In most incident investigations the cultural message sent is that we care about statistics, not people. Employees are more likely to support organizational objectives and take initiative when they feel valued by the organization. Reducing safety to a numbers-focused issue undermines this. Leading with DISC Safety Investigations defines the practices, tools, and systems essential to creating an injury-free workplace, including the role of employees at each level, special considerations for coaching the senior executive leader, and the two crucial aspects of human performance that every leader needs to know. Sometimes, the best way to know what action will lead to the desired state is to first understand what not to do. This is especially true of something as complex as culture. Intuitively, many leaders know that culture is important to safety functioning. Yet despite a significant increase in programs designed to build “safety culture,” many organizations continue to struggle with low engagement, poor reporting, turf wars, and other cultural roadblocks to safety excellence. Increased employee awareness of at risk behaviors and barriers is one benefit to conducting incident investigations. Observations provide pure based assessments of events by capturing data that identifies at risk behaviors without establishing blame Culture comes down to the unwritten rules of the workplace; the things we know are expected and supported even though they remain unspoken. The shared values, assumptions, and beliefs that make up these rules drive how everything is done in an organization, and they have influence on safety, even though they are often not specific to safety. Given the complexity of organizational life, you clearly don’t need to set out to create a broken culture in order to get one. DISC, a quick fix to a broken culture if you let it, but first you must understand the people are the focus of the event not the cause of the event. It assesses what the individual “does”. Evaluations are typically conducted three to six months after the training by direct observation, tests or surveys (written or electronically) or interviews (i.e., focus groups). A reaction survey is a subjective evaluation of the training course by the participants that assesses how they “feel”, sometimes called “smile sheets’, reaction surveys measure the participant's immediate perceptions of the quality and usefulness of the training. To develop an understanding of accountability, it is helpful to start by looking at how this practice works in the organization. Conventional thinking holds that accountability is a straightforward equation of setting a direction and, later, holding people to it. In practice, accountability is more complex. Lines of responsibility must be established; but so also, must the conditions that allow them to be met. Consider, a time when you were assigned a large responsibility. Likely, it was not enough for you to know just that you had to perform the task. You probably also wanted to know what larger goal the task was oriented toward, how to access the means or resources needed to achieve the task, and how to address potential obstacles. DISC assesses what the participant “thinks or believes in themselves, it adds the human factor to the incident”. It is important to understand that nobody on earth is defined by one single DISC style. However, in many cases, one of the 4 styles indicated takes a prominent role during an incident. Because the various elements will vary in intensity depending on specific stimulus you should only think of the comments in this article as general guidelines to communication. Measure the skills, knowledge, or attitude that the participant retains as a result of the training. At DISC assessment in safety does this for your company and applies insight into current trends and events that cause high end actions. Once an organization has managed and controlled environmental risks, the next step is to screen out high risk individuals before they have a chance to injure themselves or others – irrespective of the environment – and manage existing high risk workers effectively. Organizations that do this effectively can significantly: Reduce lost time injuries Lower workers' compensation costs Reduce sick days Reduce the risk of personal liability for directors and senior managers. Behavioral profile indicates how people are likely to approach problems, interact with others, and respond to the pace of the environment and its rules and procedures. Behavioral profiles provide employers with detailed information about an individual’s strengths, weaknesses, communication style and their motivators. Understanding an individual's behavioral profiles can lead to: Improved communication Better team cohesion Improved performance and effectiveness. DISC a behavioral assessment that provides an indication of how a person is likely to behave and communicate in a work role. This information can be used to identify individuals whose behavioral style matches the requirements of the position and how well they will fit into an existing team. For existing employees, the information from this assessment can provide insight into an individual’s behavioral strengths and areas for development to help manage their performance and motivate them effectively. Dominance – approach to problems and challenges Influencing – approach to social situations Steadiness – approach to pace of the environment Compliance – approach to rules. Personality is a term that describes the unique characteristics of an individual that underlie and influence their behaviour. Personality remains relatively consistent or stable throughout one’s life and, as a result, can be reliably measured to help make predictions regarding an individual. Understanding personality helps: Improve on-the-job performance Increase productivity, Improve job satisfaction and Build team cohesion. If you fail to add the “Attitude or Behavior Reviews to the Incident you create the following pit falls 1. Ignore exposures and focus on injuries: Rather than emphasize the process of finding and eliminating exposure to hazards, use injuries as the focus of attention, measure of success and trigger for change. As much as possible, ignore exposure to hazards that you know exist in your workplace. Above all, allow periods of low or no injuries to lull you into a false sense of security. 2. Encourage leaders to say things they know are either contradictory or impossible to achieve. Manage safety through platitudes that don’t match organizational reality. Frequent reference to zero injuries while ignoring obvious safety issues is perfect for this. Don’t notice it if your actions fail to be consistent with your words. 3. Ask for input, then don’t respond. A broken “safety culture” depends on creating as much distance as possible between the organization and its employees. Make it clear that people’s input doesn’t matter and that while you want them to provide information, they shouldn’t expect you to act on it. Surveys are highly recommended for this. 4. Block upward communication about safety issues, especially when the news is bad. As the saying goes, no news is good news. Dysfunctional cultures thrive on secrets and incomplete information. As much as possible, discourage information sharing that might give the organization any real sense of safety performance, especially if it might make you look bad. 5. Ignore safety issues until a serious injury happens, then discipline those involved. Addressing safety issues in a timely way might give people the impression that safety is a priority. It also misses a valuable opportunity to erode trust through blaming lower level leaders for systems issues they can’t control when things do go wrong. 