"There is a concept called 'alarm fatigue' that is impacting the world - we have to find simplistic notifications that we can pay attention to, understand, and know how to respond to."
- Don Aviv, President, Interfor International
Todd Piett, CEO at Rave Mobile Safety, presented a webinar on data and trends sure to shape 2019 critical communications in the workplace. Todd was joined by Don Aviv, President of Interfor International, and Juliette Kayyem, CEO of Zemcar, to discuss key findings from a recent workplace safety and preparedness survey. Here’s a quick overview of those findings and how corporate leaders can implement a more effective communication strategy for their organizations moving into 2019.
To start, Todd lays out four key findings from a recent workplace safety and preparedness survey:
Survey Finding #1: Workplace Emergency Planning Efforts Focus Too Much on Fire Drills
Industry data tells us that fatal work injuries involving violence have increased by 23% from 2015-2016, but fatal injuries by fire decreased by 28% over the same period. So why did 57% of survey respondents report that non-fire emergency plans have rarely or never been tested?
Don argues that an overreliance on fire drills is dangerous as workplaces might not be prepared for more harmful - and unfortunately much more likely - workplace emergencies. In order to properly prepare for potentially fatal workplace emergencies, Don says you must start with an assessment of your facility. What are your potential risks? Are those risks internal or external? Be realistic in the probability of a potential risk becoming a reality - use industry data rather than news media to help you with this.
Don's tips for 2019? Focus on awareness and training. There is no one size fits all solution, but frequent communication with your employees can help significantly decrease the potential impact of these emergencies. Be proactive in this communication - show employees you are thinking about their safety and working to improve emergency protocols.
Watch clip 1 of 4 to understand your duty of care to lone and remote workers
Survey Finding #2: Millennials Show a Generational Gap in Emergency Preparedness
Survey results show that millennials are less likely to report an incident involving an unsafe situation at work compared to their older counterparts, but are more likely to do so if able to report anonymously. Juliette says this illustrates a broader theme among millennial culture on how they perceive the nature of work and their overall commitment to their workplace.
Juliette goes on to explain that while millennials' receptivity to communication is much higher than older generations, their reaction to communication methods is very different. She attributes this to a few issues: the nature of work is changing, with millennials no longer tied to working from one location or even working for the same location for a long time. She also mentioned the inability to meet attention spans as a possible issue. As such, standard emergency communication protocols are becoming antiquated, which explains why the survey results show that 38% of millennial survey respondents were unaware of emergency plans in their workplace, compared to 28% of respondents 35 years and older. In order to engage millennial employees with emergency communication, Juliette argues that you need to make the material personal and engaging.
Juliette's tips for 2019? Provide constant and consistent communication with a reliable narrator. Employees are looking for someone who they can trust to move quickly and lead confidently under duress. This person might not work in safety and security or be a part of the C-suite, but it's your job to locate them, educate them, and use them as a communication channel to engage the rest of your employees.
Watch clip 2 of 4 to learn why millennial culture should be shaping your approach to emergency preparedness
Survey Finding #3: Mobile Communication is an Unfulfilled Demand for Critical Communications
Survey results show that employees are seeking more mobile communication from their employers. Many employees prefer communication methods not currently fully used by their employers, such as text message or internal intercom/building alarm, and are instead receiving communications on channels they do not prefer, such as email. Employers are also facing a growing lone worker population as more than half of all workers are predicted to work remotely by 2020.
Don's tips for 2019? Don argues that one of the most critical aspects of a corporate security response is to be able to locate employees and determine if they are able to communicate. Seek out communication platforms that are multi-faceted and can send out emergency notifications across numerous channels. When you don't have a platform that allows your employee base to actively check-in with you during an emergency, you will inevitably push them to unreliable third-party social platforms.
Watch clip 3 of 4 to see how lone workers prefer to receive emergency communication
Survey Finding #4: Three Industries Show Room for Improving Future Workplace Critical Communications
What Juliette finds the most worrisome from this finding is our tendency to focus on the differences between workplace emergencies rather than their commonalities. There are variations between emergencies, but these variations all surround the same common themes: do you have communication? What is your exit plan? Juliette argues that once you understand how to identify these commonalities, creating emergency action plans and educating employees becomes much more simplistic.
Juliette and Don's tips for 2019? Come up with a few effective responses that address a number of different threats and train around them. It's important to avoid 'alarm fatigue' and to identify simplistic notifications that employees can pay attention to, understand, and know who to respond to during an emergency.
Want to learn more?
The full recording of the webinar is 50 minutes long and goes deeper into the workplace safety and preparedness survey results. It also includes additional tips for improving workplace security in 2019. Also included is a short Q&A session with Don and Juliette where they give advice for critical communication newcomers and those looking to buy big on a small budget.