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Ninja Strategy Series Part III: Information Pit Stops

In this third and final part of the Ninja Strategy Series, learn what an information pit stop is and how it can help take your safety program to the next level.

In Part II of this Ninja Strategy Series, we discussed identifying the missing link(s) that likely caused the survey results in Part I and set an end goal of identifying inhibitors to the “want to” factor. We also recommended several questions to stimulate a reverse-engineering process and identified areas of opportunity in aligning employee purpose with organizational purpose.

So how did your organizational review turn out when you unleashed the Part II questions?

The likelihood is high that you found at least one major area that requires attention. For some organizations, the issue is in messaging and not in the quality of the safety programs. For others, it is in the organization’s lack of focus on inclusion and innovation. For many, the issue lies deeper within the culture and could be improved by creating information pit stops for employees. We’ll focus on the latter.

Part 3: Information Pit Stops

The majority of safety practitioners agree that the foundation for any effective safety program is behavior-based, that is, dependent on safe employee actions and buy-in. Dissemination of information without emotional integration, meanwhile, may lead to non-compliance.

How we choose to behave has a great deal to do with what information we feel is important and the perceived consequences of acting or not acting on that information. If we believe that a behavior and resulting action will devastate our lives, then we will view the information surrounding that behavior as vitally important, and we likely will pursue a different course of action.

Linking the information provided in a safety program to the employee’s needs and emotions helps foster the desired behavior and meet your ultimate objective: uncompromised employee safety.

So how do you link information to emotion? The answer is buried deeper into why we behave the way we do and lies beyond the obvious, in information pit stops. An information pit stop is why you remember where you were during the 9/11 terrorist attacks but cannot remember where you were in 11/9 of the same year. Once information is emotionally "pit stopped," we grant it a higher level of importance. This phenomenon then facilitates a narrower, safer decision-making process.

Employee behavior and subsequent safety performance depends on your organization’s effectiveness in communicating the personal consequences of not properly utilizing (unintentional or otherwise) hazard prevention and control during work performance. If communicated appropriately, employees will understand that the consequences of properly and consistently following the safety program far outweigh the risks of non-compliance. They also will realize that their conforming behaviors will protect them, their families and their co-workers in terms of improved quality of life and overall happiness.

Commit to crafting your safety program so it matters to employees. This hill is worth the climb, assuming an otherwise strong process that conveys, applies and consistently enforces safety program requirements. Employees who love your safety program will follow its requirements, will respect and understand its limitations, will be vocal when it needs to be updated and will not engage in hazardous work without it.

Design in Success

So, what is the final element in this Ninja Strategy Series? Eliminate the risky options by securing employee emotional buy-in. This is best accomplished through the purposeful act of designing information pit stops in your offerings. The art and science of linking information and emotion drives the right behaviors at the right time for the right reasons.

Espouse this approach in your training programs, in your safety talks and in your own implementation strategy, and your safety program will be poised for success because it matters to employees…by design.

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EHS OutLoud blog provides a candid look at health and safety issues both at work and at home.

Contributors

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is editor-in-chief of EHS Today magazine, a Penton Media Inc. publication. She has been writing about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990. She has been...

Stefanie Valentic

Stefanie Valentic is an associate editor for EHS Today magazine, a Penton Media Inc. publication.  A native of Cleveland, Ohio, she has been in B2B publishing for eight years. Her work has...
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