Engagement

Get Employee Input… and Close the Loop

Get Employee Input and Close the Loop


By Josh Williams, Ph.D.

Leaders need to get more input from employees before making decisions that impact safety.
Better decisions are made when employee input is solicited. Participation rates are also higher. Years ago, we implemented a behavioral safety process in a manufacturing firm as part of a NIOSH grant. Half of the group designed their own card and rules for use (“participation group” ). The other half were given a card with instructions to follow (“compliance group” ). The participation group that designed their own process completed 7 times as many observations as the passive compliance group. In another organization, field employees were heavily consulted when revamping their pre-job brief meetings. During assessment activities, we were told that a) the process got much better, and b) people really appreciated leadership getting their input. This is good for safety and morale.

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3 Ways Leaders Can Grow their Brand and Shape Company Culture to Impact Business Outcomes

Culture change


By KyoungHee Choi

While culture is widely recognized as an important lever to grow brands, increase productivity, improve revenue while improving safety and customer experience outcomes, many organizations still find to drive an manage something that feels intangible. In challenging times, it may seem hard to invest time and resources into something that can’t easily be measured, like “company culture”. Especially when the very survival of your company itself is at stake. However, culture is far more than an abstraction. It is critical to bringing your values to life and to driving business success. In challenging times it’s even more important to invest in what makes you different in the marketplace.
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Encourage a growth mindset in your workplace

Encourage a growth mindset in your workplace


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Growth mindset is the notion that who we are as a person (e.g., our character, abilities, intelligence) is malleable and capable of being developed with effort. At the opposite end of the spectrum is a fixed mindset, which describes when an individual feels their talents and abilities are predetermined and not flexible. Those with a more fixed mindset might feel some people “have it” and others “don’t”. Research on this topic began in education, where it was observed that students with a growth mindset approached difficulty as a challenge, and they were more likely to persevere with success despite setbacks. Students with a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset had higher motivation, effort, and school outcomes (like math grades) (1).
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How to develop a growth mindset

How to develop a growth mindset


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Changing how we think can have a profound impact on our life at home and work. Growth mindset is the notion that who we are as a person (e.g., our character, abilities, intelligence) is malleable and capable of being developed with effort. At the opposite end of the spectrum is a fixed mindset, which describes when an individual feels their talents and abilities are predetermined and not flexible. Those with a more fixed mindset might feel some people “have it” and others “don’t”. Research on this topic began in education, where it was observed that students with a growth mindset approached difficulty as a challenge, and they were more likely to persevere with success despite setbacks. Students with a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset had higher motivation, effort, and school outcomes (like math grades) (1).
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Boundaries are blurry. Be a safety champion at work and at home

Be a safety champion at work and at home

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

The boundaries between work and home can sometimes feel blurry. For instance, it is not uncommon for us to bring work home with us — whether it is psychological or physical. If you have a negative confrontation with a manager, you might come home in an awful mood to your spouse. If you pull your back picking up something heavy on the job, you might not feel well enough to toss the ball with your kids on the weekend. This also happens in the opposite direction of course, too. If you are stressed or hurt at home, it can spill over into the work domain.
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Managing a virtual workforce? Employees want to know your expectations

Managing a virtual workforce


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

When it comes to doing the job well, people need to know what is expected of them. Ambiguity can be a very stressful experience, and a great deal of individuals are in a working situation where they would like to know precisely what they should do to be considered a high performer. Unfortunately, for those working in remote positions, this is particularly difficult.
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How Are Your Safety Systems? A Short Quiz

How Are Your Safety Systems


By Josh Williams, Ph.D.

