Tammy Edwards believes in the power of positive communication.
In her role as Northern Virginia District’s acting district manager, one of Edwards’ primary duties is delivering important information to employees. Perhaps no topic is more crucial than workplace safety.
“You can’t just talk about safety. You have to walk the walk,” Edwards says. “You have to build relationships with your employees and show them that you care and value them.”
The Postal Service encourages all managers and supervisors to follow this approach. Last fall, Edwards was one of six honorees in the organization’s first Safety Vision and Leadership Awards.
To help other managers and supervisors communicate positive safety messages, Edwards offers this advice:
• Talk to your employees — and listen to what they have to say. Encourage them to come to you with safety ideas, suggestions and feedback. Ask them how your team can do a better job promoting safety. Show them that their safety is your priority.
• Reinforce positive behavior. When conducting observations, don’t just look for things that are wrong. Catch people doing the right things, too.
• Encourage employees to look out for each other. Teach employees that they are their brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. For example, encourage them to remind each other to wear their seat belts.
It all comes down to keeping the big picture in mind, Edwards says.
“Make safety relevant to employees by reminding them of the consequences of unsafe behavior,” she says. “Tell them: ‘We want you to go home to your families — safe and sound — at the end of every day.”