Stop Making Safety Scary (And Start Making It Fun)
Employee awareness is the single greatest protective resource available to any business of any size. Today’s safety is more about promoting social accountability and rewarding awareness than it is about Run/Hide/Fight. Your employees do not want to be burdened by fear. They want to learn practical ways to protect themselves. They want to be rewarded for their effort.
So what are organizations to do?
Instead of fear-based training, try empowering your employees with the protective awareness they need to ensure their own safety.
If you are responsible for the safety of your organization, what you really want to accomplish are these two things:
First: Improve the everyday awareness of your employees with the knowledge they need to save themselves in an emergency. The goal is to help them to have a plan -- to know where to go and to know how to get there.
Think of this in terms of an airline safety brief.
Offer verbal assistance but stop short of having them act-it-out. The goal is to empower your staff with a course of action but to leave enough "wiggle room" room for personal improvisation.
Second: Promote program popularity by rewarding participation. The better the reward, the higher the engagement. Give your audience what they want. A free lunch? A better parking spot? A gift card? The reduction in risk if far more valuable than the cost of a "thank you" trophy.
Here are some ideas to help get you started:
Make safety a game that has a near-immediate reward.
Example: “Mindfulness Mondays” (see below)
Hide an orange envelope somewhere in your complex.
Hint #1: Good spots are near the fire extinguisher or the AED which reminds staff where they are located. Same goes for "hiding" the envelope near an emergency exit door which reminds staff about alternate exit routes and helps to bolster personal safety planning.
Hint #2: You could even “hide” it in plain sight (like the lobby) where most people pay less attention to their surroundings because they are operating on auto-pilot.
Send out a Monday morning email to help get the game started:
Remember: Prizes Promote Participation
Give away a $20 iTunes gift card once a week...dinner for two once a month. For $200/month ($80 in gift cards or cash and $120 in a restaurant gift card) you can dramatically increase the overall protective awareness of your organization.
Promote everyday safety tips you can update each week.
Utilizing a similar template to the one above, engage your employees on everyday safety insights that can help promote their own protective posture.
There are nine emergency exits in the building. Can you name where they are? Email us the answers for a chance to win a prize;
In case of evacuation, do you have a safe-haven identified within run/walk distance of work? Can you name three places nearby? Email answers for a chance to win a prize;
Did you know that 911 is less effective from your mobile phone than it is from the phone on your desk? If you have to dial 911, use a landline when possible so the dispatcher can trace your physical location instead of the cell phone tower relaying your call. Do you know which side of the building faces north? Email the compass direction of the main entrance for your chance to win a prize.
Try promoting practices that empower employees with their own sense of awareness and preparedness. This way, should the inevitable occur, they will be primed and ready to play an active role in their own safety more than ever before.