Category Archives: Team Motivation

Encouraging a Positive Safety Culture

Deloitte’s recently issued their second annual Health and Safety Leadership Survey of New Zealand Companies.  In it 90% of Kiwi CEO’s think their health and safety risks are effectively managed but there are 3 key areas that needed improvement: risk management, worker engagement and contractor management.

Lead by example
Build trust and respect
Communicate clearly
Involve everyone
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Business Leaders’ Health & Safety Forum Executive Director Francois Barton said that overall the survey results were encouraging and provided a view of what good practice looks like. “However, there are some gaps between the commitment of our business leaders and the reality of health and safety practice on the ground.”  He noted that the report shows that culture and worker participation are seen as key to improving health and safety performance but efforts to improve safety culture are patchy.

Improving the safety culture in your workplace will mean:

  • fewer accidents, injuries and lost time
  • safer behaviours among workers
  • improved well-being and job satisfaction
  • better relationships between management and staff.

So how do you know if your company has a good safety culture?  What does it look like?  The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment produced a document in 2013 to improve the safety in mines, quarries and tunnels.  This list of “What a strong health and safety culture looks like” from the publication can be applied to any industry.

  • Leaders are regularly seen in the workplace with the team.
  • Everybody knows that if a job can’t be done safely it isn’t done at all.
  • Everyone has the knowledge and skills to do their jobs safely.
  • Everyone knows what their health and safety responsibilities and duties are.
  • Staff, contractors and representatives are actively involved in decision-making.
  • There is open and honest communication across the organisation.
  • There is mutual respect between workers and managers.
  • Everyone actively reports incidents, hazards and near misses.
  • Incidents and hazards are investigated without fear of blame or recrimination.
  • People who break the rules or condone rule breaking by others are held accountable.
  • The organisation learns from incidents and near misses and makes sure they don’t happen again.
  • There is emphasis on the use and continuous improvement of systems.
  • Risk assessment is routinely and actively used at all levels and in all processes.
  • Health and safety is adequately resourced with sufficient people, equipment and time.

So how much of the list can your company tick off? To create an effective safety culture is an ongoing process.  It requires a large commitment on behalf of the entire company. Here are a five tips to get you started:

  1. Everybody needs to be a role model.  Everyone is accountable for being visibly involved in safety, especially managers and supervisors.
  2. Share you safety vision.  Ensure everyone knows your company’s safety expectations.  Induction training should include the company’s safety vision.
  3. Make your safety procedures usable by:
    • keeping them simple and easy to follow– get people who use them to help write them
    • not having too many
    • making sure those who need them can access them when they need them.
  4. Cultivate a trusting culture where it is easy to:
    • report incidents (be prepared for an increase in incidents if you think there may be under-reporting at present)
    • have open and honest incident investigations
    • report and share the outcomes of investigations; make sure that incidents won’t happen again by putting new processes in place
    • communicate worries and issues.
  5. Track progress and celebrate successes.

Siteapp can help you build a good safety culture in your workplace.  It makes it easy to report incidents; procedures for each part of a job can be stored with the job for easy access by everyone and it has a simple to use site hazard identification process.  Find out how you can keep your workers safe by contacting Siteapp now.

Don’t let safety be another New Year’s resolution failure

Approximately half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions yet only 8% actually achieve them.

It is now two and half weeks into the New Year.  How many of your New Year’s resolutions have you broken already?  How can you make safety an every day habit not a New Year’s resolution forgotten within a few weeks.

Behavioural psychologists suggest that there are a few things you can do to help goals stick.  These can be applied to your own New Year’s resolutions and to achieving better safety at work.

