Better training starts with better communication. Communication is necessary to relay safety standards to employees, to highlight hazards, and to stay safe while working together on the job. You can improve your safety training and safety practices by improving communication in your organization.
Start by answering these questions:
- What do your employees need from you to make their training effective?
- Are they actually learning important safety measures or is the training just a checkmark in the books for them?
- What are your expectations for your employees’ safety training?
- Do they know what you expect and why you expect it?
If you don’t know the answers to any of these questions, you’ll want to try to improve communication in your organization. It’s not about more training; it’s about better, more effective communication. You can send employees more information and set more requirements, but throwing materials at employees doesn’t guarantee comprehension, retention, or compliance. Use these 5 principles of communication to develop a better dialogue with your employees.
Give employees feedback on everything, both negative and positive. Reward your team for following correct safety guidelines. Praise them for following the safety training they were given. Let them know what they can improve on and where you’d like to see changes. Try not to have your employees "guess" at what they are required to do. Make safety training easy by communicating immediate and directive feedback. Don't limit your outreach to just identified problems; communicate successes and shortcomings alike.
Employees tend to work better with incentives. When you see improvements, successes, or anything positive in the workplace, celebrate with your employees. Whether safety needs to be drastically improved within your organization or you’re just looking to maintain an already high quality of safety procedures, congratulations should be given on a job well done. Give employees an incentive to continue improving and let them know that their progress hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Not only should you provide feedback, but you should also welcome feedback from employees. By surveying employees, you open the floor for any questions, concerns, or general comments that you might not have received otherwise. Communication is a dialogue, not a soliloquy. Good communication means that everyone understands and is on the same page. By gaining insight from employees’ perspectives, you can work toward a safer work environment from all standpoints—closing the gap between the standards and the practical implications.
This goes along with getting feedback, but receiving feedback isn’t the only step you need to take for it to be effective. Listening, in the broadest sense that we mean here, is taking the time to make sure you fully understand what is being communicated to you. Whether it’s reading an email or listening to an in-person request, make sure you are thoroughly taking in the information and responding with any questions or concerns that you may have. Listening is maybe the most important part of communicating. You can’t help your employees if you don’t listen to what they have to say.
Develop Mutual Respect
It’s difficult to make a good team out of employees who don’t have respect for each other. When communicating with employees, use a respectful tone and courteous language. A respectful working relationship will increase meaningful, effective communication, which leads to a safer working environment.
Use these 5 principles of communication in your workplace to improve communication with employees about important safety information.
Check out this free ebook from Ving that outlines effective communication strategies that you can use today!