Whether you purchase an off-the-shelf EHS software or build your own custom system, EHS software is a major investment — so you want to know that you’re getting the most out of your system.
After working with many different types of customers in various industries, we’ve identified 6 best practices that will help you make the most of your EHS software.
1. Use it consistently
One common reason organizations struggle to see value from their EHS software is simply because they’re not using it consistently.
EHS software tools work best when you use them as a central hub for all your data. If employees are only utilizing the software part of the time, you can end up with incomplete or skewed data. Pretty soon, you’ll hear complaints that “the software isn’t working” — when in reality, the problem is not the software but how you’re using it.
Set some ground rules around the use of your EHS software. For example, make it company policy that every regulatory deadline must be entered into the system without exception. By laying out clear expectations about how the software should be used, you’ll help your team succeed and deliver results aligned with your software purchase objectives.
2. Train your employees well
Sometimes, the reason why your team isn't using your EHS software consistently is because they haven’t had adequate training.
You wouldn’t expect to play the guitar like Santana after one lesson. Similarly, you shouldn’t expect your team to use new software proficiently after a day or two of training.
In addition to your initial training, consider offering periodic refresher training and additional training opportunities for employees to explore more features. Provide quick reference guides that employees can refer back to when they have a question. And don’t forget to make software training part of your new employee onboarding process.
3. Let the software do the work for you
EHS software is designed to automate many of the time-consuming tasks you perform on a day-to-day basis. Software can automatically send notifications, escalate missed deadlines, and alert you when a task is assigned or completed. Yet, many people don’t take advantage of the automations that are available.
Now is the time to start. Instead of manually sending emails to follow up on tasks, for example, set your EHS software do that for you. Or, you can establish automation rules to alert you of an upcoming deadline, trigger corrective actions related to an audit finding, and assign tasks to different users.
4. Use the data for decision-making
If you’re only using your EHS software to collect and organize data, you’re not making the most of your system. EHS software isn’t just for storing information — it should also provide valuable insights.
With all your data in one place, you can start to analyze trends and patterns. The more you rely on this information to make business decisions, the better results you'll see from your software investment.
5. Integrate your EHS software with other tools
As we said before, EHS software should act as a single source of truth for all your EHS data. However, you can get more mileage out of your EHS software by connecting it to the other tools you use.
For example, you can connect your EHS software system to your DAS or CEMs to feed data directly into the system. You can connect it to your ERP so that employees in different departments have access to the same information. Or, you can connect it to your financial systems to track EHS costs.
In any case, integrating your EHS software with your other tools will go a long way toward streamlining business processes and improving communication across your organization.
6. Keep it simple
EHS software offers a dizzying number of features that can help you save time, reduce costs, and prevent unwanted events. While it can be tempting to choose the software with the most bells and whistles, that usually ends up being a waste of money.
Research from the Standish Group showed that only 20% of software features were used frequently or always. A full 45% of features were never used at all.
With that in mind, focus on the 20% of features your team will use all the time and buy a software that does those things well. Modular software systems are a great option, since you can start small and add on additional functionality as the need arises.
By following the tips and best practices above, you’ll be able to get more mileage out of your EHS software investment.
If, however, you’ve tried these tips and you’re still not finding success, it may be time to look for a new system. For more information, check out these 5 warning signs you’ve outgrown your EHS software.