- Have a company mission statement
- Create an accountability system
- Practice SWA (Stop Work Authority)
- Follow up with Toolbox Talks
One of the biggest issues facing businesses today, especially companies in the construction industry, is the dangers of complacency in the workplace. Over time, even the best workers become accustomed to doing tasks a “certain way.” This type of lackadaisical attitude can lead to lost productivity, lost efficiency, and even accidents.
That’s right – complacency on the job site can even cause death. Most workers don’t even realize that they’ve become complacent until it’s too late and they are involved in a near miss or even an accident.
Fortunately, as leaders, there are 4 easy steps you can take to stop workers from becoming complacent. And they actually work!
4 steps to avoid workplace complacency:
1. Have a company mission statement – When your employees can rally around a common goal or purpose, they will have an emotional investment in the work they do. If your company has a strong, concrete mission statement that is regularly mentioned and reinforced with your workers, they will more likely be engaged on your job site.
2. Create an accountability system – when your workers know they can count on each other to get the job done, they start working harder. But it’s not only that – studies have shown that when workers commit to a goal, their efficiency goes way up. The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) did a study on accountability and found that workers have a 65% chance of completing a goal if they commit to someone. And if they have a specific accountability appointment with a person they’ve committed to, this will increase the chance of success by up to 95%.
What does this mean for the construction industry? It means that when workers have committed to a goal with a supervisor or manager they are more likely to get it done. “But isn’t that their jobs?” Well, the difference is actually creating that accountability system and spending some face-to-face time with your workers asking them personally to do specific tasks. Supervisors should do this as often as possible, to reinforce that their work actually matters and someone is waiting on their results.
3. Practice SWA (Stop Work Authority) – A Stop Work Authority program is a program that empowers workers to stop and halt work if a perceived safety hazard is present. This keeps your employees vigilant, and gives them the authority to stop work if they observe a safety issue. This keeps “all hands on deck” and leads to more near-misses being reported, which means more profit and efficiency from lack of accidents and injuries. It also keeps workers looking out for each other which can solidify team building.
4. Follow up with Toolbox Talks – according to the “forgetting curve” phenomenon, 90% of training information is forgotten within in the first week. That means your workers unfortunately forget most of their safety training and stop doing it. It’s just science, and it even happens to the best workers. To combat this, use Toolbox Talks to keep your staff informed. Toolbox Talks are informal meetings held every week before the day’s shift begins, and provides a brief overview of a safety topic followed by an open forum. Not only does it refresh your workers’ training – leading to less complacency – but it allows supervisors and managers to gauge morale of the team and keep tabs on safety issues and other work issues that come up in the field. Not only do your workers get more training, but they will also succeed more due to face-to-face accountability and increased morale. It’s a win-win for all parties involved. We have dozens of free Toolbox Talk templates if you need a jump-start.
By practicing these 4 simple steps, you can dramatically lower your workers’ complacency rates. That could mean the difference between life and death in some instances. Never let an accident catch you off guard.