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To Retain Talent, Invest in Workplace Safety

If you want to succeed in today’s tough economic landscape, then you need to have the best people on your team. People who not only show up to work every day, but who go the extra mile. Who adapt quickly, produce quality work, and do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Of course, these types of people are in high demand — and it’s getting harder and harder for employers to keep them. Opinions and reasons for this abound, but there’s one element that’s often overlooked and undervalued when it comes to retaining employees: workplace safety.

Do employees feel safe at work? Can they speak up about safety issues? Are their concerns heard and addressed?

It’s no secret that workers who feel valued by their employer will be more likely to stick around. And there’s no better way to show that you care about your employees than by keeping them safe and healthy.

By investing in workplace safety tools and processes, you can improve employee engagement and retention. We’ll look at that more closely in just a moment, but first let’s take a look at where we are today.

A few statistics on employee retention:

  • U.S. businesses lose $1 trillion every year due to voluntary turnover [Gallup]
  • The cost of replacing an individual employee can range from .5 - 2X the employee's annual salary [Gallup]
  • Turnover is highest in industries such as mining and logging, construction, manufacturing, transportation and utilities [U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics]
  • Baby Boomers are retiring at a rate of around 10,000 a day — faster than younger workers can replace them [U.S. Census Bureau]
  • The average worker’s tenure is just 4.2 years [U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics]
  • Only 17% of companies believe they have the right people throughout the company to execute their business strategy (The Predictive Index)
  • In 2018, 41.4 million U.S. workers voluntarily quit their jobs — that’s one in four workers [Work Institute]
  • By 2023, one in three workers will voluntarily leave their jobs each year [Work Institute]

Clearly, employee retention is not a new challenge. But it has become an even more pressing problem during the current pandemic.

As businesses reopen, it’s becoming harder to convince people to come to work and put themselves at risk of contracting the virus. Many employees are simply refusing to return to work due to COVID-19 concerns.

What this means for employers — especially those in industries where working from home is not an option — is that dangling a promotion or pay increase likely won’t be enough to persuade people to stay.

Instead of forcing employees to choose between their job or their health, employers will need to flip the script on how they think and talk about safety culture.

Success starts at the top

For starters, corporate leaders have to walk the talk. Instead of resorting to platitudes like “Be careful” and “Safety is our #1 priority”, we must commit to equipping employees to protect themselves. Providing effective training. Ensuring adequate staffing. Mentoring new workers. Soliciting feedback and acting on it.

It also means investing in safety technology that helps keep workers safe on the job. Providing tools like EHS software, mobile inspection apps, and iPads or tablets that make safety management easier and more efficient. When companies leverage technology in this way, it benefits employees both out in the field and in the office.

These tools pay for themselves many times over in reduced incident rates and increased employee retention. (If that’s not reason enough, consider that 16% of younger employees have quit a job because their employer did not provide the proper technology for them to do their job.)

The bottom line

Hiring the best people is only half the battle. If your organization is struggling to retain talent, consider looking beyond your salary and benefits package.

By offering tools and resources that help employees stay safe at work, you’ll help drive engagement and keep your top performers for the long haul.

Next, learn more about what EHS can do to help employees feel safe

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