The following is an excerpt from the much anticipated release of Leading People Safely: How to Win on the Business Battlefield

As Jetco Delivery has anchored its safety culture, we have learned that getting through to our employees is simply the beginning of the mission. If you focus on your employees and ignore their families, full cultural alignment is nearly impossible. The whole family must be engaged in the company’s safety mission.

Here’s why: in today’s world, our family and friends are never more than a text, tweet, or Facebook message away. You want your employee’s head to be fully in the game as he or she performs his or her mission’s critical duties for your organization. This may be challenging if a demanding family member or friend is continually in contact.

What are your choices? Restrict Internet access? With smartphones, the employee probably does not need your Internet anyway. Check in all mobile devices at the beginning of the work day? Not happening.

The only way to ensure that your employees are able to put their full time and focus into safe execution is to ensure that their families are fully in line with your culture. How do you bring the families into the culture? Skip the hated annual company picnic. At their best, picnics might involve a hot dog, a carnival ride, and a fast exit. At their worst, everyone must attend but nobody wants to attend.

Instead, try these ideas:

  • Make regular contact instead of the annual show. As an example, Jetco sends a monthly mailing to employees’ homes. The mailing focuses on topics that are of general interest but that also have a clear tie into the company’s values and mission. At Jetco, we might discuss using a handheld phone while driving a truck is both dangerous and a violation of federal law. In the home mailing, we focus on the dangers of our employees and their children texting and driving.
  • Stage company events at your location. How many times do our families really get to see how their loved ones spend the majority of their waking hours? Allow for “show-and-tell.” This will tie everyone into a positive experience at your facility and help the family members understand the organization’s direction. If you propose this idea and encounter significant resistance, it might be a strong suggestion that you need to look into the level of employee pride and alignment.
  • Be liberal when sharing information about the strengths and challenges of your company. Make people understand that they are on a winning team. Be sure the whole family is engaged in the company’s mission and understands the challenges faced by the company.
  • Be sure you are providing an outstanding company work environment. Can a supportive family member help the employee compare what you offer to the “devil that you do not know”? Be sure the whole family knows what you offer in terms of intangibles, such as a happy, desirable place to work.
From an emotional, financial, and business perspective, anchoring your safety culture must involve frequent, repetitive, and focused contact not only with the people you see every day, but also with employees’ family members. Executed correctly, you will have a whole army working to build and support your company’s safety culture. For example, take a look at a letter below that was sent to the Jetco families. It asked the children related to Jetco family members to draw what “Driving to Perfection”―Jetco’s internal culture that puts safety above all else―means to them. This exercise was an easy way to see that the culture had made it all the way to the families, based on the artwork received. Eventually, this became Jetco’s calendar, which was distributed to not only Jetco customers, but to employees too.

This has been an excerpt from the much anticipated release of Leading People Safely: How to Win on the Business Battlefield

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