Empathy and engagement align with each other nicely. When a person has empathy, they can better engage. When someone is good at engagement, they can help cultivate empathy. This creates an opportunity in the workplace to help begin finding a path toward better people relations. If the organization can create methods of engagement, there is at least an opportunity for empathy to develop. The hope is that with more empathy there will then be more engagement and so the cycle would continue.
In earlier blogs, there was the idea of creating methods to standardize empathy through having work practices that created and guided team members through a process. The process was geared mostly toward health care to at least create the appearance of empathy and caring. Well if you have been a follower of my work, you probably have an idea of where I am going. Yep . . . Safety. Safety is the first means that an organization can create standardization of engagement. By creating a few simple measures that a supervisor or manager can follow each day, there is an instant requirement for engagement.
Why start with safety? There are a few good answers for that.
1) It’s the law
2) There is nothing more personal or important
3) Of all the KPIs, safety is the most personal
4) Of all the KPIs, safety is the least reversible
5) Safety is a fundamental human motivational need
What is great about using safety as that first entry to engagement is that it is relevant to everyone, it is an easy conversation, and it creates traceable proactive metrics. Here is a basic yet highly effective example. A supervisor must make four safety contacts a day. That is about a 5-10 minute conversation with an employee every two hours. The question to ask is what safety issues are in your area that needs to be corrected? Even with simple software, this can be tracked. There are now metrics of items that have been corrected, items turned in for work order, items added to a capital list, and open unaddressed items. These metrics are exceptionally powerful when creating engagement.