Workplace culture is a hot topic right now. For example, across many different industries, recruiters are placing less priority on formal certifications, and more focus on cultural fit; how an individual could bring value through their passion for the sector, their forward-thinking mindset, or their shared vision for success. Another example is how organisations are adapting their approaches to create a culture that’s attractive for potential talent. Google, of course, is well known for its ‘work hard, play hard’ attitude, with offices complete with games tables and even playground equipment like slides.
But what exactly is ‘company culture’?
Company culture is made up of core aspects of how a business operates. Making the tea round every morning? That’s part of the culture. Monthly rewards and recognition? Culture. Chatty lunch breaks? Culture. Health and safety? Perhaps not so much…
Health and safety is rarely recognised as a part of company culture. Businesses aren’t in the habit of marketing this as a way to draw potential employees, and hiring decisions aren’t often made on the basis that a candidate appears to be safe… but what if health and safety WAS part of company culture? Could this help to minimise risk?
To answer that question, let’s take a look at what company culture means.
Overall, it’s about expectations. When something is part of the company culture, employees know exactly what’s expected of them. For example, they know they’re expected to put the kettle on each morning, they know they’re expected to work hard, and they know it’s normal to socialise over a sandwich. So surely, in incorporating health and safety into company culture, it would work to ensure that everyone on site knew what was expected from them from a health and safety perspective, too.
In prioritising health and safety and making it a core value of the business consistently, rather than only at those times when accidents or injury has occurred, it becomes a constant; it becomes a natural, normal, everyday part of the workplace environment.
But how can businesses incorporate health and safety into workplace culture?
It can be tricky. There’s really no right or wrong… but it all begins with communication. Be clear on processes and procedures, be open about risks, and provide a platform for workers to ask questions as needed, or request additional training. Ultimately, it’s about transparency. Imagine it’s a new worker’s first day on the job. Some of the first pieces of advice that may be shared are perhaps that it’s customary to have a pub lunch on Fridays, or that whoever’s first on site gets the tea brewing. Now consider how an upfront openness about health and safety could generate a workforce that’s clear on what’s expected of them, every single day…. It’s something that’s worth thinking about.