Are You Coaching Safety Behaviors or Just Enforcing the Rules?
No one is inspired to be safe on the job by being reminded of the policy. Yet that’s just what most of our safety coaching looks like. We make behavioral observations with a focus on spotting violations, and then we take people aside to remind them of the correct procedure.
It’s almost never the case that someone gets hurt on the job because s/he didn’t know what the policy was. The problem is, they usually DO know what the policy is, they usually know how to do it the right way, and how to do it the safe way–yet they still decide to make bad decisions around safety and take shortcuts on the job.
Improving Safety Behaviors
If we want to motivate them toward higher levels of commitment to their own safety and the safety of those around them then we have to move beyond compliance-based coaching. We must change the focus of our coaching from compliance-based behaviors to safety leadership behaviors.
If our goal is improving safety behaviors, then our activities will include new and different ways for coaching safety behaviors (positive reinforcement), and coaching unsafe behaviors (by appealing to core values). But coaching safety behaviors is only part of the equation. We must also engage in safety leadership coaching.
How Does Safety Leadership Coaching Differ From Safety Coaching?
The focus of safety coaching is improving safety behaviors. The focus of safety leadership coaching is building the skills needed for leading safety culture and improving safety culture.
This starts first and foremost with the positional leadership of an organization. They must actively lead safety culture, not just support it in a passive way. This includes their messaging, their behaviors, their sincerity, their leadership presence, their passion and their own internalization of safety as a core value. They have to commit to it before others will commit to it.
The goal of safety leadership coaching is to build greater capability into the organization’s leadership (front-line supervisors, their managers, their directors, their VPs, and ultimately their presidents and C-level officers), and to improve their skills for leading safety culture.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Leaders must build other owners of safety and transfer ownership to them. As with any successful safety culture development, functional leadership must ultimately be passed to the front-lines–to those most at risk. Unless safety culture is led at that level, it won’t be internalized and it therefore won’t be sustainable. Coaching unsafe behaviors in coworkers is no easy task, and front-line employees must be trained and given the tools they need to own the safety culture and they must be coached to higher levels of leading safety culture.
How safetyBUILT-IN Can Help
We use a three-layered approach to lead organizations through safety culture change. Our Cascading Culture process allows us to develop multiple leaders at different levels at the same time. We develop them as they develop others.
We do this through our Cascading Coaching process, during which we focus development on upper level-managers and supervisors as they develop their own direct reports to lead a safety culture using the same method.
The end-game to all this is our Cascading Ownership process. Program ownership is heavily weighted on our side at the beginning of the process as we work to develop the skills of a core internal team. Ownership for the program quickly migrates to that core team, who in turn work to transfer ownership to front-line supervisors. The goal is to make all employees owners of the safety culture. Only when front-line employees are comfortable coaching unsafe behaviors and are actively improving safety behaviors in each other will we have a safety culture that is both entrenched and sustainable.
Our team is absolutely committed to improving the safety performance of our client’s organizations. Our goal is to deliver “best-ever safety-performance years” through our safety management training programs. At the same time we recognize that safety performance is simply a barometer of an organization’s safety culture. Our method develops leaders at all levels and trains them how to think and how to lead safety as a core value.
But Don’t Take Our Word for It …
No program can claim to be effective until it has its customers’ stamp of approval. Our program has consistently reduced our clients’ recordable incidents (TRIR) by an average of 40% in the first year of its implementation, with continuing improvements of 20% to 40% each subsequent year the program is followed. We have a track record that is second to none. Our clients consistently report “best-ever safety performance” years after implementing our program, and some have won awards for the improvements they were able to achieve. Below are the thoughts of just some of our clients who have gone through our program:
“I honestly believe that the information shared during the meeting was ‘the missing link’ between where we are and where we want to be in regards to safety performance. I had a major ‘a-ha’ moment during the training. I hope this is shared with the rest of our company with an emphasis on management and leadership. I have personally committed to implementing the training both in my professional and personal life.”
“Best program of this type I have been part of in my 36 years in the industry.”
“This program changed the way I look at safety and it will help instill safety as a core value.”
“This is by far the best safety training I have ever encountered in all my work experience. Keep up the good work; I can’t wait to start spreading the seeds.”
“This program really had a great message. This is my first exposure to safety-leadership training and it really helped me put safety in the right perspective.”
“You guy’s did a great job putting this together; one of the best programs I have gone through. I think everyone in the company should go through this.”
“I believe this was the best information that I have been given at a conference or training seminar in my 26 yrs as a supervisor. GREAT JOB.”
“By far the best safety training ever.”
“One of the best programs I’ve been a part of in my career, and the best I’ve experienced at our company.”
“The course was one of the better I’ve attended for the 20 or so years that I have been attending events of this type.”
“I thought this program was an OUTSTANDING training event. The facilitators did an excellent job with the material, and the content of the material was exactly what supervisors (and hourly employees) need to help promote our safety culture. I fully support the idea to make this training MANDATORY in all of the company’s field offices for supervisors and hourly employees.”
“Best program I have attended in my 15 years on the job.”
“Fantastic program. Thank you!”
“This training should be offered to everyone in a leadership role or future leadership role with the company. One of the best safety training programs I have ever been a part of.”
“Great program–not what I thought it would be.”
“This was truly one of the better seminars that I have attended. I would recommend this material be applied company wide.”
See more client testimonials here!
If you’d like more information on how we can help improve your safety culture, please contact us at:
Email: [email protected]