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EHS Manager's Guide: 7 Tactics for a People-first Workplace

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If you have a role in risk management, you’re probably motivated by people first and compliance second. Whether an environment, health, and safety (EHS) manager, facility manager, or HR professional, you need to be proactive about EHS issues to keep employees safe and healthy while also managing business operations to maintain a light environmental footprint.

By following these seven actionable tactics, you’ll increase EHS program development and deployment success, foster a safe and healthy work environment, minimize impact on the environment, and facilitate the growth and sustainability of your business.

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EHS Manager's Guide: 7 Tactics for a People-first Workplace

  1. 1. 7 TACTICS FOR A PEOPLE-FIRST WORKPLACE EHS MANAGER’S GUIDE // ANTEA GROUP EHSXTECH SURVEY RESULTS 2015
  2. 2. PUT YOUR PEOPLE FIRST If you have a role in risk management, you’re probably motivated by people first and compliance second. Whether an environment, health, and safety (EHS) manager, facility manager, or HR professional, you need to be proactive about EHS issues to keep employees safe and healthy while also managing business operations to maintain a light environmental footprint. By understanding employees’ behaviors and attitudes toward EHS, you can implement EHS programs and initiatives that best leverage those behaviors and attitudes. As a result, these programs have a greater probability of being implemented and adopted successfully. By following these seven actionable tactics, you’ll increase EHS program development and deployment success, foster a safe and healthy work environment, minimize impact on the environment, and facilitate the growth and sustainability of your business. The challenge you face is finding the right balance between EHS programs for your level of risk that ensures a safe and healthy workforce and supports your core business objectives.
  3. 3. METHODOLOGY In April 2015, Antea Group conducted a survey with the goal of better understanding employee attitudes and preferences as related to environment, health, and safety in the technology industry. The study involved 500 U.S-based respondents working in global IT organizations with more than 5,000 employees. The survey focused on questions relating to company environment, personal workplace and EHS services. Findings were rated using “Importance Scales” running from 1-10, with one being “not important at all” and 10 being “extremely important.”
  4. 4. UNCOMFORTABLE ABOUT SAFETY With regard to safety, employees at tech companies: of surveyed employees did not feel comfortable pointing out potentially unsafe behaviors to either their peers or superiors. would not appreciate being told they were doing something potentially unsafe. would be offended if they were told that they were doing something potentially unsafe. Although a majority of employees would not be offended being told they’re doing something unsafe and would even appreciate being told so, only half of employees feel comfortable pointing out unsafe behaviors to their colleagues. ANTEA GROUP EHSXTECH SURVEY RESULTS 2015 38% 36% 45%
  5. 5. DON’T BE SHY ABOUT SAFETY1. If employees are not comfortable talking about safety and helping their colleagues be safe in the workplace, this is likely to limit the effectiveness of your incident and near miss reporting program, injury and illness prevention program, and risk assessment program. EHS MANAGER’S GUIDE: TACTIC To counter these feelings: Focus on facilitating the behavior of intervening as well as accepting advice. Build a safety culture that sets employee intervention as an expectation. Encourage employees to point out safety concerns to their coworkers, regardless of title, before they blossom into larger HR or compliance issues.
  6. 6. SAFETY IS A PRIORITY FOR WOMEN Women tend to place more value on workplace safety when compared to men. Males Females 69% 84% Feeling personally safe and secure in the workplace 57% 76% Knowing your company has an emergency response plan to manage any crisis 54% 74% Company’s ability to respond to workplace violence including an active shooter scenario 56% 71% Company’s ability to provide a safe and secure parking lot ANTEA GROUP EHSXTECH SURVEY RESULTS 2015
  7. 7. STEPS TO MAKE SAFETY A PRIORITY2. Make sure your employees are aware of your EHS policies and programs and how they keep them safe. Integrate crisis response plans into employee communications. Install safety cameras or hire security guards for parking lots. EHS MANAGER’S GUIDE: TACTIC
  8. 8. EMPLOYEES WANT SAFETY TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY Overall, employees care most about: Company takes your workplace safety needs seriously. Company takes your workplace health needs seriously. Company’s ability to control access to building entrances. 70% 69% 69% ANTEA GROUP EHSXTECH SURVEY RESULTS 2015
  9. 9. TURN CONCERNS INTO ACTIONS3. • Train your EHS team to respond quickly to employee concerns, such as strange odors or blocked exits, to show employees that EHS is taken seriously at your company. • Make EHS visible by launching an annual EHS Awareness Day led by corporate EHS managers and facility managers who can set up interactive stations around offices to shine light on often-overseen EHS issues like stairwell safety and proper ergonomics. • Provide digital and physical systems to elicit current employee concerns and encourage feedback and reporting. • To ensure awareness doesn’t dwindle over time, be sure to plan and initiate EHS training for all new employees – full-time and contract employees alike. EHS MANAGER’S GUIDE: TACTIC
