The Great Resignation. The Turnover Tsunami. COVID Job Churn. Whatever you call it, organizations across the board are struggling with higher-than-normal turnover.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.4 million people quit their jobs in September 2021 alone. Of those that remain, more than half are currently looking for a new job.
EHS departments are no exception. A 2019 EHS Talent Report found that the average turnover among EHS staff was 12%. In some industries, such as automotive and utilities, EHS turnover was as high as 20% or more — and that was before the pandemic.
Reasons and opinions for this abound, but we can all agree on one thing: High turnover in EHS impacts all areas of the business, not just the EHS department.
The true cost of turnover in EHS
Companies worry about the cost of losing employees in any role, but the loss of an EHS team member can be especially costly.
While it’s impossible to put a price tag on knowledge and experience, there are some hard-and-fast numbers associated with losing a skilled EHS professional.
The cost of replacing an individual employee ranges from one-half to two times the employee's annual salary, according to Gallup. In dollar figures, replacing a safety specialist could run your organization anywhere from $33,000-132,000.
Then there’s the cost of recruiting, hiring, and training a replacement. Skilled EHS professionals are in high demand, and those professionals command a high price.
But that’s only half of the equation.
Even once you’ve hired a new team member, it can take years to rebuild institutional knowledge when a long-standing employee leaves. Just think of all the things that could get lost in the transition:
- Documents, records, and reports that are tucked away in filing cabinets
- Spreadsheets that are saved to their computer
- Excel formulas and macros that no one else knows how to make work
- Compliance tasks that no one else knows how to do
- Reporting deadlines they’re working toward
You may not even realize this information exists until much later, when you need it for an audit or inspection. Worse yet, you could easily miss a critical deadline if you don't know exactly what this employee was working on before they left.
Don’t rely on (institutional) memory
There’s a lot organizations can do to prevent EHS staff turnover, including offering competitive pay and benefits, flexible work arrangements, and opportunities for professional growth.
However, some amount of attrition is inevitable. People move, retire, change jobs or even change careers. Mergers and acquisitions are another big transition that can cause employee churn. This is why it’s so important for companies to take steps to preserve institutional knowledge.
One of the best ways to do this is by putting a centralized EHS management software system in place. A centralized EHS management system serves as a shared repository for all your documents, data, tasks, and activities. And if it’s cloud-based, anyone on your team with the right permissions can look at the information.
This is a huge advantage if someone in your EHS department quits. With all their data available in the central system, there’s no need to dig through their desk or computer for information. This saves everyone time and makes the transition much smoother for your remaining employees. Plus, it mitigates the risk of missing something while your team is rebuilding.
What to look for
Of course, not all EHS management systems are created equal. Choosing the right system is critical.
First off, it must be easy to use. The coolest, most cutting-edge software won’t do any good if it’s too hard to use. People will simply revert back to the old way of saving information in sticky notes and spreadsheets. A good software system will have all the necessary features, without too many extra bells and whistles.
Second, whichever system you choose must be easy to train so you can get new hires up to speed quickly. The onboarding process is hard enough without having to spend weeks learning a complicated software system. Again, this is why choosing a simple and intuitive software system is so important.
How Perillon can help
Perillon offers an intuitive, easy-to-implement EHS platform for industrial corporations. If you’re looking for an EHS management system that will help you preserve institutional knowledge, mitigate the risk of losing an employee, and reduce the time it takes to onboard new hires, schedule a free demo today.
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