6. Put safety on the agenda as a number one item, but limit discussion to trivialities. Effectively broken cultures instead give safety a place of honor while minimizing its importance in the process. As a general rule, the longer you can spend on trivialized safety issues, the better. Clearly, no one would deliberately follow this advice. Yet, in many organizations, safety continues to suffer from simplistic treatment. Good investigators do the following in their safety culture and many of us have known great safety leaders whose commitment to safety, combined with excellence in leadership, have had an enormous positive impact on their organizations. Behaviour has been shown to correlate positively with culture and climate attributes that support good safety outcomes: Vision - The effective leader is able to "see" what safety excellence would look like and conveys that vision in a compelling way throughout the organization. Credibility - The effective leader fosters a high level of trust in his or her peers and reports. Collaboration - The effective leader works well with other people, promotes cooperation and collaboration in safety, actively seeks input from people on issues that affect them, and encourages others to implement their decisions and solutions for improving safety. Communication - The effective leader is a great communicator. He or she encourages people to give honest and complete information about safety even if the information is unfavorable. Action-Orientation - The effective leader is proactive rather than reactive in addressing safety issues. Feedback & Recognition - The effective leader is good at providing feedback and recognizing people for their accomplishments. Accountability - Finally, the effective leader practices accountability. He or she gives people a fair appraisal of the efforts and results in safety, clearly communicates people's roles in the safety effort, and fosters the sense that every person is responsible for the level of safety in their organizational unit. It requires rethinking how we approach safety activities, the measures we use to monitor progress and define success, and the way we approach engagement of employees at all levels. This article suggests five steps that, in our experience, characterize the progression toward injury-free performance. 1. Establish Alignment & Ownership: The injury-free culture starts with alignment around what we mean by injury-free and what we mean by "injury". The focus is not going forever injury free, which for most people is too hard a concept to support or stand behind. The focus is continuous, sustainable improvement. The term "injury" could mean lost-times for one organization or medical cases for another. 2. Challenge Helplessness : Culture is as much about what we hear as what we see. Listen to how people describe performance issues and problems in your organization. Do they express optimism about safety and their ability to influence it, even if they are not in charge? Or do they define safety as something "outside their control" or as "someone else's job"? 3. Focus on Exposures: Traditional safety management tends to use injuries as the driver for change and the measure of improvement. This approach is somewhat like trying to drive forward by looking in the rearview mirror; it only tells us where we've been, not where we're going. Injury-free cultures work on seeing and understanding the potentials for injuries that exist in the organizational landscape. 4. Expand Your Metrics Set: Injury-free performance requires a broad and diverse set of indicators that help us understand and address increases in exposure. No single number, leading or lagging, can do this. We can rely even less on traditional indicators as safety performance improves; there is no "-1" in injury rate. Standard lagging indicators (such as recordable rates), are still valuable, but companies aiming for injury-free performance will add to these such measures as: the nature and severity of exposures, analysis of systems and practices contributing to exposures, the alignment of organizational goals with goals in safety, and measures of climate, culture, and leadership practices linked to safety outcomes. 5. Engage Employees: At the end of the day, leadership is limited in its ability to provide coverage and even with the best safety programs are only as effective as the level to which they have employee buy-in and support. Injury-free cultures work at passing the "2 AM test". That is, what happens at 2 o'clock in the morning when no one is around, the consultants are long gone, and the managers have all gone home? hold supervisors and managers accountable for safety by including a safety goal in the individual’s annual goals or objectives. When this has been done, the widespread approach has been to give each individual an injury rate goal for his department or group. Goals provide an antecedent that prompt behaviors. When bonuses or salary raises are based on injury rate, achievement of the target rate results in a strong consequence for behavior. The behaviors that have most direct “line of sight” connection to an injury rate goal are a set of behaviors that focus on managing the number, not taking steps to reduce exposure and improve safety. For example, a manager may be prompted to focus strongly on return to work programs, or may, intentionally or not, convey to workers that minor injuries should not be reported, or may be tempted to push the envelope on whether something is considered reportable or not. None of those actions have any impact on whether people get hurt. Accountability in Four Steps: Create a Culture of Responsibility • Leaders need to nourish the cultural context and manifestations of accountability. Leader- member exchange creates an atmosphere of mutual responsibility and obligation. Upward communication fosters problem identification and barrier removal. What is its priority? 1. Set Expectations • Accountability depends upon defining who is responsible for what. The leader needs to set, and get agreement on, expectations that are clear, measurable, and personal.. The S.M.A.R.T GOALS acronym spells it out: Specific – The objective is stated in sufficient detail to ensure understanding of the desired result. Measurable – The objective is stated in terms that define the quality, quantity and/or cost parameters that are important to achieving the objective. Attainable – The goal is challenging but within reach. Relevant – The goal focuses on an area that is within the scope of the person’s job and linked to department and organizational goals. Time-Bound – The goal is defined with a schedule. 2. Monitor Progress and Provide Feedback • The leader needs to track how accountabilities are being met and respond to the data. This includes maintaining regular communication to identify, understand, and remove barriers to achievement, measuring the progress of agreed upon goals, and responding appropriately to what the metrics are telling her. 3. Manage Systems • In addition to monitoring agreed upon expectations, the leader also needs to pay attention to the systems that bear on accountability. Are they actually reinforcing the right things? Are they introducing unanticipated consequences, such as making safety activities difficult or overly time-consuming?
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