Safety-Culture Change: The Cost of Getting it Wrong (Part 2)

Safety-Culture Change: The Cost of Getting it Wrong (Part 2)When initiating an organizational safety-culture change, it’s critical that we recognize the consequences of getting it wrong.  As we saw last issue, things like forfeited ROI, compromised employee trust, and higher levels of employee cynicism and disengagement are some of the unintended consequences of failure. But there are at least three more things that could happen as a result of getting it wrong. [content_protector password=”wrong2″ identifier=”wrong2″]

Unmanaged Employee Resistance

One of the first points we made in this series is that the most difficult thing about change is not the change itself, nor the change process–it’s the people we have to persuade. A poorly executed safety-culture initiative can result in much higher levels of employee resistance than can reasonably be managed.  When that happens, it’s game over. Most if this resistance can be prevented even before it crops up simply by communicating the change and its benefits early and often in the process. 10 Things You Absolutely MUST KNOW About Reinforcing Your Safety Culture By Building EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

Non-Adoption = Non-Starter

This point is closely related to the previous one. A poorly executed change results in unmanaged employee resistance, and that resistance feeds itself to the point that the change initiative itself becomes an inside joke. Let’s face it; if you can’t get anyone to adopt the change, it’s just not going to happen.

Precedent for the “Flavor of the Month”

fctc-online-bannerThe phrase “flavor of the month,” popularized by Baskin-Robbins, has single-handedly become the bane of every change agent’s existence.  The phrase, spoken by an employee, at once communicates complacency, skepticism, cynical disdain, and the perceived inevitable demise of the coming change.  The attitude is, “If we just wait it out long enough, it will go away.”

The most effective way to counter this is to ensure their leadership is on board and actively driving the change.  They will do what they believe their leadership embraces for themselves.

We’ll continue with our series on safety-culture change in our next issue.But 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.