  • Don’t change everything at once.  When thinking of your goals, make a list and focus on one behaviour change or habit at a time.
  • Set a clear goal. Your goal might be to get fit but what do you mean exactly? Do you intend to lose a certain number of kilos? Run a half marathon in 6 months time? Bench-press 40kgs? Make sure your goals are specific. You can use the SMART acronym to define your goals.  Make them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. The first step to behaviour change is to clearly understand what your goal is.
  • Track your progress. “If you can measure it, you can change it”. If you know where you started and where you are now, you can see changes and be motivated by them. They will also help you to identify if you hit a plateau so you can adjust your efforts.
  • Have patience. You must set realistic goals – the “A” in the SMART goal setting. Some people will see rapid gains but then hit a plateau. For others, progress may be slow but then they suddenly achieve breakthroughs. If you want changes to stick, it takes time – according to some research, it takes about 66 days to form a new habit so don’t give up early.
  • Don’t do it alone. Enlist the help of an expert if you need to. If you are looking to run that half marathon, maybe you need a running coach. Tell your friends and family what you want to achieve, and they are more likely to help you stay focused when you are having an ‘off’ day or week.
  • Put it on your diary. How often do you hear people say they can’t “find the time” to do something. Nobody finds time.  To make your new goals a priority actually schedule them into your calendar. If you have a fitness goal make time for your workouts – it may mean setting your alarm an hour earlier 3 times a week, but you can find time. Think of these time blocks as dentist appointments, they are hard to get so you don’t move them unless absolutely necessary.
  • Stop feeling guilty if you get off track. None of us are perfect. It is better to do something rather than doing nothing. If the car breaks down and needs repairing so you can’t save 10% of monthly wage, just save what you can. Any effort towards your goal is better than no effort. Don’t turn a small lapse into a permanent relapse. Instead, just acknowledge what went wrong and get back to working towards your goal.

Achieving goals isn’t about having willpower. It’s about developing the right skills to make changes in your habits. Good luck with your personal New Year’s resolutions but if you or your construction firm want to make safety a goal for 2017 – “don’t do it alone“; Siteapp has many features which will help with health and safety compliance on every project your staff are working on, every day of the year.

Good Safety Doesn’t Need More Paperwork

Most companies have assumed that new Health & Safety at Work Act 2015 is a tedious compliance exercise involving increased amounts of paperwork.   However it is about being responsible for the health and safety of everyone at risk from a company’s work including its workers, customers, visitors, or the general public.  It does involve paperwork but is mostly about proving good health and safety procedures are operating within your company and that you have done everything possible to reduce “risk”.

For small business people, less paperwork means higher profits, boosted sales and more time with the family.  Tony Abbott (Australian MP)

Most people hate having to do any paperwork. Doing paperwork or process related tasks take them out of the field and away from the actual job.

In most cases, the burden of handling and processing paperwork falls on the shoulders of the foreman and management.  This often leaves them spending more time sifting through documentation than assessing physical risks at building sites.

Safety paperwork
You don’t need to do more paperwork to keep safe

Keen to reduce your paperwork but rather be out on site assessing risks and remaining compliant? Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Paperwork at the time

The biggest hassle about doing paperwork is the time it takes. Knowing that doing paperwork is a least favourite task for most people, many either put it off till the last minute or rush through the process just to be done with it.  What happens when things are rushed? Mistakes are made.  Where safety is involved mistakes cannot be made.

The best information is often that collected in the moment. With an online system available on tablet or smartphone the paperwork can be completed at the time of an incident, before a job is carried out or immediately after.

Eliminate the paper whenever possible

Take a look at your processes and forms. Do you ask the same questions on several forms? Are all the forms necessary? Can a simple computer program or online form be used instead so people don’t have to fill out paperwork but can just fill in an online form where the basic information is stored and re-used? Often using a computer program (online or off) will also automate things so paperwork isn’t needed. Or just eliminate the paperwork altogether if it’s possible.  Could one photo be better than 100 words describing a work hazard?

Electronic signatures

Often a manager becomes a bottleneck, requiring their approval before anything can get done. Using electronic systems means that documents can be sighted by a manager electronically and signed electronically too.  This means documents don’t pile up unseen on the managers desk. Approval gets back in the field quickly.

