The mission of leaders in charge of safety is the health and safety of their employees. But when those same leaders attempt to execute a tactic that supports the mission, it’s possible that they may run into obstacles. One of the main obstacles is getting approval for the budget needed to guarantee and improve the safety levels.
The challenge has two main origins. The first come from the economic scenario. With tight margins, health and safety professionals are requested to do more with less. The second comes from the opposition of those in charge of the budget who may view the safety program as just an expenditure.
The real value of strong safety programs and the tactics behind them are generally overlooked together with implications of poor safety performance. So then the need arises for the safety professional (you!) to present the case and demonstrate that value.
Educating and showing someone of the value of the safety organization is not easy. That´s why we prepared for you 5 tips for creating a business case that can effect change and help drive your safety transformation strategies forward.
Here’s how to drive transformation for a world-class safety program:
Tip 1: Share the Mission
A shared safety mission does several things: It articulates the safety goals and values that should resonate throughout the company, unites workers and managers, and provides a single purpose that engages all employees. It also supplies some direction for creating a safety management system. In short, it drives safety at a company and is the first step toward creating a safety culture.
A shared mission is an effective way to bring people together. The mission should be simple, straightforward, and meaningful.
Fortunately, with safety, the mission is also clear: reduce risk and boost productivity.
When presenting your case in support of a transformational safety strategy, make sure everyone stays focused on the mission. Repeat it often; so often, in fact, that others will be able to repeat it, too.
Tip 2: Define and Communicate the Goal
If you’ve ever heard the expression, “Let’s get everyone on the same page,” then you know exactly what this tip is about. As the safety professional, it’s your job to ensure that everyone understands what you’re asking for. Keep in mind that your goal is more defined than your mission. A goal is a clear and tangible achievement that supports the mission.
Productivity experts suggest using SMART goals in which the goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. There are literally hundreds of online references if you need help with this. The point here is to encourage you to take the time to think through what you’re asking for and why, then write it out in a format that’s easily understood.
Smart Goal Example: Connected Safety Program
- Specific: We want to reduce the time spent with gas detection management and compliance by using connected gas detection wearables.
- Measurable: We are aiming for a 90% reduction in time spent.
- Attainable: When we use paper-based controls, we waste 14 hours per week. Reducing our time spent will not only save us time, but free us up to focus on bigger safety initiatives and make sure we’re always inspection-ready.
- Relevant: Keeping workers safe and our organization compliant is key to maintaining safe, productive operations and ensuring profitability.
- Time-bound: We’ll see results almost immediately and achieve our goal by the end of the quarter.
Tip 3: Offer Insight
Part of building a business case for change is to inspire a mindset shift in those who are potential barriers to safety transformation. Position your case for success by educating others, giving them information about how what you’re asking for aligns with both the safety mission and overall organizational objectives.
One way to help gatekeepers begin to understand and accept the change is by sharing success stories with them. Learning of others’ success like this, this, and this is both inspiring and informative. More importantly, it adds evidence that supports your case and, ultimately, informs the business decision.
Tip 4: Demonstrate the Benefits
Of all the tips, perhaps this is the most crucial. It’s also the most challenging. Why? Because at the heart of this tip is an idea that is likely the complete opposite of the gatekeeper’s idea about expenditures:
This is an investment, not an expense.
Such an investment is a business decision not a personal one, so it’s up to you to substantiate the ask by providing appropriate facts and figures. This is the time to talk about cost-of-ownership considerations. And this is the time to introduce specific return on investment (ROI) with respect to both productivity and cost.
Remember, your goal is to overcome the objection about spending time and money. So, here’s an example of how to pivot the discussion from expenditure to investment using elements of the MSA Connected Work Platform, driven by the ALTAIR io™ 4 Gas Detection Wearable.
- XCELL® SENSORS use 50% less gas than the industry average during calibration and bump testing. The breakthrough sensor design enables faster response and shorter span calibrations. Plus, it’s rated to last.
- ALTAIR detectors feature military-grade durability and an IP68 rating. These detectors are so rugged they survived a 25-foot drop test.
- MSA+ eliminates capex in advance, is always at-warranty, and enables subscribers to upgrade to the latest technology as soon as it becomes available.
- The Grid helps to save time spent managing the gas detection fleet. It’s also superior at streamlining and supporting data collection, recordkeeping, reporting, and compliance management.
- MSA id tag solves time-consuming check-in and check-out processes, freeing up time for greater productivity while helping ensure improved worker compliance and accountability.
Tip 5: Invest in Future-Forward Solutions
We live in a connected world and now safety has the technology that can connect workers, worksites, and workflows. Connectivity enables remote live monitoring, reduces workplace injuries, streamlines device compliance, provides actionable data and more so you can have better, more proactive control of your detection program.
Build Your Case for a Connected Work Platform
Having a proven plan of action based on these 5 tips can help you prepare for and present your case most effectively. Because you probably want to garner buy-in from others, it’s important that you prepare them for transformation by taking them on the journey to it.
You know – and they soon will, too – that creating a connected safety program is not only the practical thing to do, it’s how you’ll help advance the safety mission and support organizational objectives.
If you need additional insight or help in creating a stronger, proactive culture of safety and performance, learn more about MSA Connected Work Platform here.