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It’s relatively easy to develop effective motivational safety video messages that will develop your workforce to a new level of compliance – to a point.

After all, you’ve taken the trouble to get inside their heads, and see things from their point of view

– so your safety training messages are developed with their self-interest in mind

– and you’re confident you have messages they’ll relate to, feel motivated by, making them want to change their behaviour and attitude.

But this assumes your workforce are all the same, while in reality they’re not.

There are many different types of people working for you, and many different attitudes towards your company or organisation

– sometimes dependent on which department or division they work in

– or maybe by age group or skill set or income.

And then it can be confusing over the best way to motivate your whole workforce and not just certain sectors at the expense of others.

Here’s a handy reckoner I use to help define which motivational messages get into the final video cut

– and which to leave out.

It’s called the Rule of Threes.

The Rule of Threes

Divide your video audience up into 3 parts, including both your own workforce and your contractors – as in the diagram.


The first section I call The Ayes.

The Ayes are individuals who are prepared to adopt new safe work practices. They’re not that difficult to motivate as they tend to adopt a positive line towards the company, and are broadly supportive towards what you’re trying to achieve. They’re proactive on safety issues.

The 2nd section are The Floating Voters.

Floating Voters are individuals with no strong fixed views. They tend to follow the crowd that matches their own self interest. They can like or dislike what you say. While keeping to basic safety compliance, they can change their safety attitudes depending on the time of day.

The 3rd section are The Naysayers.

This speaks for itself. These are the individuals who openly or quietly disagree with what you’re trying to achieve. Possibly they’re cynical about a lot of the things your company wants to achieve – and not just safety issues, attitudes and behaviours.

Using the Rule of Threes for effective motivation

I’ve sat with health and safety managers trying to develop the right motivational tone for the new video to adopt.

For example, should the message be more gritty – as in “do this or else”

– or more idealistic and inspiring – as in “no one wants to get hurt”

Carrot or stick?

“Do this or else” inspires the 2 Week Wonder where everyone is on their best behaviour, until “things settle down again”.

“No one wants to get hurt” sounds like a platitude to the hard cases. They’ll quietly counter with all the things they think you’ve done wrong, or mistakes “you allowed to happen”.

The solution lies in focusing on the middle ground – the Floating Voter. Your training video message should be aimed at them, and their self interest

– which is often closely related to their sense of self importance.

Aiming to motivate The Naysayers is mostly a waste of time, as deep down these individuals aren’t committed to what you’re trying to achieve, and only pay lip service to your safety ideas and work practices.

By contrast The Ayes are already motivated and don’t need much of a push to adopt new attitudes to safety if you show them the right way, offering leadership through video.

It’s The Floating Voters who deserve your best efforts.

2016 Video Training Handbook

Motivating The Floating Voter to be safer

Taking the time to understand them, and see what’s in it for them, what makes them tick, what they care about, what makes them feel valued or important will win for you.

So the tip is to fashion your safety video messages around motivating these individuals

– and pay little or no attention to The Ayes or The Naysayers.

It’s easy to get over ambitious and aim to motivate just The Ayes – the easy part of your safety video audience.

Equally easily you can try to win around diehards who aren’t likely to shift their views & attitudes. You probably know some individuals like this, and would “dearly love to convert them”.

But the advice is not to bother. Use the Rule of Threes.

Stick to the Floating Voters and you’ll find your win.

Make them feel more important, and show this in your new H&S video – then you’re halfway to motivating the whole of your workforce to adopt safe behaviours.

Need some creative ideas? Take a look at 9 ways to creatively boost your next contractor safety induction video


  1. Eldon Dimmick on 17th May 2021 at 9:20 am

    Everything is very open with a clear clarification of the challenges. It was truly informative. Your website is useful. Many thanks for sharing!

    • Kevin Rossiter on 3rd July 2021 at 11:10 am

      thank you

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