Have the information you need ready

If you don’t have information, you can’t make decisions properly. If you haven’t the paperwork to hand and have to leave the site to get it valuable time is lost.  Technology has changed all this; with offline functionality and storage in the cloud documentation can be wherever you are. The same document can be shared across several sites and you will know they are all working off the same version.  Has the computer ever “eaten” your document? With automatic back-ups to the cloud this is no longer a problem.

 

Thinking of reducing your paperwork but wanting to remain compliant?  Siteapp can manage all your Health and Safety compliance documentation in the cloud.   A document system wherever you are.  Call now for more information.

Motivating your team is a key part of successful work

When you're managing a business in a field like construction or manufacturing, which depend on a great deal of physical labour, your job is all about efficiency. You have a limited amount of time and manpower, and you want to push your employees to achieve as much as they can, as quickly as possible.

People are not robots. Sometimes they will need a little bit of motivation to achieve at a high level.

Unfortunately, people are not robots. They aren't always going to be perfectly efficient, and sometimes they will need a little bit of motivation to achieve at a high level. For managers and other business leaders, finding a way to motivate is a key challenge.

It's possible that technology can help with this. 

What keeps employees motivated?

Many business leaders see workplace compliance as the most important part of human resources, but the truth is that motivating your teams to succeed is just as important. According to Inc. Magazine, there are a few ways to do this.

One is to offer people opportunities for self-development. If your workers have a chance to gain new skills and tackle interesting projects, they're more likely to stay engaged. Additionally, giving them chances to collaborate with their co-workers should build morale. Both individual and team successes should help increase employees' engagement and passion for their jobs.

Technology driving employee engagement

Increasingly, there's been a noticeable trend of companies using technology to improve engagement among their ranks, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. The organisation found that when employees use mobile solutions for sharing information, they can bond over everything from efficiency of production to work site safety.

Good management is all about keeping your workers happy.Good management is all about keeping your workers happy.

While a reliable mobile app isn't exactly a replacement for a good boss, it can certainly be effective for taking a solid workplace culture and making it even better. If employees are happy, and they use mobile apps to share those good vibes, it can only mean positive things for the organisation as a whole.

SiteApp offers many key benefits

One of the best ways to build employee morale is to implement a safety app that allows people to work together at keeping each other healthy and focused on their work. This is where SiteApp comes in – it's a powerful tool that gives companies and their bosses complete control over not just their work, but their levels of motivation.

There are plenty of ways to manage teams of labourers, but there's nothing quite like the efficient, paperless workflow that SiteApp makes possible. Try our product today and discover how it can transform your business.

Employee engagement brings more to the table than compliance

With the implementation of the Health and Safety at Work Act, businesses in all sectors have been forced to reevaluate their current systems and processes. With broader responsibilities, businesses and contractors are now required to interact with their employees and workers in greater depth. 

A safety app's innovative design can help employees engage more with their work by cutting wasted time and effort.

While the impact that employee engagement strategies can have on health and safety cannot be understated, its effects on other business measures, such as productivity and quality, are not always discussed in relation to work site safety. 

Taking a leaf from Chep NZ

In a recent video, Country Manager for Chep NZ Mike O'Brien said that by engaging staff members, companies from all sectors can reduce health and safety incidents. 

"We've got 64 to 65 million movements happening through our business every year. We're using a significant amount of trucks and forklift movements to load pallets in and off vehicles as they come through our service centres. As a result of that, we have a huge amount of risk that creates some quite challenging environments to get health and safety right," he said.

"We've got a lot of people moving a lot of pallets and they've very heavy – around 25 to 30 kg – and so what we did was we brought in some external support partners to come and help us identify and put in practices around manual handling champions, and so we built up that champion capability right throughout our business."

The result was a reduction in manual handling incidents from 35 in 2011 to zero in 2014. New Zealand's Food & Grocery Council (FGC) Chief Executive Katherine Rich said that buy-in from staff is essential to health and safety. 

"For that to happen the direction has to come from the top, as it has from Mike O'Brien in Chep's case, and they've had some great results because of that. It's something others can learn from without having a close call," she said.

A safety app allows you to work from anywhere.A safety app allows you to work from anywhere.

