Businesses need to go beyond regulatory compliance and invest in better working conditions for their employees. But even the ideal work environment can be undone by your own employees. You need to ensure that every team member is properly trained on the basics of diversity, safety, and best working practices. In fact, employee training is one of the best ways to reduce your liability.
Government regulations protect both businesses and consumers from a laundry list of issues. There are laws in place that protect the consumer’s rights, and you need to comply with state and federal laws to ensure that everything is to spec. Failure to meet accepted standards can jeopardize your business. It’s also important to collaborate with personal injury lawyers to reduce your exposure to possible litigation.
But training isn’t a panacea for all your problems. While employees have a responsibility to act professionally and in their employers’ best interests, it’s your job to maintain an environment that encourages excellence and compliance. Here are a few things you need to do to ensure a better and safer workplace.
1. Leaders need to be held accountable for their actions
The company’s leadership sets the standards that every employee is expected to follow. If you continue to demonstrate a lax attitude towards professionalism and safety, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Employees turn to their managers for good leadership, and anyone in a leadership position should embody professionalism and excellence.
The fastest way to destroy workplace dynamics is to let impunity and unprofessional behavior run free. Managers shouldn’t hesitate to nip bad behavior in the bud, even if it comes from star employees. You should also demonstrate accountability by penalizing managers that fail to maintain corporate standards.
2. Address the root causes
It’s not enough to write a handbook and expect employees to abide by it. If you want to improve compliance in the workplace, you need to explain the reasoning behind the rules. The reasons for a certain policy may not be crystal clear to some, so you need to bridge the information gap early on. An informed employee is more likely to be compliant.
For instance, some employees may not understand why they shouldn’t eat at their desks. After all, how is an office desk any different from a table in the pantry? But if you explain that spilled food and drink can potentially damage their computers and increase maintenance costs, they will be more accepting of your rules, even if they seem draconian at first.
3. Act quickly
Employee training fails if all you do is tell people what they can and cannot do. Instead, you can improve performance and compliance if you focus on what standards they’re expected to meet and how to meet them. Aim for a balance between general statements and direct orders to allow your employees some wiggle room.
That said, you should act decisively on the things that matter. You shouldn’t play around when it comes to safety. Telling your employees to “follow safety precautions” is too vague. Get to the heart of the matter and detail the steps they need to follow to ensure occupational safety.
4. Foster a culture of openness
Secrets and cover-ups are bad for business, and you need to encourage a culture of openness in the office to bring issues to light. You’ll never know what issues you need to deal with if your employees are unwilling to talk about them. Everyone should be allowed to speak without fear of reprisal.
Work with your human resources team to institute policies that help encourage free and clear communication. For instance, you could set up a secure communication line for employees who want to come forward with workplace issues.
The final word
These things will help you strengthen your business and reduce your exposure to litigation. One mistake can undo years of work, and you need to be constantly vigilant to ensure that everyone in your organization holds up to the highest standards.