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Workplace Safety in Developing Countries

Posted by EHS Insight Resources on October 15, 2021 at 9:58 AM

In today’s world, companies are rarely contained within the borders of a single country. These days, the global outsourcing market is valued at around $92.5 billion, with a high concentration of outsourcing in certain areas (for example, 54% of all companies use third-party providers to outsource their customer service).

The problem is that supplier management remains underpowered, and for companies that rely on outsourced factories to produce their products, that can quickly devolve into a safety issue.

Here’s a look at how to use workplace safety as a motivator in developing countries so that your outsourced team is just as safe as your local team.

How to Use Workplace Safety as an Employee Motivator in Developing Countries

Safety can and should be an important motivator in your workplace. Even if that workplace is located in a different time zone.

By using safety as a motivator, you’re shifting the focus away from pure productivity numbers. You’re embedding safety into the production numbers and setting an expectation that safety is central to your work, which is important to maintain the same level of quality.

However, you have to understand key differences between your own office and your outsourced colleagues. Here’s what managers should keep in mind.

Understand Cultural Gaps

First, you have to understand the cultural gaps between workplaces in developing countries and your own. These often inform crucial communication gaps that make it harder to drive safety.

For example, we spend a lot of time on this safety blog telling you to keep an open door so that employees can bring up a problem. But if you had a workplace in China, it would be a completely different ballgame. In Chinese workplace culture, harmony is critical, and employees will not publicly question their managers or speak out against them, even if they see that something is wrong.

In that case, you have to figure out how the workplace culture operates. Take a hard look at how they communicate. It’s a good idea to sit down with your colleagues to hash out these differences–otherwise, you’ll end up making assumptions.

Make It Part of Your Shared Culture

Once you’re able to communicate in a way that both sides can understand, you can establish a shared culture between your workplaces. This is important because safety should be a part of your company culture, no matter where in the world you work.

Keep in mind that this will carry a different cultural emphasis depending on where you are. There may also be layers of stratification to work with. In India, for example, the workplace culture is quite friendly, but only among equals. A manager would not have lunch with employees under them, nor would an employee have lunch with someone junior. Because of this, you have to drive culture within stratification levels, or the message will be lost in translation.

Working to understand the local office culture will make it easier to present safety as a motivator depending on the recipient.

Bridging the Gap on Safety

Figuring out how to use workplace safety as an employee motivator in developing countries? The first step is to know where you stand.

That’s where we come in, with safety management software that makes it easy to understand safety performance so that you can make the right decision at the right time. So if you’re ready to invest in an easier way to handle safety, get in touch today to learn more about how our software can help.

Topics: Workplace Health and Safety, Safety Management, Human Resources

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