Employee engagement more than health and safety

As can be seen from Chep NZ's example, by engaging employees, workers and contractors, businesses can ensure they are satisfying workplace health and safety compliance requirements. By engaging employees you can also help to improve productivity and other performance measures. 

Yet, employers need to ensure that they are engaging their employees through productive and effective means. But the way the current state of employee engagement around the world, this won't be an easy task. 

Gallup's State of the Global Workplace study found that within Australia and New Zealand's workforce, only 24 per cent of employees were engaged. On the other hand, 60 per cent of workers are not engaged and 16 per cent are actively disengaged. 

What this means is that companies are already on the back foot when it comes to employee engagement. However, this does not mean the task is impossible.

In fact, one way businesses can work better with their employee to cut down redundant processes and introduce manageable forms of automaton is through a safety app. Take New Zealand's own SiteApp, it has a number of features specifically designed to help engage employees. 

With an easily-accessible communication platform, workers know what they are meant to be doing, as well as their team's role. As construction teams move between multiple sites, workers can harmonise documentation across all working locations. This cloud-based safety app can ensure documentation is safe and sound, while also allowing workers and managers year round access – no matter the time or the place. 

As employee engagement continues to be a major obstacle for businesses seeking workplace compliance, it is essential to get directed and effective help. Contact a representative of SiteApp today. 

Building a positive health and safety culture

As all organisations know, workplace health and safety is an essential element for all businesses. However, the way many approach it fails to be beneficial. A positive health and safety culture can and does add value to an organisation if it is implemented properly. 

So what does it take to develop a positive work health and safety culture and how can you implement one at your organisation?

Building a positive workplace health and safety culture depends on knowing what 'culture' is.

What is culture?

Before we begin to talk about positive work health and safety, we must first understand what we mean when we talk about culture, or more specifically, organisational culture. 

When anthropologists first came up with the term nearly a century ago, they imagined it as an all encompassing concept that incorporated all that humans do, including our institutions, languages and traditions. However, over time it was distilled into a definition that goes something like this: "The ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a group or organisation of people that is transferred between generations."

In relation to organisational culture, this academic definition fits. Think for instance about leadership style and how this permeates throughout the organisation, influencing the way processes are structured and enacted. Culture provides the background for the way people perform their everyday tasks and the interactions among employees, customers and management staff. 

Safety is more than an individuals responsibility. Safety is more than an individual's responsibility.

What is safety culture then?

If culture is the shared meanings, values and behaviours of people, safety culture is thus all that relates to ensuring safety in the workplace. In other words, safety culture is the common understanding that everyone has the right to be safe and healthy while at work as well as the responsibility to act in a way that ensures this is a reality. 

One of the most important aspects of culture is that it penetrates all aspects of an organisation, from top to bottom. As such, safety culture is influenced by all members of a business, be it the CEO, an HR manager or a labourer. In this respect, everybody thus has a responsibility to ensure that the culture is a positive one. 

However, some people have a greater ability to affect change in an organisation than others and thus have a greater onus on them. In most cases this refers to people in upper management. 

So how do I build a positive workplace safety culture?

As culture is defined as a host of transferable values and meanings, building a positive culture of health and safety can be attained in a number of ways. 

However, it all starts with ensuring the processes you have at your company serve their purpose and are thus viewed positively by all members of staff. One way to be this happens is by introducing new safety software, such as a safety app. 

Culture is inherently communal, thus safety culture is more than an individual's responsibility.

Through applications like SiteApp, employees are better able to interact and engage with workplace processes, without the hassle that characterised old paper-based systems. SiteApp for instance allows workers to access required compliance documents remotely and managers to allocate work duties to individuals in the field. 

Once organisations can begin to streamline and enhance their work health and safety processes, employees will begin to see the value of these, rather than being told how these are important. With the passing of the Health and Safety at Work Act, there is added emphasis to engage employees and ensure they are taking responsibility of their own and other's health and safety. 

If you would like to learn more about engaging employees and ensuring you have a positive workplace health and safety culture, it is important to talk to the experts in the field. Contact SiteApp today.