If it is a massive understatement to suggest that technology is at the centre of almost everything in modern life, it would be equally obvious to state that most large organisations struggle to integrate technology with their safety culture. The fact is that most technology solutions get introduced for their ability to tick health and safety boxes and for maximising profit – rather than being the right thing to do.
The result is an inconsistent and disparate approach that causes subtle, yet potentially costly and ultimately damaging knock-on effects throughout the broader organisation. In extreme cases, it can be like when animals are introduced to foreign ecosystems to solve one problem, with catastrophic consequences for other native species. There are countless examples of these in nature and many more in businesses who fight unnecessary fires with off-the-shelf software solutions.
The way large organisations are struggling to manage the current COVID-19 pandemic is a case in point. For many, being forced into mass work from home scenarios or managing key-worker staff (all at incredibly short notice), has highlighted the significant importance of having a collaborative automated digital framework for managing processes and personal wellbeing issues.
A tech-led safety culture is a firm foundation
You cannot feed an influential culture into a business solely from the bottom-up. At some point, an organisation must ask the big questions at a global, company-wide or boardroom level. With health and safety, for example: questions like ‘why are we doing this?’ are just as important as ‘what is the standard we need to achieve?' Those questions then need to be fuelled by a burning desire to do the right thing by doing things right, and then that emphasis needs to filter throughout the organisation.
Working in this space every day, with some of the world’s most innovative technology-using companies, our experience is that the culture-first approach unleashes widespread rewards. When people at every level of an organisation buy into its culture productivity increases, health and safety improves, absence and sicknesses reduce and regulative standards are consistently achieved.
Finding the balance to create a safety culture
It’s apparent that everything comes back to the same place, the need to understand what a culture of safety means to an organisation. Upon exploring this question, a typical conclusion highlights key elements around finding a balance between financial and business drivers and individual safety and wellbeing. In order to deliver that balance, an organisation will inevitably need a single source of truth delivered through automated technology.
Get the basics right and for the right reasons, and everything else becomes a whole lot easier to implement in the short-term and more successful over time. This one-vision approach avoids the risk of multiple technologies being employed to achieve the same result, increases the buy-in and adoption of new practices among employees and ensures that the minimal cost of compliance mitigates the considerable cost of getting things wrong.
Will we ever be the same again?
It has been interesting to watch the Government respond to the recent crisis by spending big in areas where it previously believed it couldn’t afford to spend. Perhaps large corporates, with vast workforces around the globe will take a similar view when the dust has settled, but will that be too late? Maybe they will, like the family that finally installs a burglar alarm the week after a break-in, invest fully in protecting their most valuable assets.
Perhaps the call to arms currently for organisations is to take this time to think about those key processes that need to be digitised and automated, to do the things that you have been meaning to do for a while but haven’t had chance to focus on; don’t wait for the house to be broken into before fitting the alarm.
Info Exchange has already become the answer for a wide variety of organisations across almost every area of their business: from health and safety to compliance; and from supply chain to risk management.
If you would like to learn how Alcumus Info Exchange can help manage your current fight against the effects of Coronavirus: or protect you from the inevitable ‘next thing’ please get in touch.