Clueless managers and lack of accountability have been cited as two main reasons why workers get injured on the job. If employers want to reduce workplace injuries, then they have to care.
A culture of care puts the concerns of the employees first. It is an environment in which there is respect and open communication; only employees who receive the necessary training operate equipment; every employee has proper equipment in good working order; there is consistent effort to assess risks of injury and to minimise all employees’ exposure.
From the employees’ side of things, they care about creating a quality product or service. They also care about the safety of those around them and the integrity of the process (presume safe, transparent and effective) used to make the service or product. Individuals are held accountable for their actions and corrections are made swiftly for inappropriate behaviours.
Caring in this context means paying attention to how employees are interacting with the work environment and being proactive and responsive to their needs. In an office environment, employers have to care about the physical elements of the working environment. Are they ergonomic and are they adjusted to that specific employee? Paying attention to these kinds of details show that you care for each and every employee. Such a situation can be easily remedied by having it part of the onboarding process. Good employers provide orientation and training. Excellent employees pay attention to these details.
In a non-office work environment a culture of care means that every employee handling equipment is properly trained and wears the corresponding safety gear. Consistently demonstrating that the employer takes the safety and health of their employees seriously is not possible when employees are not provided the training, support and resources necessary to effectively do their jobs.
Creating a culture of care requires management to be transparent, set standards, properly train workers, keep up with best practices and hold themselves accountable.
Renée Gendron is the principal of Vitae Dynamics in Russell, Ont. She works with professionals, associations, businesses and entrepreneurs to help them hone their skills. Her work centres on self-leadership, leadership and conflict. Gendron offers bilingual SMRT services – speaking, mediation, research and training. Visit www.vitaedynamics.com
for more information.