May 09 2022
By: Shawn M. Galloway
A plant manager asked me to assess how mature his safety culture was and identify opportunities for further improvement. Of this 400+ person plant, the majority of the population I spoke with believed that the plant manager knew them by name. On Thursdays of every week for the past six months, the plant manager conducted what he called a "safety blitz." He would take a manager, supervisor and a couple of employees, and walk different plant areas. He would introduce himself to the employees, learn a little about them and inquire how he could help them with improving safety.
When I gave the plant manager this feedback, I remember him hanging his head and responding, "I wish that were true." He coordinated with Human Resources (HR) to commit to learning each employee's name and what was important to them. He had HR and Information Technology (IT) develop a screensaver on all department managers' laptops with rotating images of their employees' names and challenged them. They had six months to memorize all their employees' names and learn what was important to them.
If your employees know you know them by name and what or who is important to them, perhaps you have created the impression that you care about them. If you don't know this, maybe you have unintentionally created the impression you don't care.
"If I didn't know you I would say I don't know you." — Jaime Cabrera
"Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first." — Angela Ahrendts (Senior Vice President, Apple)
Shawn M. Galloway is CEO of the global consultancy ProAct Safety. He is a trusted advisor, professional keynote speaker, and author of several bestselling books on safety strategy, culture, leadership, and behavior-based safety. He is a monthly columnist for several magazines and one of the most prolific contributors in the industry, having also authored over 700 podcasts, 200 articles, and 100 videos. Shawn has received awards and recognition for his significant contributions from the American Society of Safety Professionals, National Safety Council's Top 40 Rising Stars and Top Ten Speakers, EHS Today Magazine's 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS, ISHN Magazine's POWER 101 - Leaders of the EHS World and their newest list: 50 Leaders for Today and Tomorrow, Pro-Sapien's list of The Top 11 Health and Safety Influencers and is an Avetta Distinguished Fellow.