No matter your industry, COVID-19 has affected your business. New regulations, guttering sales, and an uncertain forecast are only the beginning. If you rely on direct contact with your customers — if you’re in restaurants, hospitality, grocery, or retail — you’re also facing a crisis of confidence. Right now is the best time to start building towards a post-COVID-19 future, starting with restoring employee confidence. When employees feel secure and empowered in their work environment, your customers will also feel safe to return.
Prioritize a Safe Work Culture
Every workplace has a specific and identifiable culture that, like any other culture, includes attitudes, values, and practices. This goes beyond stated rules and in fact could better be described as everything that determines what’s happening when no one is watching.
An employee-first work culture centers the experience of a business’ employees and values their feedback. Their safety — both physical and emotional — is of concern to the business and steps are taken to protect it. Employee-first workplaces prioritize employee (and customer) safety over cost and, indeed, understand that a successful business cannot afford not to develop a safe work culture. Businesses that turn their back on this approach tend to weather high employee turnover, costly product recalls, regulatory sanctions, and a lack of customer confidence.
Elements of a Safe Work Culture
Developing a safe work culture isn’t complicated and it should be a deliberate aspect of quality management. You’ll need buy-in from managers so it’s important to be able to articulate to them what you’re trying to achieve. Here are some elements of businesses with safe employee-first work cultures:
- Adequate time and money are allocated to safety training
- Tools and machinery are regularly maintained and replaced as needed
- There is a written safety plan, accessible to all employees and management, that outlines the latest information about how the workplace will be kept safe
- There is a documented process for employees to express concerns
These items will help management understand your goals and measure their efforts. The process of involving your employees in your safety processes will help them not only understand the importance of maintaining a safe workplace but also feel safe, reassured, and empowered themselves. An informed and secure staff will inspire the confidence of your customers when the time comes to reopen.
Use the Right Tools for the Job
Quality management has long been far too complicated to carry out in spreadsheets but now the stakes are even higher. As a quality management professional, your job just got a whole lot harder. Whatever the current effects of COVID-19 on your business, you can be sure that going forward there will be stricter regulations, greater scrutiny, and even higher expectations from your internal management, your employees, and your customers.
You can get ahead of this challenge, starting with RizePoint’s free safety and sanitation audit checklists. Designed specifically to help you manage the quality concerns of pandemics like COVID-19, this automated tool empowers you to gather better data and get more meaningful insights so you can act faster.
Now more than ever, safety is everyone’s concern. Planning the future of your workplace using an employee-first approach will help you inspire confidence in those who matter most.