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Employee Experience

How to keep employees safe in uncertain times

The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened our sense of safety like few events in modern history, and it has likewise highlighted a focus on health and safety in the workplace like never before. 

All employees want to work in an atmosphere where they feel physically safe. In addition to being the right thing to do, a safe environment helps motivate and retain employees, while minimizing occupational costs.

Safety first

The importance of safety extends beyond the pandemic.

Our recent research found that health and safety stood out as an important factor for job seekers when deciding where to work. Of the 1,500 people asked, 71% say it’s a priority.

This means it is critical for employers who wish to attract and retain talent to prioritize physical safety and overall well-being – as well as communicating improvements and support available to their people.

Plus, consider the implications to households and companies – lost wages, pain and suffering, and morale implications for families; medical costs, costs of replacement, and morale implications for the employers. Rising medical costs and the ease of finding new work today make this a more important issue than ever.

All industries have safety risks, but leaders have a moral and fiscal duty to understand workplace safety and its perception and devote time to strategizing ways to address employee issues. Because very few senior leaders spend significant time in the areas of the business where safety hazards are most prevalent, the need to engage in two-way dialogue on these topics is paramount.

The National Safety Council findings

  • Every 7 seconds, a worker is injured on the job
  • Engaged employees are 5x less likely to have a workplace accident
  • US Employers paid $668 billion in preventable injuries
  • Each prevented injury saves $32 thousand

Source: National Safety Council

A new model aligned with leading safety guidance

The model for this assessment is based on the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) 10 practices for promoting a safe, healthy workplace as well as the United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive's (HSE’s) 7 pillars of a safe workplace culture. Aligning assessment items with these practices and pillars provides a concise, comprehensive look at how employees perceive workplace safety.

The safety methodology includes the following:

  • A comprehensive library of survey items, including an overarching KPI to track overall perception of safety and core and optional items in 5 driver categories, critical topics that define and drive a culture of safety
  • Communication templates that help you get the quality and quantity of responses you need to drive meaningful change
  • A dashboard guide to help you visualize your results and tell a compelling story
  • Expert-designed action guidance that helps leaders to meaningfully improve each experience driver.

Safety and well-being at work are intrinsically linked

We recently released our EX25 methodology, an industry-leading holistic approach to measuring and optimizing employee experience.

The included physical safety item is strongly correlated with the well-being index indicating that employees who feel safe at work also tend to feel better about their well-being at work than those who do not. This suggests that improving physical safety at work may enhance overall employee well-being. CHROs should consider assessing both safety and well-being at work through individual solutions or as part of EX25.

Listening, understanding, and acting on employee safety and well-being can help differentiate your employer brand and minimize impact to occupational costs and employee benefits.

Take action now to start improving your people's well-being

Matt Evans

Matt is a Senior Employee Experience Product Scientist at Qualtrics. In his role, he develops employee feedback solutions for employers.

In addition to developing solutions, Matt frequently advises senior HR and IT leaders at some of the world’s largest organizations on how to use employee feedback to drive change..

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