From developing the first electric sports car to attempting to colonize Mars, if there’s one thing you can say about Elon Musk it’s that he is a true innovator. But, despite his visionary-level status, not all is perfect in the house of Musk. According to a recent report by Worksafe, a California-based nonprofit that specializes in worker safety, Tesla’s Freemont, CA plant has a seriously high injury rate – more than 30 percent higher than the national average. So, how is Elon tackling the problem? Through employee engagement!

Elon’s Revolutionary Plan to Reduce Injuries

At C.A. Short Company, we talk a lot about numbers, and we’ll do so a little later in this article as well. But, the truth is, you can’t create a Culture of Engagement on data and statistics alone – it also requires passion…and compassion. Mr. Musk illustrated both of these recently in an internal email sent to his employees.

Alarmed by Worksafe’s findings, Elon decided it was time to do something about Tesla’s high number of injuries. After letting his employees know exactly how much he cares about their safety and well-being, Musk went on to say:

“Going forward, I've asked that every injury be reported directly to me, without exception. I'm meeting with the safety team every week and would like to meet every injured person as soon as they are well, so that I can understand from them exactly what we need to do to make it better. I will then go down to the production line and perform the same task that they perform.”

This is exactly the type of thinking necessary to make your workplace a safe environment.

The Power of Engagement: By the Numbers

The power of employee engagement in the manufacturing industry can’t be overstated. But, you don’t have to take our word for it. Gallup recently published their annual State of the American Workplace report, and their findings were conclusive – employee engagement reduces injuries, increases productivity, and saves lives.

When you engage and recognize your employees on an ongoing basis, safety incidents reduce by as much as 70%. Engagement also indirectly affects safety in a number of ways. For example, absenteeism is reduced by as much as 41%, and turnover decreases up to 59%. That means more experienced workers are on the line, using their knowledge to create a safer environment.

Safety isn’t the only avenue that improves when you create a Culture of Engagement. Highly engaged companies may also experience 40% fewer defects, 17% higher productivity, 20% higher sales, and 21% higher profitability. That makes a huge difference to your bottom line!

Creating a Safer Workplace

Elon Musk’s approach to reducing workplace injuries hinges upon one crucial element of creating a total safety culture – communication. Over C.A. Short Company’s 80-year history in the employee engagement and recognition industry, we have worked with companies within nearly every industry to help develop their communication channels.

Here are just a few tips that could help your organization do the same. For more advice on ways you can improve your communication, be sure to check out our article, “10 Ways to Improve Communication in the Workplace.”

  • Tip #1 Explain Your Current Status

Before you can really improve, you need to acknowledge where you’re at. Allowing employees to see the missteps and successes that have occurred in the past gives them a clearer understanding of expectations going forward. Just don’t do all the talking -- it should be an open discussion that allows all voices to be heard.

  • Tip #2 Customize Your Game Plan

There are a lot of safety programs out there and each one contains an excellent amount of helpful information. That doesn’t always mean it’s right for your workplace though. Instead of using an out-of-the-box solution, find one that best suits your needs and tailor it to your exact environment.

  • Tip #3 Reward in Public

It’s critical to openly recognize those who are taking the steps necessary to create a safer environment. These individuals should be openly praised and rewarded for their hard work. On the other hand, if an employee is falling short of their commitments, they should be spoken to in private.

These tips will serve as a great starting place, but creating a Culture of Engagement is more than just checking items off a list. It’s an on-going process that takes a lot of time, energy, and effort. The good news is; you don’t have to do it by yourself. C.A. Short company has been making this our business for nearly a century, and we’d love to help your company reach its full potential.

If you have a question about what you’ve read, want specific advice about engaging your employees, or just want to say hello, don’t be shy! We’re here for you.

10 elements of safety awareness

C.A. Short Company partners with companies to manage, drive and facilitate increased employee engagement to increase financial performance, productivity, quality, and core performance outcomes. Our process and research-based platform enables executives and managers to engage their teams to increase the bottom line, motivate staff, and incentivize positive behavior. To Request a Complimentary Consultation, click here.

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