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News & Press: IMA News & Press Releases

Safety Totally Leads the Way

Friday, June 9, 2017  

This is not just the path toward improved safety and lower safety-related costs; it is also the path to walk if your goal is greater customer retention, higher sales, and maximizing profits.

By Brian Galonek

The trend toward "total engagement" has been emerging for the past five to ten years: a trend driven at times by the ongoing need to attract and retain talented people and by the need to address a myriad of other business objectives. Employee engagement is the key to success for virtually all corporate initiatives; from wellness to safety, from sales to profitability, practically all successful attempts to improve performance start by improving employee engagement. It would therefore seem logical that employee engagement initiatives would emanate from the very top of an organization with directives handed down from executives to HR and operations managers.

In my experience, what actually happens is that some forward-thinking department manager deploys employee engagement tactics that produce impressive results catching the attention of those in the C-Suite. Very often that manager is in charge of safety.

While I'm starting to find more companies that seem to understand that virtually all their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats can and should be looked at through a lens of employee engagement, I'm still not finding many that act accordingly at a high level. If they identify training as a weakness, they often spend most of their time discussing whether there is better training software that they should deploy. If they see an opportunity to lower safety costs related to incidents such as "struck-bys" or "slips and falls", they discuss purchasing better hard hats and work boots. While these conversations are taking place, what thy really need is someone in the room to stand up  say, "Let's look at our employee engagement levels first."

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