Many executives see EHS departments as a cost center.
They simply don't have the power to add value to the company the way that sales, marketing, or product development does.
Of course, we know that's not true at all.
But in order to survive in today's competitive landscape, EHS professionals must continually demonstrate the business value of EHS activities.
Corporate executives' perception of the value of safety professionals
Let's start with the good news: According to a survey by the ASSE's Council on Professional Affairs, corporate executives' are generally optimistic about the value of safety professionals.
However, they also said that safety professionals:
• Are too technically focused
•:Don’t integrate safety programs into the organization (in other words, they don’t look at the big picture of how safety programs relate to the organization’s business initiatives)
• Lack key adaptive-type technical skills such as evaluating the effectiveness of safety-related programs
• Skills in strategic planning tend to be narrow in scope and fragmented
In short, technical skills aren't enough to keep safety professionals off the chopping block when companies are 'right-sizing' and slashing positions.
5 ways EHS professionals can demonstrate value
You've heard the saying: "Perception is reality." Now that you know how executives perceive EHS professionals, you can find ways to show them what you're worth.
EHS software can be especially useful when it comes to measuring, analyzing, and reporting on performance. Here are some ways to demonstrate the business value of EHS programs:
- Give senior management the exact reports they need. Never underestimate the value of timely, relevant information. A data warehouse tool makes it easy to create unlimited custom reports.
- Find ways to connect your work to the business' bottom line. For example, use a software that can calculate the cost of incidents to demonstrate that training activities are making a measurable impact on the business' bottom line.
- Identify opportunities for increased organizational efficiency. If you're in tune with the business' objectives, you can use EHS dashboards to diagnose problems and propose solutions.
- Anticipate and address business needs. Get in front of important issues -- like expiring permits or exceeding a threshold limit -- by setting up alerts and notifications.
- Use multiple measures, such as lagging and leading indicators, to evaluate the effectiveness of your safety and environmental programs.
Value is in the eye of the beholder. EHS professionals must help executives see the business value of EHS programs. Modern EHS software can help you communicate the value you provide.