Engaged Workplace Culture Can Reduce Accident Rates by 70%

By Janice Berthold, Heffernan Insurance Brokers

recent meta-analysis by Gallup, Inc. calculated the business-work-unit-level relationship between employee engagement and nine performance outcomes, including customer loyalty/engagement, profitability, productivity, turnover, safety incidents, shrinkage, absenteeism, patient safety incidents, and quality (defects). Median differences between top-quartile and bottom-quartile units were: 10% in customer ratings, 21% in profitability, 20% in sales production, 17% in production records, 24% in turnover (high-turnover organizations), 59% in turnover (low-turnover organizations), 70% in safety incidents, 28% in shrinkage, 41% in absenteeism, 58% in patient safety incidents and 40% in quality (defects). While the relationship between employee engagement and organizational outcomes is meaningful in each area, it’s noteworthy that safety tops the list.

According to Gallup, organizations with strong safety cultures have three things in common:

  • Their employees are committed to doing quality work.
  • The company’s mission or purpose makes employees feel their job is important.
  • Workers feel their opinions count.

While many employers may feel they foster such an environment, a recent study by Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield, cofounders and leading researchers at VitalSmarts, a TwentyEighty Inc. company, points to a significant gap between what management wants corporate culture to be (and thinks it is) and how employees view corporate culture.

They found while leaders say they want innovation, initiative, candor and teamwork, what employees feel is really valued is obedience, predictability, deference to authority and competition with peers. Employees say their leaders hype one set of behaviors but reward another. An honest, open conversation with employees can help reveal if there is a chasm in corporate culture.

JB 2014 PicJanice Berthold is the Senior Vice President at Heffernan Insurance Brokers, one of the nation’s largest independent insurance brokerage firms. She can be reached at (800)842-5205 or janiceb@heffins.com.