In Part I of “Best Practices for Implementing a Proactive EHSQ Compliance Program” we discussed the evolution of compliance from a requirement to an imperative. We took a look at several means of optimizing compliance programs to create broader, more strategic initiatives. Central to the discussion is an understanding of one’s business culture, potential barriers to communication, compliance and innovation, and the ability to make and communicate intelligent business decisions. We continue the discussion, here, in Part II, with further emphasis on communication, integration, and business growth.
Best Practice: Involve all Levels of the Business
In the midst of organizational change, regardless of scale, consistent support at the top level is vital. It is just as important to have buy-in from those directly and indirectly affected. When implementing an EHSQ compliance program, all members of the organization, from upper to middle management to the frontline, have an important part in ensuring success.
In the effort to include all levels of the organization, those leading the charge for change must share detailed information about the issues at hand, and the problems associated, in order to foster cultural transparency and inclusion. Again, tying this back to the corporate culture is the best way to endear the employees to the change and help them feel a sense of ownership in the process.
Communication that reaches everyone within an organization can be difficult, even prohibitive, given the scope of modern businesses. These difficulties can be minor compared to those of implementing a vital reform or project, with no company buy-in. Taking time up front to design a communications plan aids the organization, as well as the message, removing barriers, and clearing a path for resolution of issues that invariably arise.
Best Practice: Create an EHSQ Business Case that is Rational and Emotional
Business leaders face challenges and opportunities every day. Some obviously are more important than others, given their potential effect on net present value (NPV) and ROI, for instance, and require more attention. So, how does one take something like EHSQ compliance, which has typically been seen as a cost center and present it as a true investment? The first step is a proper business plan, which presents the overriding rational and emotional components. We’ve all see the scare plan, where if we do not comply, we could possibly see “X” in losses, fines, etc., but what is the emotional call to action in that fear?
Leaders who tie EHSQ compliance to measurable results, specifically in positive organizational growth tend to be much more successful. Instead of painting “what if’s” as negative, change the paradigm and make them positive. For example, what if all of our products were BPA free? What if all of our products were paraffin free? How would this affect the market’s perception of our products? Our brand? Our people? These types of questions lay out the emotional and business rationale for pursuing business change, and ought to be the focus of any proposed development.
With the development of the global economy, increased transparency and exposure, among other factors, goodwill and profitability are inherently linked. If one can truly make an emotional connection, and integrate it within the company culture, positive employee engagement tends to rise, and increased customer satisfaction may follow. In fact, it has long since been noted that employees go through a variety of different emotions when change is happening within an organization.
Rick Torben’s article, “Emotional and Rational Case for Organizational Change,” discusses the need for leaders who have a rational business case to ground it in the emotional phases that employees experience during the change. He showcases the following continuum of emotions that occur during an organizational change event.
Torben details the many negative emotions associated with organizational change, especially at the onset. But we can see that acceptance is key to averting crisis. Confidence follows, and true organizational growth is allowed to occur. It thus becomes imperative, while leading EHSQ change, to manage employee emotions throughout the program lifecycle. If one can tie the change to the organizational culture, employees can better understand why the organization is making the change and see the positive impacts for employees and customer as well.
In our next post, we outline how setting up the metrics for your EHSQ compliance program is a best practice when implementing a proactive compliance program. In the meantime, drop us a line in comments if you have any questions on what we’ve shared in the post above.
Check out part one of the series here.