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Discretionary Effort

By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Early last year, we began working with a fleet-related company to conduct a comprehensive safety culture assessment. Despite a very strong commitment from their COO, they faced a number of challenges that impacted their safety culture. This included extremely high turnover, excessive time pressure, and insufficient safety ownership. They had recently experienced several fatalities, and their accreditation status was in jeopardy. After conducting a kickoff session with key stakeholders, we conducted a series of assessment activities, including a safety culture survey, 50+ onsite interviews and focus groups, safety artifact reviews, and onsite observations. Once done, we provided

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Decades of research show that IQ is one of the best predictors of success for organizational leaders. This should be no surprise since strong analytical skills are needed to deal with numerous competing challenges at higher organizational levels. However, EQ, or emotional intelligence quotient, may be equally important. One study showed that 71% of executives value EQ over IQ with their leaders (https://www.careerbuilder.ca), and another showed that 93% of employees said they’d remain loyal to an employer whose leaders show genuine concern for their well-being (https://hcamag.com). So, what is emotional intelligence? EQ reflects our ability to recognize our

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By Eric Michrowski A leader once told me their safety strategy focused on driving actively caring within their organization. In his words, “If we care for our people, safety will take care of itself.” While actively caring is integral to building a robust safety culture, I would caution that it’s insufficient on its own. Actively caring means showing personal concern and appreciation for employees individually. When relationships with team members are firmly established, and employees feel appreciated, understood, and respected, they are more likely to demonstrate discretionary effort and go above and beyond to keep themselves and their coworkers safe. Actively caring

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. There is a large body of evidence showing the benefits of safety culture advancement including improved: safety motivation and participation (Neal & Griffin, 2006), employee commitment (Clarke, 2006), perceptions of leadership buy-in (Brown & Holmes, 1986), and other organizational factors like job satisfaction, likelihood of staying with the job, and decreased stress (Morrow & Crum, 1988). I would like to share a few examples of client case studies showing why safety culture improvement matters. Improving safety culture is also associated with fewer workplace injuries (Barling et al., 2002; Clarke, 2006; Gillen et al., 2002; Zohar, 2000, 2002).

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. Create a poster campaign with small rewards to raise safety awareness in a fun, fresh way.  Safety initiatives that include employee participation help develop a stronger safety culture and increase operational performance. Strive for more than just compliance – make safety personal, so that people are using their better judgement to make safe decisions instead of just following orders. How do you make safety personal? One simple way is to use employees’ own words and images. Make posters! Giving employees the opportunity to create their own safety posters makes them more likely to care about the posters and the messages

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By Josh Williams, Ph.D. For decades, organizational leaders have used incentives to try and motivate safety. The idea is that providing money for injury avoidance will get employees to “try harder” to stay safe. In reality, it simply encourages non-reporting which is why OSHA now frowns upon outcome-based incentives. Fortunately, most leaders using incentives have moved to process-based rewards. This brings up several important considerations: Proactive, process-based incentives are substantially better than those that are outcome-based. Process-based incentives, when used correctly, can be effective. However, they can be “pencil whipped” too The best “incentive” is genuine appreciation and ongoing recognition. Cautions with Process-Based Incentives Employees may

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