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Perhaps the most popular metric to employ across performance indicators is ROI — return on investment — used to show, in the simplest of terms, where the money is coming back in, and in what amount. When it is usually employed, ROI is a hard, number-to-number statistic dealing solely in quantifiable values. In other words, it’s a rigid number that lacks the scope to encompass the full benefit created through investments in safety programs overall, and in safety leadership training in particular.
ROI glosses over qualitative gains and is rarely structured to include factors like preventative safety measures curbing workplace mishaps, or increases in employee engagement leading to increases in process performance. But in the grand game of increasing profit, investing in safety leadership training ends up creating better working conditions, a more productive workforce, and a stronger bottom line for employers.
Employees who feel confident that their job is as safe as possible are willing to work harder and are less stressed about completing their day-to-day tasks. But, the only way for an organization’s safety program to be effective is for employees to be actively involved in its guidelines. Safety leaders play a pivotal role in employee engagement in safety programs, as the leaders are the ones most directly overseeing if front line employees utilize safe practices while utilizing the same safe practices themselves, creating a positive feedback loop through direct action.
Safety leaders are also the ones tasked with working to collect data through metrics and employee feedback to refine the program as a whole. To ensure safety leaders are able to effectively accomplish these tasks, then, those leaders require robust training to set them on the right path initially and to reinforce them at regular intervals. This will allow an organization’s culture to stay rooted in safe practices, which allows processes to be completed more efficiently, with fewer on-site injuries or manufacturing slowdowns.
Proactive versus reactive
When a safety program is only focused on providing updates and improvements after an issue, injury or malfunction has occurred, then the program is not working effectively. This comes from the core theme of that age-old adage “those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it.” Until a safety program is focused on getting ahead of potential issues, working to prevent them before they arise, then the program is missing out on the opportunity to work toward bettering an organization. Ensuring that safety leadership receives regular training and workshops provides the tools and framework for the leadership team to be able to identify issues before they arise, rather than learning the hard way, through hands-on experience with a catastrophic safety failure. It’s providing the edge that puts the whole team ahead of the issues. Once the safety team is able to focus on improvements that will prevent an injury tomorrow, then the organization will see decreases in incident reports, and upticks in employee morale.
Constant employee turn-over ends up quickly eating into an organization’s assets. The constant interviewing-onboarding-equipping-training cycle can burn through overhead, and leaves many higher-ups wondering where all of the good employees have gone. As the cycle continues, it leaves many businesses in the unfortunate position of mulling over whether it’s more worthwhile to reduce the quality of training and equipment when bringing on new employees, for fear that the upfront investment will all be for naught.
This is where improvements in company culture come back into play, and the importance in safety leadership strengthening that culture. If employees feel that they are not being treated as flesh-and-blood, and looked at more as expendable pieces, then they are less likely to produce quality work and are more likely to look elsewhere for employment. However, providing continuous improvements, and regularly scheduled safety trainings and workshops, shows that employees’ lives and well-being are at the forefront of an organization’s concerns. In turn, when safety leadership is able to use the tools they’ve gained from training to bring front-line employee concerns in front of management or to use that feedback to enact changes in the safety program, it will only strengthen the organization’s culture, and lead to employee’s that are more willing to back the employer that cares about them.
Investment in safety leadership is about more than looking for profits next quarter. It’s about looking toward the profitable future of an organization, building a strong foundation for safe practices to thrive, and believing that the teams that make a business succeed will produce continually greater processes, goods, and services over multiple years, becoming the place for top talent to search out when looking for their next career opportunity.
Optimum Safety Management provides information and services to help companies develop safety leaders and improve overall safety performance. For more information on how Optimum Safety Management can assist with your businesses’ safety needs, contact an expert today, or reach out via phone at 630-759-9908.