Employee Retention Through Safety

Written by Daniel Aday, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Specialist

It is no secret that companies are having a hard time recruiting and hiring employees. Traveling to every corner of the state within the last year, you will see “Help Wanted” signs in windows, ads, billboards and lawn signs. While there may be obvious reasons for staffing difficulties, employee retention struggles may not be easily identifiable especially when they involve skilled or manual labor jobs. Most employers may be quick to say “worker shortages” or “people just don’t want to work,” but the fact of the matter is, there are more people in the work force right now than during the previous 10 years, according to statista.com. Additionally, unemployment rates are trending to be the lowest they have been in the past 20 years, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In today’s field, you are competing with all the companies in your area for good employees. Wages and benefits will always be one of the top reasons for losing employees, but other reasons are important, as well, such as: poor work culture, overworked staff, undervalued labor positions, bad upper management and lack of well-being. While safety is not the answer to all of these staffing shortage issues, it will give you a great foundation for employee retention.

Time and time again, we read about worker fatalities, unsafe working conditions or lack of safety altogether. While you may not know what the safest company is in your area, there’s a good chance that you may be aware of the unsafe companies in your area. Traveling to several companies, businesses and municipalities, I vary rarely hear employees tell me about previous places of employment with positive safety environments, but often hear about previous employers with practically zero concern for worker safety or protection. This is all because negativity spreads a lot faster than positivity for places of employment. Consider this: would you want to work for a place that you knew had poor safety practices, even if it paid well?

Employee satisfaction may not start with safety, but it is always considered. Safety is the core of all skilled and manual labor jobs. Worker appreciation, company culture, management support and nearly every non-monetary reason that people stay with a company can be linked to a company’s positive safety program. Simply put, if you are having problems with worker retention, a safe bet would be to improve your safety programs.

How can we make safety improvements to increase worker retention? Safety isn’t just created overnight, but it can always start right now. Employees tend to know what is best, and if you just go in and start making new safety programs from copy and paste procedures, it will be perceived more negatively than positively. Start with the easy stuff and work your way up to the harder stuff. Build momentum with safety and your employees will notice.

Want to know how to start improving your safety today? Just ask! Talk with staff about their safety concerns and do your absolute best to address them. Boosted morale can be earned through better PPE. Usually spending just a few bucks extra for the nice safety glasses, better quality gloves, or even shoe inserts, is enough to get the ball rolling. Determine what the safety hurdles are with your staff and see what they need to conquer them. Hold valuable and significant safety meetings with your employees, monthly at the very least, if not weekly or daily. Don’t over do it, but doing something is always better than doing nothing. Making your company the safest it can be is always one way you can get the upper hand on recruitment and retention over the other local companies. For more easy safety starters, ask us at: safety@compone.net

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