In today’s Dear Abby column, the writer asked for advice about leaving her employer. The employer in her opinion hasn’t cared about keeping employees safe and now she has a negative opinion of the owner. Because of this, she views the owner as greedy and non-caring and isn’t sure if she can work for the company anymore. Abby suggests that she could pursue legal remedies and further recommends leaving the company. Abby actually referenced the January 21, 2021 Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety.
From an HR perspective, companies have the Duty of Care responsibility for worker health and safety. We don’t know but possibly this company has done everything correctly. The employee perspective is that they aren’t safe! We know that employee perceptions are important and affect many things in the workplace including morale, productivity, and engagement. What’s a company to do?
A few things every company must do. Do a safety/health audit? This may be as simple as walking around and observing whether safety protocols are being followed. This of course assumes that you have safety protocols. Create a culture where employees are free to express their concerns and raise their hands when there are issues. Make sure communication in every way emphasizes safety and the importance to the company that employees are safe and healthy. Over-communicate this message.
Last but not least, watch what comes out of your mouth. We should have all learned this from our parents at a young age. It still applies. Employees are watching management and owners. Make sure that you are a good model for safety and health. For more ideas on creating a safe work environment, register for our session, HR:30 One Year Later – COVID Culture of Safety.