Firstly, let’s clarify that being friendly doesn’t mean you must be friends with employees.
Now we know safety professionals play a critical role in promoting a safe and healthy work environment for all employees. One important aspect of their job is building trust and positive relationships with workers to communicate safety information and foster a culture of safety effectively.
Being friendly and approachable can help break down barriers and create a more open, psychologically safe and inclusive environment where employees feel comfortable sharing concerns or asking questions.
Additionally, a friendly and approachable safety professional may better identify and address potential safety hazards or issues, as workers are more likely to report them to someone they trust and without fear of retaliation.
Furthermore, they can help create a positive attitude and culture towards safety in the workplace, where everyone is willing to work together to keep themselves and others safe.
There are several ways that safety professionals can be the friendliest in the workplace and promote a positive culture of safety.
1. Be approachable:
This can be achieved by maintaining an open-door policy, being a good listener, being available to answer questions, and actively seeking out employee feedback.
2. Communicate effectively:
Clear and concise communication is key in any workplace, but it’s particularly important for safety professionals. They should communicate safety information in a way that is easy to understand and listen attentively to the employees.
Use simple language and avoid jargon or technical terms. Speaking in simple language is like putting on a pair of comfortable shoes. It allows for easy movement and understanding, whereas using jargon and technical terms is like walking on stilts, it may impress some people, but it’s hard to keep up, and it can be off-putting for others.
Another helpful communication technique is being curious and asking open questions instead of saying, “Does that make sense to you” Ask, “What didn’t make sense to you” this approach encourages dialogue.
3. Encourage participation:
Safety professionals should actively involve employees in developing and implementing safety policies and procedures. This can help to build buy-in and promote a sense of ownership among employees. What can work well is asking employees for their input on improving things.
4. Trust and respect:
Being friendly demonstrates empathy and understanding that can help to build trust, respect and motivation among team members.
Make sure to check in regularly with your colleagues to see how they are doing both personally and professionally. for example, ask, “What did they get up to the weekend?” “How did the family party go” and “What can I do to help make your job easier?”
5. Lead by example:
Safety professionals should practice what they preach and set an excellent example regarding safety behaviour. This will show that they take safety seriously and can also help encourage employees to do the same.
6. Show recognition and appreciation:
Acknowledge and appreciate employees when they do something right regarding safety. Safety professionals should also recognise and reward good safety performance, which can help to boost morale and encourage employees to continue to work safely.
7. Use a sense of humour:
Professionally, using a sense of humour can help to build rapport and ease tension in the workplace, making it a more comfortable and inviting place for employees.
However, it’s important to note that being friendly doesn’t mean safety professionals must compromise on ethics, professional standards, and decision-making. Still, it helps them to lead and manage a team effectively. So can you be too friendly?
All these actions can help build positive relationships with employees, promote a culture of safety, and ultimately ensure a safe and healthy work environment.
Ask yourself: How friendly are you in the workplace?
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