Turnover Factors High in the Safety Industry
The average American changes jobs 12 times over their career; the days of earning a gold watch after 40 years of service are long gone. As with many industries, job-hopping safety professionals were relatively unheard of in previous generations. Today’s economy is different and turnover is bound to happen. While this does raise some serious issues in a company’s safety program, the news isn’t necessarily all bad.
“Maybe a moving safety target isn’t all bad.”
Turnover Not Affected by Job Stability:
Switching jobs appears to be part of the safety industry culture these days. According to a Safety + Health Job Outlook survey, nearly half of respondents said they’d changed jobs within the past five years.
39 percent of respondents wanted to work for a new company within the next five years, and 80 percent kept an ear to the ground for new opportunities.
Company stability didn’t appear to play a role in turnover. Most of the people surveyed said they felt the industry was strong and growing, few worried about layoffs and most expected to see new jobs added in the near future.
The Employee-Go-Round Affects Safety Standards:
One of the major downsides to high turnover is inconsistency. It can delay progress and it can be difficult for the safety professional to take over an existing program they did not create – they become more of an overseer than an active participant shaping the company’s safety standards.
It takes time to build up a strong and comprehensive safety program that works and trust plays an important part. Where the person who previously held the job had likely earned — and held — the trust of the company and employees, the next safety pro to come on board needs time to build relationships and earn that same level of trust. In the meantime, the safety program can stall out or even lose ground.
“Better policy can grow from fresh ideas and new experiences.”
Fresh Eyes = Enhanced Safety:
Complacency can easily creep in when a safety professional has held the same job at the same company for years. Blind spots in company policy and safety standards can emerge that could be more obvious to a new hire. New safety professionals bring their perspectives and experiences that can keep a safety program current with modern day issues.
Employee turnover has positives and negatives, but Safety + Health says a company should aim to keep safety pros as long as possible.
Finding a balance between employee satisfaction and varied workplace experiences can benefit both the people setting the standards and the workers following them.
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