Whether employees are working with dangerous equipment, ascending extreme heights every day, or doing one of the many other jobs with high fatalities, leaders must find ways to keep morale high.
If you have employees whose work puts them at risk, it's important to create an environment where they can feel as though someone is looking out for them. Here are a few things you can do to keep morale high when your employees have dangerous jobs.
The most important first step you can take is to acknowledge that your employees face risks in their work. Brushing it off as, "No big deal" will only create animosity. Instead, let your workers know that you are aware of the risks that come with their jobs and you are doing everything you can to minimize those risks. Recognize hard work and praise your team on a regular basis for not only remaining productive, but performing their work without injury.
Take Safety Seriously
If an employee's job is risky, it's the business owner's responsibility to take every measure possible to prevent injury. Hold regular safety awareness training sessions and post safety warnings in areas where dangerous equipment is used. If employees face slip-and-fall risks, mandate that shoes with slip-resistant soles be worn. Also include in your dress code other safe apparel that needs to be worn, including safety goggles and gloves where applicable. When workers see that a business's management team takes safety seriously, they'll feel supported and you'll find that job satisfaction improves.
Handle Injuries Well
In the event something bad does happen, it's imperative that you handle it with as much sensitivity as possible. Make sure the employee's medical costs are covered and make it clear to everyone that you'll hold the injured employee's job until it's safe to return to work. Also make every effort to fix the condition that led to the injury to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Offer Advancement Opportunities
In some cases, workers in unsafe positions can eventually move into safer jobs within the same company. If this is possible, offer the training and support necessary to help these employees eventually move into those positions. When one of these positions come open, make sure you give existing employees a fair shot at applying and try to promote from within rather than bringing in new people. When employees see their fellow workers advance into better-paying roles within the organization, they'll see that it's possible and begin aspiring to do so, as well.
Often the very person who keeps a worker safe is that person's coworker. When employees have a teamwork mentality, they'll look out for each other. While many people will naturally protect those around them, you can reduce injury risks by helping strengthen those bonds. If employees seem burned out and disconnected, occasionally host teambuilding events like retreats and staff luncheons. Employees will have fun and interact, forming a bond that will make a difference when they're engaging in dangerous work duties.
Businesses rely on employees to take on risky jobs in order to get results. If businesses employ workers in dangerous jobs, it can be difficult to keep them motivated, especially if they're constantly fearing injury. The best thing a business's leaders can do is let employees know they're supported by acknowledging the risk, taking every precaution possible, and offering opportunities for advancement. When employees feel supported, they'll also look out for each other and do their best to keep their team members safe.