One of the most important aspects of safety leadership is providing effective safety management systems and a safe work environment. Employees are more likely to be injured if the organization has safety management system failures such as inadequate manpower, unreasonable production pressure, excessive overtime, faulty equipment, insufficient safety training, unclear safety policies, non-existent safety meetings, poor safety communication, and blame-oriented discipline procedures. Leaders improve safety culture by optimizing these key safety management systems:
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Do your employees have variety in their work tasks?

employees have variety in their work tasks

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Let’s say you are about to start your workday. Imagine two scenarios:
• A day in which you will be doing the same task repeatedly for 8 hours
• A day in which you will rotate between a variety of tasks for 8 hours

Which would you prefer? Although it feels great to get really good at a particular task, over time this can take a toll on motivation. Research has shown that individuals with variety in their work tasks are more satisfied with their jobs (1). Repetitive tasks with little variation can also contribute to complacency and attentional issues, which can be detrimental to safety.
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What do leaders have to do with employee resilience?

employee resilience


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

The extent to which individuals can “bounce back” to how things were pre-crisis describes their resiliency. It is beneficial to have a workforce of resilient employees who can recover quickly from difficult times. Not only is this better for the company (e.g., financially), it is better for the people (e.g., psychologically).
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Does leadership training work? Findings from research.

Does leadership training work


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

There are a great deal of conflicting perspectives when it comes to leadership training. Many individuals do not think it is worth the time because they believe leaders are born and not made – that genetics and personality are more influential in determining a great leader than the knowledge, skills, and abilities someone can build and sharpen during training. Others think training is a valuable tool that leads to a better workforce. But what does the research say?
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What can leaders do to create a less stressful workplace? [Part 3]

What can leaders do to create a less stressful workplace 3

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Take care of your own stress and work with employees to build a “stress management toolbox”. As I mentioned in Part 1 of this blog series, the right solutions are going to depend on the source of stress, and the best solutions are primary solutions that address the root of the problem. As a leader, you often have more power than employees to make changes that reduce stressors, so consider what you can do first to create a healthier work environment (see the second blog in this series).
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What can leaders do to create a less stressful workplace? [Part 2]

What can leaders do to create a less stressful workplace 2


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Leaders are in a unique position where they can make positive changes that influence the lives of their employees. Consider the following strategies:
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What can leaders do to create a less stressful workplace? [Part 1]

What can leaders do to create a less stressful workplace 1


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Remember that not all stressors have the same impact, and not all stress interventions work similarly.

There are different types of stressors. Some stress can actually be a great thing. It can be energizing, create engagement, or promote personal growth. A job without stress of any kind would be boring, and we certainly would not grow professionally! If you think back to some of your greatest achievements, there were likely stressful moments along the way. This is normal and healthy.
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What does being civil have to do with being safe?

What does being civil have to do with being safe


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

It is not a secret… when the workforce perceives that management considers safety to be as important as production, this is associated with great outcomes.
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Kindness is key: The power of respectful relationships at work

power of respectful relationships at work


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Respectful treatment is not always the norm in every work group. There are countless individuals who are required to interact with other workers and leaders who are rude, sarcastic, judgmental, and disrespectful. Incivility can be as subtle was a snarky remark, or as obvious as aggression.
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Employee Well-being and Flex Work: Research Findings

Employee Well-being and Flex Work


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Virtual work is becoming a part of everyday life for many individuals. What does the research have to say about how it impacts our well-being? Working from home is associated with…

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Four Communication Styles for Safety: Which One Are You?

Four Communication Styles for Safety


By Josh Williams, Ph.D.

There are many ways leaders “show up” for safety. Effective communication is near the top of the list. Leaders show they understand and care through thoughtful, interactive conversations with employees. This includes strong listening skills and authentic responses to issues that arise. This is the essence of empathic communication and is vastly different from these maladaptive patterns: dominant, passive, and passive aggressive (adapted from Brounstein, 2001). A brief review of each style is provided below. Which one best reflects how you lead and interact with your employees?
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What is the best way to handle unsafe behavior?

