If employees behave irresponsibly outside of work, it can have a disastrous effect on your organization and everyone in it. Consider a pledge to help ensure that workers take safety seriously 24/7.
Your employees are representatives of your organization, even when they are off the clock. During this pandemic, you don’t want to see a worker on the evening news or an internet video socializing in a crowded bar or refusing to wear a mask to shop in a store. Your workers have a responsibility to protect themselves, their coworkers, your residents, and everyone they encounter in the course of a day. While you can’t monitor what they do and say 24/7, you can make sure they understand what behavior is expected of them and the consequences of noncompliance.
One way to encourage your workers to take safety seriously is to ask them to them sign a pledge stating that they understand the dangers of COVID-19 and what they need to do to protect themselves and others. Among the points such a pledge may address:
- Acknowledgement of personal responsibility for their actions.
- Agreement to take all steps necessary to protect themselves and others from exposure to COVID (including the appropriate wearing of masks, use of gloves or gowns, handwashing, and social distancing).
- Agreement that they will take the steps above 24/7 – on the job and in their personal lives.
- Acknowledgement that they will follow all guidance provided by the organization regarding safety.
- Understanding of their responsibility if they develop symptoms of the virus or are exposed to COVID in some capacity, including staying home and self-isolating.
- Agreement to be a responsible citizen and avoid crowded places or events or other situations that put them at risk of being infected or infecting others.
- Agreement to proactively coach/encourage family, friends, coworkers and others to uphold infection control measures 24/7.
This pledge can then be signed by the employee and the person’s supervisor/manager. The document also should detail the consequences of violating the pledge. At the same time, it is important to provide all employees with training and information about COVID-19, including how it spreads and what safety precautions are essential, advisable, and optional. Consider providing employees with masks and hand sanitizer they can use at home, especially those individuals who must take public transit to work.
Promote a culture of personal responsibility and encourage workers to talk to their supervisor if they suspect they’ve been exposed to the virus or if they or a family member is experiencing symptoms. Let your teams know that you appreciate their efforts; consider rewarding them with gift cards; books or CDs; or snacks or gourmet treats.
Of course, before you finalize such a pledge, consult your legal counsel regarding both the organization’s and the employees’ rights.