The buy-in and support of all levels of management is vital to maintaining safety in the workplace and the success of our retail safety programs. First and foremost, company leadership must clearly demonstrate that the organization cares and is committed to the safety and well-being of our associates and customers.
Everyone in the retail organization, from the CEO to the floor associates, has a responsibility for safety. If our leadership demonstrates their belief in and commitment to a formal company safety policy, that commitment will cascade throughout the organization.
By communicating the mission, values and beliefs of our safety initiatives in a way that is grounded, credible and easy to understand, our management teams will serve as the voice of safety, helping us to maintain these priorities and weave safety values into the fabric of the company.
Commitment to the Company Safety Policy
The commitment of senior management is a driving force for organizing and controlling all activities within an organization. A safety program will only be effective when management views a safe and healthy work environment as fundamental and demonstrates the commitment to protect our employees and customers as vigorously as its commitment to other organizational goals and strategies.
Although the program must also be able to stand on its own merit, credibility for the safety program begins with leadership. Management must support participation at all levels of the organization in the development, implementation, delivery, execution and accountability of safety initiatives. The company safety policy must be able to deliver consistent, sustained and scalable results.
While programs will differ from company to company, it is recommended that the following actions be taken to show management commitment and support for the safety program:
- The company safety policy must be clearly stated so that all personnel can understand the importance of safety in relation to other organizational values.
- Goals and objectives must be established, defined and communicated so that employees throughout the organization understand the commitment of the company, the desired results, and the measures required to achieve those results.
- Management should involve employees at all levels of the organization in decisions that impact safety. If involved, employees are more likely to commit their insights and energy to achieving safety goals and objectives.
- Responsibility for the safety program should also be assigned to employees at all levels. Employees should see that performance and compliance is expected from everyone.
- The support of senior management should be visible, providing employees with the sense that the top-level management of the organization is truly committed to the safety of customers and employees.
- There must be an understanding that not only is compliance expected, but that there will be consequences if performance is not achieved. Employees will be held accountable for non-performance.
- The safety program should be periodically reviewed to evaluate the effectiveness of the program, and revised as necessary if goals and objectives are not met.
Associates will look to company management for leadership and direction. Management can add substantial credibility to the safety program by being committed and vocal in their support of safety, keeping an open mind to new approaches and benchmarking with best-in-class organizations.
Appropriate funding for safety training, process improvement, capital expenditures, safety standards, and accountability for safety infractions are also an important means of gaining and maintaining integrity and support.
By capitalizing on opportunities to enhance our knowledge and education, we are making an investment in our own future. To learn more about safety in the workplace and other topics designed to help build your career in loss prevention, discover the professional growth opportunities available through the Loss Prevention Foundation.
This post was originally published in 2016 and was updated March 4, 2019.