What is the best way to handle unsafe behavior

By Brie DeLisi

“Hey! what the $@&* do you think you’re doing?!” or perhaps someone just sneaks a picture of an unsafe behavior and reports it through the official reporting chain. How we handle unsafe behavior directly reflects where the safety culture is from a maturity perspective. So, what are the different ways that organizations can handle unsafe behavior and what does that mean for the culture?
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Rethinking the Tight Grip: A Flex Work Tip for Leaders

flex work tip for leaders



By Madison Hanscom, PhD

If you are accustomed to a leadership style that involves close monitoring to feel in control of what employees are doing daily, this will be a point of consideration when employees transitioning to more flexible telecommuting model. Previously, you might have conducted “walk-arounds” to observe work onsite. With a flexible work environment, this will not be as possible.
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What’s in it for the workers? Benefits of Flex Work

flex work and what is in it for workers



By Madison Hanscom, PhD


In previous blogs we have discussed the benefits companies can experience from Flex Work arrangements (1). Because flexible work requires less commuting and office space, this also has positive implications for the environment. This is because there is an associated reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (2). There are clear benefits to businesses and the environment, but how about individuals? Although some individuals experience negative components of remote work, such as loneliness (see our blog post on common challenges associated with Flex Work, 3), there are many positive outcomes employees can enjoy from Flex Work.
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Downsizing and the impact on employees

Empty Boardroom table with chairs

By Brie DeLisi and Kelly Cave

The term “downsizing” is enough to make anyone’s brain enter into a tailspin – Am I going to be fired? Will this affect me? How will this affect my job? My family? When is it going to happen? What am I going to do? Read More...

Are Employee Incentive Programs Detrimental for Safety?

Industrial using saw


Kelly Cave & Julia Borges

Have you ever wondered why employees in some organizations are afraid to speak up and report safety incidents, even when those incidents could have led to serious injury or death? Many people assume this lack of reporting is due to employee disengagement or workers not understanding the importance of incident reporting. However, have you considered that perhaps employees are hesitant to report due to the way the organization’s incentive system is set up? Read More...

The Hidden Costs of Disengagement

image001

By Kelly Cave and Brie DeLisi

Imagine having a job that makes you feel excited to go to work every day. When you get to work, you feel highly energized and identify strongly with the work you are doing. Now, on the flip side, imagine having a job that makes you dread going into work every day. This job feels like it is sapping your energy, and you spend your days counting down the hours and minutes until you get to go home. Which of these jobs would you rather have?
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Generational Differences at Work: More Conflict Than Clarity?

team hands all in

By Madison Hanscom

Generational Differences at Work: More Conflict Than Clarity?
Most of us are familiar with generational stereotypes. Millennials are narcissistic, Gen Xers are cynical, and Baby Boomers are judgmental. When scanning the workplace, it might seem easy to find patterns of behavior that correspond with these generational cohort characteristics, but are these patterns actually there? And for any differences that do emerge, are these actually due to generational cohort membership? Read More...

Work-Life Balance: The key to healthy employees and organizations

team meeting at table from above[1]

By Maggie Carey and Kelly Cave

What is work-life balance?



Both organizations and individuals thrive when employees feel a sense of autonomy, high morale, and overall happiness. In recent years, many have begun to think that the way to achieve this is through emphasizing the importance of work-life balance. This "work-life balance" phrase has been a buzzword in popular culture, but what exactly is work-life balance? More importantly, how can individuals and organizations reap the benefits of this concept? Occupational health researchers commonly define work-life balance as the ability to accomplish goals and meet demands in both work and personal life domains [1]. One of the major frameworks that researchers use to describe the strain that arises from a poor work-life balance is the job demands and control model [2]. According to this model, employees experience strain as a result from an overload of demands and an insufficient amount of resources to handle those demands. In the case of work-life balance, a common example of a demand many workers face is an excessive workload. One resource employees can use to handle that demand is sufficient time to complete work. However, if companies do not provide the proper resources to handle the demands employees face, strain arises, and wellbeing suffers. Read More...

Leadership Visibility: The importance of leaving the desk and getting out into the field

safe workers

By Julia Borges and Madison Hanscom

As we move into a world where the use of technology is rapidly increasing to make our work lives more seamless, it can be easy to forget about the importance of human interaction. While artificial intelligence has become a vital part of organizational performance, human interaction is still at the core of organizational health, culture, and safety. In today’s complex, technology-driven world of work, leaders are as busy as they ever have been, making it difficult for them to get away from their desk and out into the field with their teams. While leaders have a commitment to their tasks, duties, and team members, balancing these critical components can pose quite a challenge for leaders across various types of organizations. Read More...