Businesses throughout the UK are beginning to reopen, according to the Office for National Statistics, with only 12% of companies planning to remain closed. As offices return, preventing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting employee health will be a top priority for business leaders. Workers’ fears surrounding the return to work will also present a challenge, with 95% of UK workers concerned about contracting the virus according to a survey conducted by GMB Union.
While initiatives like enhanced sanitation and social distancing policies are a must, the biggest threat to workplace health and safety is often overlooked by managers. According to Hogan Assessments – the global leader in research-based personality consulting and assessment – the key to maintaining a safe workspace in a post-COVID environment lies in recruiting safety-conscious staff. The Hogan Safety Report, which scores candidates on several components of safety-conscious behaviour, has identified six personality traits that recruiters should look out for in new candidates.
The Compliant scale measures a candidate’s willingness to follow rules and guidelines. Those scoring highly here follow rules effortlessly and tend to adhere closely to instructions set out by management. In the post-COVID workspace, it is important to have team members who respect new health and safety policies without exception. Compliant individuals are reliable and thoughtful additions to the team, following instructions closely to protect their own health and the health of their team.
People make mistakes when they are under pressure. Protective measures like social distancing are new concepts in the workplace, so employees will need to stay alert and maintain safety standards, even under stress. When it comes to health and safety, small mishaps like forgetting to wipe surfaces can have a tremendous impact on others. High scorers on the Strong scale remain steady and composed under pressure and can navigate stressful situations without compromising on health and safety.
The Cheerful scale measures an individual’s ability to remain calm and level-headed in adverse situations. High scorers can manage their anger well and are less likely to lose their temper and make mistakes. New health and safety measures like hand washing and face masks may create obstacles in some professions, making daily activities more challenging at first. It is important to hire Cheerful individuals that are well equipped to deal with small ‘nuisances’ calmly without becoming frustrated and careless.
The Vigilant scale is a robust predictor of safety-conscious behaviour in candidates. Vigilant individuals are focused workers and are not easily distracted by their surroundings. Individuals that are concise and attentive to details are less likely to make mistakes that place their team at risk, which makes them valuable in the post-COVID workspace.
The cautious scale measures an individual’s risk-taking tendencies. Cautious scorers make sure to pause and evaluate their options before making risky decisions. Now more than ever, people are being encouraged to think twice about everyday activities and interactions, like hand shaking, to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19. Leaders will benefit greatly from hiring cautious and considerate candidates who think twice about how their actions impact their entire team.
Finally, it is important to note that when faced with great change, humans make mistakes. As businesses re-open, the post-COVID workplace will present many new challenges for workers and training will be necessary. Trainable candidates are receptive to feedback and easily coached on new initiatives. Having team members on board who enjoy learning and are willing to correct their mistakes and take advice will be an asset to leaders moving forward. Trainable candidates will make the most out of this new approach to work and will be a positive and uplifting addition to the team.
‘Unsafe employee behaviours can have many negative impacts on businesses, costing them billions and placing the health and safety of fellow employees at risk,’adds Scott Gregory, Chief Executive Officer at Hogan Assessments.
‘This is particularly salient in a post-COVID business climate, where occupational health and safety is a major concern for employees and business leaders alike. When the health of your business and the general public is at stake, it is time to ensure you are hiring and coaching employees who will be attentive to their own, their co-workers’, and their customers’ safety. The key to this lies in personality.’
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