New Kid on the Block: Earning Trust as a Safety Professional at your New Facility
As a safety professional, earning trust is essential to launching successful safety initiatives at a new facility. The “new kid on the block” often has to earn their spot and it’s never for lack of trying. When taking on a new facility, it can be difficult to gain the confidence of the staff and management to create an effective safety culture. However, with a few key steps, safety professionals can quickly establish their credibility and earn the respect they need. First, safety professionals at a new facility should take time to familiarize themselves with the facility’s existing policies and procedures. Before you can run, you’ve got to crawl! Focus on building a solid “lay of the land.” before attempting to do anything else. It is just as important to learn what rules existed before your arrival as it is to understand the history behind their implementation. Second, safety professionals should also build genuine relationships with employees at all levels of the organization as soon as possible. Getting to know the staff and management on a personal level helps to break down barriers, establish expectations, and open lines of communication. Furthermore, it can provide valuable insight into the best way to reach your audience when it comes time to get some training done. Finally, safety professionals should demonstrate a prominent level of commitment to their role by following through on promises made. Of course, be careful of the promises you make! This includes attending meetings and events when you’ve accepted the invitation. Always try to respond promptly to questions or concerns from fellow employees. Be sure to show a high level of respect, empathy, and sometimes even bravery, regardless of their position. Everyone deserves to feel heard. This type of accountability is crucial to being taken seriously. Best of all, it encourages other members of the organization to do the same when working with you on various projects and initiatives. By taking these steps, safety professionals can quickly earn the trust of their new colleagues and the employees they’ve been tasked with safeguarding. Always seek to foster an atmosphere in which a positive safety culture can thrive, especially from day one. That precedence set in the beginning helps everyone begin to work together towards a common goal: their overall health and safety.