Employee Perceptions and Employer Policies for Workplace Safety are Not Aligned

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A new report says workplaces miss the mark in critical communication and planning, and could be unprepared to meet the future needs of employees.

The report by Rave Mobile Safety said that emergency plans need to get with the times. With strict regulations that have been enforced for some time, respondents made it clear that they were aware of their workplace's fire drill policy, as 87% said these plans are established and have been practiced at their work. However, in a world where mass shootings, cyber-attacks and other life-altering events drive the news headlines daily, only 57% of respondents indicated their workplace had preparedness drills in place for events such as hazardous materials incidents, weather alerts and active shooter incidents.

"Given the current landscape of the workforce, a company's ability to focus on an active shooter or workplace violence incident is absolutely paramount," said Juliette Kayyem, CEO of Zemcar and security industry veteran. "Moving forward, leading organizations need to ensure the safety of employees by bringing these policies into the workplace and putting them into practice, much like how fire drills are already a regular event for employees."

As the workforce continues to evolve with a growing number of Millennials and Generation Z employees joining, the way workplace safety is communicated will also need to shift. Currently, 53% of Millennial respondents were either unaware or said that their workplace did not have emergency plans in place. When compared to respondents age 45 and older, a big discrepancy is revealed as only 34% of respondents in this age group responded the same way about their employers' workplace safety plans. Additionally, nearly half of the 45 and older age group said that they were "very likely" to report an issue in which they or a co-worker's safety was in question; whereas only 8% of Millennials said they were "very likely" to report an issue like this.

One area where most of respondents could agree was around how employees preferred to be notified of an emergency. Both employees based in their organizations' main offices and remote workers indicated text message was a top preference for receiving alert notifications. However, only 37% of respondents said their workplace currently has a mass text message notification system in place.

"Currently the top way of notifying employees about an incident that happens while they are in the office is through an intercom system, but when they are remote, they would prefer to be alerted by text message," said Don Aviv, President, Interfor International. "As the number of Millennial and Generation Z employees rises, and where we work from becomes more fluid, organizations will need to move beyond a loud speaker announcement to alert employees – mobility will play a key role in this."

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