Performance appraisal and planning - re-vamp - to include safety or not?

We are currently working on re-vamping our entire performance appraisal and management process throughout our global business, particularly to get the process more forward-looking. Another key focus for 2019 in our business is driving safety cultural change.
How do you tackle safety as an element of your appraisal process/management system? Do you include questions relating to safety at all - or do you leave it out? What sort of questions do you incorporate and what do they look like - bearing in mind that the process will be applicable all the way through our ranks (i.e. from the trades assistant up to the CFO and other executives)?

Hi Josie, Are you thinking about physical or psychological safety? Any insights on the actual need to think about safety in perf reviews would help offer recommendations.


Hi Josie,

Following up on SK’s question, I’m curious how you’re defining safety and what that looks like at different levels within the organization. If you’re referring to physical safety, that likely looks different within your entry-level roles than it does for your higher-level leadership roles.

Of course, if safety truly is a key focus for your company, it needs to be measured and tracked. I highly recommend that safety items be a core part of your performance review process in addition to any company-wide engagement/check-in surveys you’ll be running. This approach will give you both a micro- and macro-level view of where you’re succeeding with your safety initiatives and where you need to put more focus and action.

The specific wording of your safety items will likely take on slightly different forms if you’re measuring safety at the individual (front-line, supervisor, executive) vs team vs organizational levels. If it hasn’t been done already, it’s critical to clearly define what safety looks like in terms of behaviors & culture so those can be communicated and reinforced throughout the company and measured over time.

If you’d like a few ideas around organization-level safety perceptions & safety culture, check out our Academy guide here: Keep in mind, these specific items aren’t designed for performance reviews but may give you a few ideas on how to approach developing performance-related content.

Our general recommendation for “working backwards” to writing good survey items for various purposes is:

  1. What is the concept you’re wanting to measure & track?
  2. What does success look like (vs how would you know if you’re failing) around that concept?
  3. What specific behaviors/skills/practices are associated with success?
  4. Write variety of draft statements or questions to measure what you came up with in #3
  5. Review and revise them with colleagues to ensure they’re clear, concise, and capture the intended concept - and ideally are actionable or help diagnose core issues

I’m looking forward to hearing more about what safety means in your organization and how you’re planning on measuring and tracking success!