Written by Deborah Le, Principal Consultant at VMAGROUP
Following my post last month, I’m pleased to share part 2 of my Building Communications blog.
As consultants from VMA’s Internal Communications Practice, Kristy Carmichael and I met several communications specialists from the construction, property and outsourcing sectors to discuss and share best practice for this area.
The breakfast was attended by:
- Chris Mostyn – Head of Marketing and Communications at Murphy
- Jade Eva – Head of Internal Communications, Business Units at Mitie
- Richard Howat – Head of Employee Communications at Balfour Beatty
- Tim Collins – Head of Corporate Communications at Barratt Developments
What are the best practices for health and safety communications, what has worked well in your experience?
Our attendees unanimously agreed that safety needs to be aligned to values and also embedded into the culture of an organisation, rather than ad-hoc practice. In order to achieve this, senior leadership and management teams need to be bought in, and messages reinforced constantly in daily briefs, or through ‘safety moments’.
Employees also need to be encouraged to be more observant around the workplace and report any breaches of safety standards. There need to be adequate platforms and channels to enable this to happen.
In addition, some organisations are finding that a data-led approach to health and safety campaigns and outreach works well. If they experience trends in reporting spikes then campaigns are focused around those times, for example in the summer holidays or at the start of a new year following the holiday break.
What are the most efficient and effective ways of communicating to a disparate workforce? Thoughts on channels, messaging and content.
Lack of funding and resource is the single biggest issue. Without this, it’s very challenging to create channels that are fit for a disparate workforce. Most businesses rely on face-to-face communication which can be extremely effective if implemented correctly, but problems arise when the role of cascading communications is left to those senior leaders who may not be the best advocates of the communications function itself. This of course also creates issues around the quality and consistency of the messages being disseminated and training for leaders in how to communicate effectively should be considered.
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