January 12, 2018

Trends you need to know in the Environmental, Health, Safety, Quality, Risk and Training space for 2018 – Part 1

There have been some fascinating developments in the EHSQRT sector over the past two quarters; we see these trends developing as they are expected to take hold into 2018 and beyond. This focus on program effectiveness becomes more relevant as organisations everywhere continues to struggle with the balancing act of staying safe, being productive and increasing positive engagement.
The Top Four Surprising EHSQRT Trends
  1. Focus has moved entirely away from results reports and instead has turned to Performance Primers for internal communications.
  2. Positive Psychology principles and non-traditional training is being used to build Capability, Capacity and Cultivation
  3. HSR (Health and Safety Representatives) and HSC (Health and Safety Committees) are being encouraged to become business partners.
  4. Recognition and Reward Programs are back in a Big Way
I will talk about each of these trends in a mini-series, each week focusing on one. This week it’s all about how the focus has entirely moved from results reports and moved to performance primers for internal communications.
Shifting focus from results reports to performance primers
It seems the Law of Attraction may have finally made its way to the EHSQRT space; focus on what you WANT not on what you DO NOT want! That is the message.
After countless surveys and conversations with Safety professionals, employees and managers there is finally a move to phasing out frequency rate and failure rates from noticeboards and conversations. For most safety professionals this is not a surprise, in fact, moving away from “Lag Indicators” is something that most safety folk would support – we see it go much, much further than that.
Even the term zero events, zero injuries and days without an incident are being phased out; it does not stop there either, the publicising of Hazards, and Near Hit reporting to the larger group of employees is also on the chopping block in many progressive organisations.
This collected information is only for planning purposes not publicising, which is a significant move forward in a structured and project focused way. A change like this is somewhat challenging because our natural approach as humans is to focus on the negative. As a result, the way we recognise performance has also shifted significantly.
Re-sharpen your focus
In discussion with one senior safety professional, they said, “we are delighted to be able to take the focus off the stats, even what we considered to be positive ones.” When asked how employees and managers were feeling about the change the response was an enthusiastic “no one posted the financial target and actuals, this way  it stops us from reacting to outcomes and helps us focus on what we know we must continue to do, according to our plan.”
The premise behind this move is clear; stats were never beneficial as a tool because they lacked engagement and often had negative implications. More interestingly though is the thinking behind the constant reminder of how many hazards there are,  how many injuries there are or how many days where we did not have an injury.
More and more research suggests that if our focus, intentionally or otherwise is on the “unsafeness” injuries, hazards and near hits, then those are the things that will manifest. There is also some anecdotal evidence related to the stressors and pressures associated with constant reminders of potential harm.
Stay tuned for next week’s post, part two of the surprising trends in EHSQRT, where I’ll be discussing the positive psychology principles and non-traditional training that is being used to build capability, capacity, and cultivation in the workplace.
 Cheryl A McKenzie – CEO, Boutique Consulting Firm (previously at Leadership Headquarters)
Apart from a six-year stint as a GM of Operations for a manufacturing company in Sydney, Cheryl has a history spanning 20+ years in the EHSQT and business performance space in Australia and overseas and has worked in most industries and sectors.
Cheryl identified several years ago, after spending some time on an Industry Association Board and then as an Executive Officer for another Industry Association, that EHSQT was transitioning yet again.

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