With the recent case of assault in Delhi many organizations in India and this part of the world are considering ways to educate their staff and continually engage them in conversations on personal safety.
However, while launching a safety campaign is probably simple enough, thinking intently about the messages and a sustainable plan can be challenging.
I am sharing perspectives that can guide internal communicators and organizations put their best foot forward while crafting interventions that matter.
Consider what your staff currently thinks: Very often, the ongoing safety measures may already be providing your staff the confidence in the organization’s efforts towards their well-being. It does make a difference if you know the perceptions and what they expect more. Ask informally or conduct a poll online to gauge the pulse.
Define which elements of safety you will tackle: Safety in general is a vast landscape to consider. In this case it is a matter of ‘personal safety’. That may mean – all elements that cover their commute to and back to their home as well as when they go about their lives in the place the organization is located. It can also mean their safety while they travel on work and otherwise outside the location. Personal safety isn’t about workplace safety unless the environment in which they work in feels awkward. That again, deserves a totally different form of intervention.
Be inclusive: Very often, the perception is that ‘women need special safety’. That is far from the truth. Men are as much at risk while they go about their lives and can be victims of crime and attacks from anti-social elements anyplace. So, the campaign must be inclusive and not only address the women community. Is there a newsletter that can be extended to this community?
Have consistent messages: Articulate your organization’s position on the topic. Share the point of view on safety measures. Have an audit of your safety mechanisms and highlight how these measures are current. Ensure your leaders are aligned on your messages before you communicate widely. Provide communication material for leaders to engage teams in conversations.
Extend the reach beyond only your staff: Your staff’s families and friends are as concerned about their safety as your organization is and therefore keeping them informed on measures you consider is very important to the success of the campaign.
Have a multi-pronged approach: It isn’t only about ‘awareness’ or ‘information’ or ‘tips’ that staff must be reading up. It isn’t also about the self-defense’ classes they need to take. Your campaign must involve and engage and build assets and value that goes beyond the campaign. What about inviting your staff to think of ways that ‘others can watch their backs’? How about crowdsoucing solutions which will benefit not just the company but the industry? Why not create best practices that will be leveraged globally? Can you have your staff share their personal stories and tips?
Have leaders demonstrate commitment: By having leaders ‘walk the talk’ you can build more confidence that all the posters and e-mailers that can be shared with your staff. How about getting your leaders to take the office transport and have them appreciate what it feels to get dropped last and with an escort in the vehicle? Can they come back and share their experiences on a blog internally? I am sure they will be more sensitive to the needs of your staff once they experience this personally.
Measure the impact and value: Every integrated approach can add immense value to how campaign pans out. Make time to measure the reach and impact with every piece of your communication. If your organization is committed to your staff’s safety the campaign needs to be long term and sustainable.
Have other ideas to make personal safety a priority within your firm? Share them here.