.  And it’s not fair to them to wait till the end of the year to tell them this during their performance reviews.  Some of us do a pretty good job of pulling them aside and having a conversation with them while out on the floor or in the field, and that’s important for purposes of building relationships with them.e-books-combined-new

But that kind of discussion (impromptu as it is) doesn’t allow them enough preparation time to have a meaningful discussion focused on performance.  That type of discussion needs to be scheduled (once a month for 15-30 minutes or so is ideal for this).  Let them take some ownership for this conversation by taking the initiative to get on your calendar and decide what day and time works best for them.

Also, this should be a two-way conversation, not just you doing a lot of talking about their performance.  Solicit their thoughts on how well you are doing as a leader, and make changes based on their input.  This will go a long way toward establishing trust and respect, both of which are crucial for building levels of engagement.

6. Immediate recognition for achievement:  The occasional team dinners or other means of recognizing team achievement are good to do, but they are no substitute for recognizing the achievements of each individual.  And it doesn’t have to cost anything.  By simply praising them for going above and beyond expectations makes them want to come to work the next day and do it again.

fctc-online-bannerAnd while there doesn’t need to be a lot of pomp and ceremony around it, make recognition a public thing (in a team meeting, or in front of a senior (executive) leader in the company).  Follow the principle of PPPP (Punish Privately, Praise Publicly).

You may have noticed as you worked through these drivers that they are interconnected to each other.  If you’re doing one, it’s assumed you’re doing another.   For instance, figuring out what they want to do developmentally will require regularly scheduled one-on-ones with them.  That’s intentional.  Integrate these drivers in a way that becomes second nature to you in your own leadership, and before you know it you will have built their levels of employee engagement.

That’s it for this edition of Recordable INSIGHTS. Until next time.



About the Author

Eric Svendsen
Eric Svendsen, Ph.D., is Principal and lead change agent for safetyBUILT-IN, a safety-leadership learning and development organization. He has over 20 years experience in creating and executing outcomes-based leadership development and culture change initiatives aligned to organizational goals, and he personally led the safety-culture initiatives of a number of client organizations that resulted in “best ever safety performance” years for those companies.