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New Research Highlights Importance of Employee Safety

Q&A With Alex Vacarro, AlertMedia:

Feeling safe is of the utmost importance to working Americans, especially in the wake of the pandemic. But according to a recent survey, safety is also playing a key role in employers’ ability to attract and retain talent.

In its inaugural State of Employee Safety Report, AlertMedia surveyed 2,000+ U.S. workers to understand how they feel about safety at their workplace and how these perceptions are influencing their job satisfaction.

AlertMedia Chief Marketing Officer Alex Vaccaro shared additional insights on some of the report’s key findings.

What was the driving force in conduction research on employee safety specifically?
As an emergency communication provider, our primary business is helping organizations communicate faster and more effectively during critical events. While some research exists about organizations’ emergency preparedness and response efforts, very little is known about how employees feel during these situations or how these incidents impact their relationship with their jobs.

One of our primary objectives from this research was to shed light on what employees expect from their employers in order to give organizations actionable information concerning where to focus their efforts.

What were some of the most significant findings from the research?
For one, safety is top of mind for American workers across all facets of life—but especially at work. 97% of employees said that safety is an important factor when considering where they work, which is very relevant in today’s labor market as thousands of organizations struggle to attract and retain talent. When asked to compare how safety weighs into their decision-making about where to work, live, socialize, etc., employees said it was most critical for their job—even more than when deciding where to vacation, buy a home, or send their children to school.

Not surprisingly, after two years of health-related accommodations due to the pandemic, safety is now at the forefront of employees’ priorities. In fact, 89% of employees said that a safe workplace is “more important than ever.” Yet, many don’t feel their safety is equally important to their employers. Disappointingly, only 54% said they felt their safety was “extremely important” to their company, which is far from ideal.

Another key theme from the research is how critical communication is to employees’ perception of safety in the workplace. Unfortunately, our data showed that most employed Americans think their employer’s efforts on safety have fallen short. What’s more, only half (55%) of working Americans feel that their employer has made more of an effort to ensure their safety than in previous years, and 64% said that their employer’s style of communication “needs work.”

What can organizations take away from the report?
One important insight for organizations is that employees aren’t just worried about COVID. While our research found that a large percentage of employees (79%) are concerned about another public health emergency, nearly as many are worried about cyber attacks (65%), severe weather (65%), and other forms of crime (62%). Roughly half are also concerned about natural disasters (54%), workplace violence (53%), structure fires (48%), and protests & demonstrations (46%).

When asked how they felt about their employer’s efforts to keep them safe during the pandemic, 87% of employees said they were satisfied. But, communication around COVID safety alone isn’t sufficient in a world where most organizations are experiencing more frequent and more severe threats. Every organization needs a reliable way to quickly identify and respond to critical events that threaten their people or operations. Businesses struggling to send timely communication to employees about emergencies should explore technologies, like AlertMedia, that can help save time, improve message deliverability, and ensure everyone has access to information.

Another insight that we hope businesses take away from the report is that regular safety training & communication is massively impactful. Safety training, in particular, has a clear benefit for employees, as those who are offered safety training were 25% more likely to say they would know what to do in an emergency situation at work. Unfortunately, only roughly half (56%) of working Americans say they are provided safety training more than once per year.

Are there any additional highlights from the report?
Nearly every company aspires to build a culture of safety across their organization, but this research highlights that you can’t be complacent. Employers should weave safety into every aspect of their business operations and ensure that all their employees know exactly how they are keeping everyone safe. These efforts, applied consistently, will help you reduce risk, foster goodwill with your teams, and strengthen the company’s overall culture. As a result, you might also find your safety reputation helps you lure safety-conscious candidates who want and expect to work where their well-being is a top priority

Learn more and download the 2022 State of Employee Safety Report here.

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