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We all know that for a workplace to be safe and compliant, it needs to have a culture of safety, where employees think, behave and act with their own safety and that of their colleagues, in mind. However what many companies fail to realise is that a culture of safety isn’t just about training. It actually starts with hiring the right people with the right mindsets.

The Engagement Effect

Studies have proven that engaged workers are not only more productive, but they are safer too. Organisations with a high level of staff engagement tend to have a lower number of accidents, incidents and claims. Studies have found that business units with the highest rate of employee engagement had 49% fewer safety incidents than those with with lower employee engagement. There was also a reduction in employee absenteeism.

So while training staff on the importance of safety is crucial, it’s the creation of a supportive environment with the right people in the right jobs that actually lays the foundations for a culture of safety.

Engagement starts with smart hiring

The right people will move mountains for a business. They are motivated, inspired and passionate about what they do. They don’t just have the skill to do the job, they have the will to do their job well. They care about their work, colleagues and workplace.  These are the people that build cultures.

So how can you identify these people and hire them?  It’s as simple as asking yourself these questions when you are interviewing staff:

1. Motivation: Does this person seem genuinely enthusiastic about their work and the industry your business sits in? Are they knowledgeable about current industry trends? Can they share an insight or opinion on a topic relevant to the job or your business?  Motivated people are genuinely interested in the work they do, therefore asking these kinds of questions will demonstrate their level of engagement and their ability to think independently.

2. Integrity: What is their reputation like? Check with their references to determine how well they are perceived by their former colleagues, managers and clients. You’ll want to get a feel for the quality of their work. Engaged people are committed to a standard of excellence in everything they do, and this includes adhering to policies and procedures that encourage safety compliance.  

3. Work Ethic: Can they identify a time when they’ve had to overcome a challenge? How did they handle it? Did they rally to get the job done or did they cut corners? Did they take ownership of their responsibilities or did they blame others?  Our true nature tends to comes out in times of stress so this is will be a good indication of how an employee handles pressure, deadlines and difficult times.

4. Acceptance of change: Do they have the positive attitude to see obstacles as challenges that need to be overcome, and change as something to be embraced? Can they identify a time they welcomed organisational change and promoted it to others? This is a trait that will help any EHS strategy to succeed. People who handle change well will be able to motivate and inspire others to get on board with the policies and procedures that have been put in place to keep staff safe. 

By recruiting for these qualities on top the usual skill requirements, your company will have the engaged workforce that will stay loyal, stay motivated and keep health and safety a priority.


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