Think of a cake. It’s on a plate in front of you. It’s filled with your favourite things. It’s inviting.
Beside it there’s a cereal bar. It’s dry. It’s hard. It’s not even a little bit appetising.
A voice of authority is saying you have to choose the bar, because it’s better for you. However — and this is important — they don’t take the cake away. So which way are you going to go?
Most of us are going with the cake, right? Of course we are. Because people don’t make decisions based on cold, hard, rational facts. Simply telling someone to make the healthier choice isn’t going to make them do it. And that’s the challenge most HSE people face.
You can present all the logic you like — it won’t make people change how they behave. The trick is to dump the logic, and tap into the emotional side of the brain. To make the cereal bar actually appear more appetising than the cake.
That’s where we come in. Because we not only understand the importance of health and safety. We also understand how to reach that emotional centre where decisions are made. How to create the connections that engage people and generate voluntary, sustained behavioural change.
It’s all about great communication. And that starts with understanding. Who you are and how your people act, as well as what you want to change. That’s how you create an HSE communications strategy that helps achieve your goals. A strategy based on human behaviour, not hard fact. On emotion and understanding, not policy and procedure.
Getting it right means getting real. Speaking to people at every level. The steel-toed boots on the ground and the tailored suits in the boardroom. The legal eagles in compliance and the numbers wizards in finance. The comms and marketing gurus, the IT experts, the folks dishing up lunch in the canteen. Accidents don’t care who you are or where you work. Neither should your approach to preventing them.
Everyone in your business, at every level, shares the same goal, consciously or otherwise: getting home safe at the end of the day. And that gives you a rallying cry, common ground to build your comms on. That’s how you make people feel valued, motivated and appreciated. And that’s the way you create behavioural change.
The process has other benefits, too. You’ll look at leadership practices. How your people learn. Your company values. Your overall business strategy. It’s an opportunity for something of a wash and brush-up where it’s needed. A refresher course in who you are, what you do and how you do it that actively moves your business forward. Safer people are happier people. Happier people are more productive, more loyal, more engaged. More likely to help you get where you want to go.
We Are Brass Tacks are specialist communicators. We deal with challenging subjects like HSE, HR policy, working across businesses to successfully deliver positive change. You can see how we work and who we work with on our website. And if you’d like to know more, we’re always up for a no-commitment, no-charge chat over coffee. And possibly cake.
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