In addition to competing to win project opportunities, building contractors are spending several hours a day battling it out with competitors for skilled laborers. And while there are a variety of things you can do with brand messaging to market your construction company as an employer of choice, safety is king.
QSR Magazine recently found that, along with compensation and commute length, workplace safety is one of the top criteria construction employees consider when evaluating a new job. Yet, nearly one in five workers report they’ve never received workplace safety training, and 40 percent indicated their employer doesn’t post required Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) signage prominently.
You’re probably thinking, “Why should I care about this?” Because capitalizing on safety as a competitive advantage in your construction marketing plan could be the key to attracting and retaining top talent. With that in mind, here are some tips for stepping up your safety culture.
Assess Potential Hazards
The best way to foster a safe workspace is by conducting regular walk-throughs on job sites. These visits should include assessing equipment, evaluating current practices, and identifying situations that could be potentially harmful to employees.
You should also use this time to regularly check in with your project managers and laborers, who can provide insight into where changes need to be made and help you shape more effective messaging and communication strategies. Looping team members into the conversation will make them feel heard and valued, which is always a plus!
Educate and Remind Regularly
Getting your hands on the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) – and convincing your employees to wear it daily – is another hurdle currently facing building professionals. Common reasons for not complying with PPE guidelines include the belief protective gear isn’t necessary or gets in the way on the job.
If you're struggling with PPE compliance, consider training and educating people across departments about how to use protective gear and why it’s necessary. Company videos are an excellent way to educate employees and demonstrate how you prioritize safety on your construction website. Additionally, it provides you with perfect digital marketing content to recycle on your (likely) dormant social media channels!
You can also regularly remind employees about safety practices and procedures in handbooks, newsletters, and on signage displayed throughout the workplace. Make the learning process more fun by providing incentives for employee participation, like having your employees' children submit safety-themed artwork for a poster competition or awarding prizes to employees who meet safety milestones.
Listen And Reevaluate
Employee word of mouth is your best asset in debunking safety fears and establishing safety as a vital component of your company culture.
But as people retire and age demographics shift, fresh hires may be hesitant to speak up about workplace safety concerns at the risk of losing their job. Consider building trust with employees by implementing an open-door policy or installing an anonymous suggestion box to provide feedback.
You also don’t want to underestimate the need to spell out respect for life and livelihood to “invincible” young workers. What does this look like? Rather than just mandating safety goggles, provide direct, honest, and even graphic examples of the dangers of not wearing them. You’d be surprised how much of an impact this will have on younger generations.
Why Safety Matters
If someone knows their safety is a priority before landing the job, they will trust you care more about your employees than your bottom line. This is especially important considering that Millennials and Generation Z – the largest sector of current workers – regularly rank personal safety as their top workplace issue.
That could be the differentiator encouraging prospective employees to pick your company over the others.