In my previous articles I often address employee safety and recently I teased that I would be writing more on the topic for coming articles. Today marks a departure from my typical weekly installment where I speak of everyday occurrences that reveal themselves to me and are inspirations or reminders of basic business improvement concepts and we begin a series of articles focused directly on employee safety.
This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart and serves as the basis for my business and leadership philosophy. I believe strongly that it is an important business leadership trait to be personally invested and committed to employee safety, and that leaders should openly communicate and model behaviors that reinforce this commitment. I am thankful that there are many leaders I know who share this conviction. But I am also pragmatic and realize not every leader or organization will directly embrace this style, agree 100% about the relative importance of employee safety in the hierarchy of “must do” initiatives, or worse yet, maybe not truly think of employee safety as a major concern.
My intent in this series is to avoid “preaching” a safety message. If you’re already a strong advocate for the importance of employee safety to the health of the entire organization, you don’t need further convincing. If not, then attempting to pull on some emotional heartstrings or personalizing the importance of safety for you—well I just don’t think that’s going to spark change in your organization. Instead I am going to make a strong economic case for dramatic improvement in employee safety—a way that you and your team can use improved safety performance to drive improved operational and financial metrics, resulting in greater profitability for your company. My safety beliefs and my recommendations for you are informed by direct experiences from both my personal and professional life and through both study/observation and direct implementation in different businesses during times where I was part of a team, an executive leader, and a business owner. If I can help you and your team make a solid case for the positive financial impact of improved safety, then together we can overcome/override any lingering skepticism or apathy from you or your senior leadership. We get our perfect storm—a win/win where your organization thrives not only economically but also as a steward for your most important asset—your employees.
This series will cover in detail 5 key areas where improved safety performance will impact overall business performance and profitability:
- Direct and indirect financial savings (insurance premiums, medical liability costs, regulatory fines, the avoidance of costs associated with lost labor hours/productivity and temporary staffing, and management resources need to accommodate for missing worker skills).
- Improvement in workplace conditions (elimination of slip/trip/fall hazards, better lighting, improved ergonomics in work cells, etc.) directly leading to more efficient and less wasteful production environments.
- The communication and management muscles used hourly/daily/weekly at all levels of the organization for the safety improvement effort will seamlessly transition into all other areas of your business.
- Through the use of select customer/supplier partners to assist you in the safety improvement effort, you will increase your engagement with these key customers/suppliers as well as others, driving enhanced revenue opportunities and supply chain efficiencies.
- Employee engagement and satisfaction increases with improved safety performance which enables and drives further operational improvement initiatives.
I am excited to embark on what I believe can be a transformational journey for your company—a transformation where you will play a key role and will be able to take great pride and satisfaction. You’ll help lead an effort to invest in your people and invest in making employee safety an integral part of their training and development. When you imbed these safety behaviors, while communicating them throughout the entire organization, you get happier, more relaxed and engaged employees. They’ll have more skills and resources to perform the tasks that drive your business forward every day. Don’t just say it—lead by doing it.