  10. 10. CONCERNS ARE DIVERSE Overall, employees care the most about: Feeling personally safe and secure in the workplace. Knowing your company has an emergency response plan to manage any crisis. Adjustable and flexible workstation chairs, monitors and other peripherals. 75% 64% 60% ANTEA GROUP EHSXTECH SURVEY RESULTS 2015
  11. 11. BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING & EVERYTHING4. • From ergonomic issues to emergency response plans, you can never predict what your workforce’s next concern will be. Assume that nothing is ever off the table. • Know that your employees’ behaviors and attitudes may change based on where they live. For example, metropolitan offices may require controlled building access, whereas suburban offices may not be as concerned. • By connecting with geographic stakeholders, you can proactively plan for employee concerns, staying one step ahead of global challenges and understanding different employee expectations in different geographies. EHS MANAGER’S GUIDE: TACTIC
  12. 12. 2 PEOPLE ARE THINKING GREEN Employees are showing a growing awareness of the environmental impact of company operations. Overall, close to half of employees care about: Company water conservation (42%) Company has recycling containers accessible throughout the building (46%) Company has implemented energy conservation programs (48%) Company takes its impact on the environment seriously (52%) ANTEA GROUP EHSXTECH SURVEY RESULTS 2015
  13. 13. BE ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS5. • Educate your employees on the environmental impacts of your company’s operations, the programs in place to minimize these impacts, and their role in ensuring program success. • Recruit with the environment in mind. You can use your environmental awareness and corporate responsibility as a selling point to prospective top talent. EHS MANAGER’S GUIDE: TACTIC
  14. 14. EMPLOYEES ARE UNAWARE OF EHS Employees Don’t Know They’re Being Protected • Only 28% were aware of an EHS function in their company • 72% were largely unaware of their company’s EHS function 7% 17% 48% 28% Aware Somewhat Aware Somewhat Unaware Unaware ANTEA GROUP EHSXTECH SURVEY RESULTS 2015
  15. 15. LIFT UP UNSUNG HEROES6. • Celebrate employees who take EHS seriously as company and community heroes, acknowledging them with extrinsic rewards for their attention to safety. • Survey your employees to see what they think about the company’s EHS preparedness. Do they know EHS exists? How aware are they of EHS functions? • Partner with HR and internal communications to convey EHS messages, such as preparedness plans. People often don’t know the connection between their personal safety and EHS. EHS MANAGER’S GUIDE: TACTIC
  16. 16. 2 EMPLOYEES HAVE EXPECTATIONS FROM EHS Employees are looking for… Response within 24 hours (53%) EHS team is readily available and easily accessible (52%) Ability to give EHS team feedback regarding performance (42%) EHS team live chat (32%) ANTEA GROUP EHSXTECH SURVEY RESULTS 2015
  17. 17. BE AVAILABLE, COMMUNICATIVE, AND RESPONSIVE7. • Be ready to respond to issues in a timely manner and make yourself accessible to the workforce on a day-to-day basis. • Management values EHS teams that are accessible – because management may be held accountable for issues that arise. • Make sure executives understand and are invested in the importance of EHS; encourage them to communicate EHS messages to all employees. • Establish a feedback loop to stay attuned to employees’ wants and needs for EHS. EHS MANAGER’S GUIDE: TACTIC
  18. 18. TOP TAKEAWAYS WELCOMING TO ALL Across the board, women value safety more than men. Equip yourself to be welcoming for a diverse workforce. Women have a different value proposition when searching for employers. SPREAD EHS AWARENESS The majority of employees are largely unaware of their company’s EHS function, but the same number of respondents say that it’s important to feel personally safe and secure in the workplace. Show the value of EHS whenever possible. Lift up EHS heroes as examples to follow. SPEAK UP AND BE HEARD People want to be told if they’re following unsafe practices, but many don’t know how to speak up for safety. Build a culture where employees feel comfortable about helping each other stay safe and aren’t shy about speaking up. Make safety a habit and reward employees for having safe workplace practices.
  19. 19. KEEP EMPLOYEES SAFE AND FOCUS ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS People want to stay safe and also be told by their peers if they’re being unsafe. Unfortunately, many employees don’t feel comfortable telling their colleagues that they’re being unsafe. Too often, people are largely unaware of the functions of EHS at their company and don’t associate their own safety with EHS. Don’t get stuck in this cycle. Build a culture of awareness and openness where all employees help to take care of one another and the environment, aligned with fit-for-purpose EHS programs. Protect your employees, safeguard your brand, attract top and diverse talent, and allow your business to focus on growing.
  20. 20. Antea Group is an international engineering and environmental consulting firm specializing in full-service solutions in the fields of environment, infrastructure, urban planning and water. By combining strategic thinking and multidisciplinary perspectives with technical expertise and pragmatic action, we do more than effectively solve client challenges; we deliver sustainable results for a better future. With more than 3,000 employees in over 100 offices around the world, we serve clients ranging from global energy companies and manufacturers to national governments and local municipalities. For more information, visit http://us.anteagroup.com. Have questions about these survey results or are you looking for a partner to help eliminate environment, health and safety risks that impact your people, your brand and your customers? Contact Peylina Chu: Peylina.Chu@anteagroup.com ABOUT ANTEA GROUP

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