Shouldn't Safety Be a Core Value?
When I started working at Interstates over four years ago, I found it odd that safety wasn't a core value. Safety fits in with all five values: dependability, integrity, trust, quality, and family. It's also discussed often, and you almost can't work a week at Interstates without hearing about safety. Why wouldn't it be a core value? As time went on, however, I soon understood that it is rooted in our values. Safety lives under our core value of family, and I believe our team members live it out every day.
Living Out Our Family Core Value
If you step into the Interstates office or job site, you'll see what family means to us: we take care of each other and don't leave people behind. What does that look like in our day-to-day? In the field, we start by filling out pre-jobs and calling out hazards we might encounter during the day. We work towards zero-injury on our job site and hold ourselves to a high safety standard. Speaking up, contributing to safety conversations, and building a culture of safety shows that our team members care. Our teams are looking out for each other.
In the office, friendly smiles and chatters of "How are you?" while grabbing a cup of coffee to make someone's day. Teams may jump onto video calls first thing in the morning to check in and answer each other's questions. Each of these ways is building family. These conversations are ways to help find out more about our coworkers and what makes them unique. Not only does it strengthen our family value, but it also helps us connect on a personal level. It's a way to invest time into each other.
At Interstates, we often say the phrase, "If you see something, say something." While it's a widespread phrase, our teams say it to encourage each other to speak up if they see a potential hazard that could injure themselves or a coworker. Nothing is worth a team member getting hurt. When our employees see a danger, it's amazing to see how teams stop working to fix it and ensure that no one gets hurt. I especially recognize this in the wintertime when people are shoveling walkways to prevent people from falling. It may not be in their job title or "their problem," but they go the extra mile to avoid slips on the icy sidewalks.
Striving For Better
I know there is no such thing as a perfect family. Sometimes, people annoy and argue with each other, but at the end of the day, this shows our passion and how much we genuinely care for one another. In my experience, I've felt safe to speak up and voice my opinion. I believe this has been thanks to our strong family value and true acceptance of one another. I'm proud to see safety and family live out across Interstates as these two values work closely together.
Now it's your chance to step back and see where safety and family can live in your company and teams. They don't have to be listed as a core value but can play an important role in your company culture. How often are you checking in on your coworkers or those you lead? Have you created a safe space for people to pause work for potential hazards or share their ideas? Do you make time for conversations that help you get to know each other? I would challenge you to reflect and take one step in this direction today.