One of the keys to growing a safety culture is to build levels of employee engagement. The reason for that is that the more engaged front-line employees are, the more ownership they assume for their work domain. And the more ownership they assume, the more they begin to lead safety as “owners” instead of following safety as “employees.”
One of the key drivers for building employee engagement is to provide your employees with opportunities for development and growth. Just to clarify, I’m not talking here about the normal human-resources-driven learning path that takes a Level-I operator to a Level-II operator. While that kind of development is necessary for promotions and pay increases, it is not the kind of development that builds levels of engagement.
The type of development that builds engagement answers the question “Do I, as a front-line employee, have an opportunity to develop in ways I want to develop?” This has to be about how they want to develop, not how organizational processes force them to develop. That means we have to discover what drives them. The only way to do that is to get to know them and build relationships of trust with them.
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