Safety is the new workplace ‘perk’ for job seekers


  • Job seekers are trying for extra than simply flexibility and a supportive tradition in a post-pandemic world — they need a strong plan of how corporations will prioritize their security.
  • More than half of employers are revisiting their emergency preparedness plans and utilizing this time to extensively talk the proactive steps they’re taking to place staff first. 
  • But elevating the bar on security would not solely profit staff — corporations additionally ship a transparent message about their values to clients and may entice future candidates.
  • Experts steered candidates analysis corporations and their COVID-19 insurance policies. You may even evaluate an employer’s OSHA file for extra thorough file retaining.
  • A candid dialog between you and your employer about security considerations is crucial “because both are going to benefit in the long run.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for extra tales.

“How did you keep employees safe during the coronavirus pandemic?” 

That query will doubtless come up in job interviews in the close to future. And specialists mentioned that how corporations reply it may have an effect on their capacity to draw new expertise and retain their standout staff.

Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban lately addressed worker security on CNBC. “Not only is it a safety issue; it’s a business issue,” he mentioned. “How companies respond to that very question is going to define their brand for decades. If you rushed in and somebody got sick, you were that company. If you didn’t take care of your employees or stakeholders and put them first, you were that company.”

Pre-pandemic job seekers sought sure perks earlier than accepting a job supply, like flexibility, the capacity to make money working from home, and a supportive tradition. Post-pandemic job hunters nonetheless worth these issues, however now security tops the listing — and candidates are listening to how precisely organizations have dealt with security throughout COVID-19 when selecting the place to work.

Safety is a proper — and much more prime of thoughts for staff

To be clear, security is a proper for staff, not a perk. Workplace security in the US is ruled by the US Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), below the “general duty clause.”

“That requires every employer to provide a place of employment which is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees,” mentioned Aaron Holt, a labor and employment legal professional with Cozen O’Connor in Houston, Texas.

While OSHA would not have separate requirements overlaying the coronavirus, the group has issued steering for getting ready workplaces for COVID-19, together with info on private protecting gear (PPE) and social distancing and what to do if an publicity occurs. States have additionally launched their very own pointers and necessities for companies to reopen and convey staff again to work safely.

Still, staff are involved. A Gallup ballot performed in May discovered that 46% of staff have been involved about getting uncovered to COVID-19 at work. In a latest survey by Glassdoor, 79% of staff returning to work anticipated employers to offer disinfectant and hand sanitizer, 54% anticipated masks/glove mandates, and 45% anticipated a six-foot distance between workspaces.

These considerations could also be for good purpose. According to a report by the Society for Human Resource Management, 34% of employers did not have an emergency preparedness plan earlier than COVID-19. Among employers that had emergency insurance policies, greater than half did not have one overlaying communicable ailments. Now, 53% of employers mentioned they’re revising their emergency preparedness plans.

“We’ve seen a lot of employers proactively taking steps in [COVID-19] to make their workplaces safer in a pandemic,” Holt mentioned, comparable to growing air flow and air circulation, closing communal areas and assembly rooms, partitioning workspaces, intensifying cleansing, and imposing social distancing.

“I think that is going to eventually be a perk for employment once everyone starts to figure out how to make this COVID workplace productive and profitable,” he added. “Then it’s about attracting the best talent. Maybe that includes offering a flex schedule, some type of teleworking environment, or a workplace that employees will generally feel safer at.”

A security file lures in proficient candidates and is good for enterprise

As corporations shift their insurance policies to deal with the coronavirus, staff and job seekers are additionally elevating their expectations of security, mentioned Meredith Turney, a aware management coach, and incomes a repute for being security aware is good for enterprise.

“I think it’s definitely going to affect how they attract talent now and in the future,” she mentioned, including that massive corporations like Google are setting the instance by permitting staff to decide on the place they work and offering $1,000 stipends to work remotely.

“They’re getting a lot of positive media coverage for that, which is going to attract more people who think, ‘OK, this is a flexible employer who gets it, who is using common sense, who is listening and giving employees what they need,'” Turney mentioned.

On the flip facet, L’Oreal acquired some backlash when it mentioned it could require employers to return to engaged on website even when they have been uncomfortable doing so. “They’re going to be perceived perhaps as putting profits over their people,” Turney mentioned. “And that is going to have a negative consequence not only for their brand reputation, but also for the kind of talent that wants to work there.”

How organizations deal with security impacts everybody concerned with the group, not simply staff. About half of customers consider companies are “doing poorly, mediocre, or completely failing at putting people before profits during the pandemic,” based on the “2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Spring Update: Trust and the Covid-19 Pandemic.” Just 43% assume corporations are sufficiently defending their staff from the coronavirus, and 46% do not assume organizations are supporting smaller suppliers and different companies.

Employees are ambassadors for organizations. If they exude happiness, well being, and safety at an organization, it sends an vital message to outsiders, Turney mentioned. “Clients and customers can see that,” she mentioned. “I think more and more often consumers want conscious companies that consider all stakeholders.”

Safety can be a new consideration for job seekers

“Transparency around health and safety should be at the forefront of any employer brand, especially with so much uncertainty surrounding COVID-19,” mentioned Sarah Stoddard, a Glassdoor profession knowledgeable.

“Across industries, employers are facing difficult decisions every day that can have varying impacts on their workforce and the talent they attract,” she mentioned. “Whether it’s mandatory work from home, temperature checks upon arriving at the office, or wearing PPE at the office for extended periods of time, today’s job seeker has a whole new set of factors to consider when deciding which company is right for them.”

Nearly 80% of candidates, particularly in the 18 to 34 age group, thought-about an organization’s mission, function, and tradition the prime purpose for making use of for a job, based on a 2019 Glassdoor survey.

Stoddard mentioned she’s seen a number of job postings define new practices or insurance policies aimed toward defending worker well being. “With the impact of COVID-19, communicating these safety practices is important and will likely become common practice during the pandemic, as job seekers want to know their wellbeing is top of mind for their potential future employer,” she mentioned.

Working from dwelling was thought-about a perk of the job a couple of months in the past. Now, Turney mentioned extra job advertisements appear to incorporate the phrase “remote.” Given the capacity to work remotely, she mentioned candidates would possibly begin trying for new perks, like company-provided digital fitness center memberships or meal package subscriptions, which may make their lives higher whereas working from dwelling.

How to verify an organization’s security file

Stoddard suggested researching each the job and the firm earlier than making use of. Read firm evaluations on websites like Glassdoor, which she mentioned now permits job seekers to type evaluations by “COVID-19” to see how the group is dealing with the pandemic. And some corporations have added COVID-19 updates on their job profiles, social media, or web sites to tell candidates of their well being and security measures.

As a part of background analysis, evaluate an organization’s OSHA file to find out about any security inspections or violations. “You can see whether or not their OSHA logs have something that might give you pause,” Holt mentioned.

Ultimately, job seekers must resolve what their very own security “deal breakers” are earlier than deciding the place to work. “What is your personal comfort level in our current reality?” Turney mentioned to ask your self, comparable to whether or not or not you are snug going right into a bodily workplace.

“Then, if you apply to the position, just ask them. ‘This is my level of comfort, what are y’all doing?'” she mentioned. “‘Give me some examples. Show me some case studies of what you’re doing to provide this for your employees.'”

Safety should be a two-way dialog about an worker or job applicant’s considerations and what the employer is doing to extend security and instill a way of safety, Turney mentioned, “because both are going to benefit in the long run.”

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