To ensure that their employees are up to date on company issues, specifically safety, safety meetings should be a high priority for ALL small businesses. At its core, a staff meeting is meant to be informative, motivational, and productive; however, this is not always the case. According to Employers Insurance, “Few things draw groans, sighs or yawns from workers quite like calling a staff meeting. Meetings can be tedious and unproductive, annoying interruptions to an otherwise productive workday.”
Safety programs not only protect workers from on-the-job injuries, but they also save business owners money. The National Institute of Building Science noted, “Effective safety and health programs can save owners $4 to $6 for every $1 they invest”. These programs can also lead to increased morale and productivity from employees, as well as better control of Work Comp related costs. Below are several ways to help make safety meetings more engaging and informational:
Practical Safety Meeting Ideas:
- Be Consistent – Safety meetings for all employees should be held at the same day and time, and attendance should be mandatory. Holding meetings consistently demonstrates a business owner’s commitment to safety and creates trust with workers. Safety meetings are an opportunity for workers to talk candidly about safety issues they see in the workplace – issues owners and managers may not even be aware of – and offer advice to solve these issues. At the same time, meetings allow owners and managers to review and reiterate important established safety procedures.
- Keep it Simple – Shorter, well-focused meetings keep people’s attention without exhausting or boring them. This requires owners and meeting leaders to arrive at the meeting well-prepared before addressing their teams. Create an agenda beforehand and don’t deviate. Limit the meeting to just a few relevant topics, and don’t spend too much time on just one. Establish the meeting goals from the start and stick to those key points. Invite only the relevant team members to the meeting. For example, if the meeting is about safety in the kitchen environment, invite the restaurant’s chefs, cooks, and expediters. Dedicate time for managers to train or refresh workers on how to properly – and safely – use equipment.
- Stay Refreshed – Command attention by keeping meeting attendees refreshed. Provide snacks and drinks at the meeting to give the audience an energy boost, which will make them more likely to pay attention and participate actively. Snacks also incentivize staff to show up on time and interact with one another. Owners can also keep teams attentive in shorter meetings by removing chairs and having people stand, or in an environment where people stand for their job, sitting during the meeting can help them be relaxed and focused.
Fun/Unique Safety Meeting Ideas:
- Ramp up Involvement – To get teams engaged and keep them that way for the duration of a safety meeting, consider interactive games or activities. Split participants into smaller teams and have them demonstrate a safety procedure or role play how to respond in the event of an employee injury, then reward the team that does the best job adhering to the company’s safety program. Or, quiz teams on safety protocols and offer rewards for the highest scorers. Prize drawings during the meeting are a great way to keep workers’ attention. Rewards can be anything from movie passes to restaurant gift certificates, or even an afternoon off. If in the budget, try holding a meeting outside the office at a fun place, such as a mini-golf course, bowling alley or escape room. Then, once the meeting is over, consider giving employees the rest of the day off to enjoy the fun and games.
- Show, Don’t Tell – Some of a certain generation can recall walking into a school classroom and seeing a TV and VCR on a wheeled-on cart. That meant the teacher planned to show a documentary or movie instead of lecturing. Today in the workplace, people still don’t want to be recited to dryly about safety rules and procedures. They’d prefer it be entertaining and visual. Integrate videos, props or slide shows to hold an engaging safety meeting while explaining safety issues. Employees will also better remember safety concepts with the help of visual aids.
- Less Lecturing, More Conversation – View meetings as a dialogue, not a monologue. Getting teams involved with brainstorming sessions allows them to better process and recall information. Moderators can observe to gauge participation and the direct questions to get quiet or reluctant team members involved and talking. With participation, workers tend to feel they have skin in the game and are more likely to help develop and adhere to internal policies.
For more information, please check out Employers blog on this topic.