The role of perceptions in shaping safety cultures in organizations cannot be overstated. However, it's often observed that even the most well-intentioned organizations overlook the influence of these perceptions, especially on new employees or the company culture as a whole.
Understanding the Power of Perceptions
Perceptions, whether accurate or not, shape the collective beliefs within an organization. These beliefs, when intertwined with unclear values, negative attitudes, and hypercompetitive priorities, create a complex environment for individuals who are solving problems in day-to-day operations. Recognizing and understanding these perceptions is, therefore, vital.
Starting Points for Perception Survey Projects
While there's no one-size-fits-all approach, the following guidelines offer a starting point for developing an internally led perception survey project:
Determine Your Goals: Clearly define what you hope to accomplish with the survey. Consider the goals from various stakeholders' perspectives and decide on the desired end result. This will guide how the survey should be administered and what insights it should seek to provide.
Define the Users and Audience: Decide whether the survey is intended for specific groups or the entire organization. Consider language and literacy barriers that might affect the survey's effectiveness.
Clarify Terminology: The language used in the survey should reflect the organization's terminology. Misalignment in terms can lead to confusion and affect the survey’s results.
Finalize the Survey Tool: Involve potential respondents in the development of the survey to enhance ownership of the results. This includes deciding on categories, statements, terminology, and even the survey’s look and feel. Consider a pilot session to gather initial feedback.
Administer the Survey: Choose the most effective method for your organization, whether it’s online, in print, or a combination. The survey's execution should be straightforward to ensure integrity and a representative sample size.
Utilize the Results: Perception surveys offer valuable insights but should not be the sole measure of culture or performance. They provide a snapshot of how people feel at a particular moment and can guide further inquiries into why certain decisions are made or behaviors exhibited.
The Value of Perception Surveys
Developing and administering perception surveys can be time-intensive but is not overly complex. These surveys play a crucial role in understanding the influence of an organization’s culture on performance. They are not definitive indicators but are instrumental in directing focus toward areas that require attention and improvement.
Perception surveys are a critical tool in gauging and shaping the safety culture within an organization. By understanding and acting on the insights these surveys provide, organizations can make significant strides in creating a safer, more responsive, and engaged work environment. Remember, it's not just about measuring perceptions; it's about using that information to foster a culture that prioritizes safety and continuously improves upon it.