The Business Benefits of Health and Safety

Neil HartleyHealth & Safety Issues/TrendsLeave a Comment

Why do we do it? Health and Safety, I mean. I’m sure every reader of this blog got involved, or at least remain involved, because they want to ensure that people work safely and are safe at work, or variation of that statement. That’s why we do it – we simply want people to go home safely at the end of their working day.

Health and Safety managers across the land are then having to justify investment in the very programs required to keep people safe and generally do this using a combination of cost-saving and productivity-enhancing metrics. We researched a number of the metrics for our blog post last year, The Business Value of Safety.

Very occasionally a business will be led by a CEO putting safety at the heart of everything they do. Alcoa is one of the best known examples (albeit somewhat old now) where the CEO, in putting safety first, managed to drive stellar business performance and shareholder value.

Forbes magazine covered the Alcoa story very recently and featured what they believed was a ‘keystone habit’ – defined by Charles Duhigg, author of ‘The Power of Habit’ as “obsessing over something important” – concluding that:

  • “A leadership team that cracks the code on keeping people safe will simultaneously drive higher levels of performance in ways otherwise difficult to accomplish.”
  • “When employees believe their employer is aiming to keep them safe, it unleashes the kind of reciprocity that affects more than just the accident rate.”

Of course, your CEO may point to the fact that their keystone habit is something other than safety; or that Alcoa is unique and doesn’t necessarily fit your business/sector; or even that you haven’t had a major incident in years so “keep up the good work”…

All of which can be very frustrating and stressful and set us thinking about whether there is a simple measure of health and safety performance that correlates with business performance?

Something like Net Promoter Score (NPS) which is used as a measure of loyalty/customer satisfaction and which has been demonstrated to correlate with the organic growth of a business.

NPS is a metric developed by Bain & Company which is a single number derived from asking customers “on a scale of 0 to 10 how likely is it that would you recommend (our company/product/service) to a friend or colleague)”.

Those scoring 9 or 10 (highly likely to recommend) are called Promoters. 0-6 scorers are Detractors and NPS is calculated by subtracting Detractors from Promoters and normalising across the whole respondent based to produce a single number between +100 and -100.

A single number, simply calculated that has been shown to be a predictor of organic growth.

You’re doubtless aware of NPS and certainly will have participated in an NPS survey whether you were aware of it or not.

The question here is “is there an NPS for health and safety?” Meaning, is there a single measure of health and safety performance (easily calculated and understood) that correlates with business performance? Not just one aspect of business performance (e.g. productivity) but something overarching such as organic growth, value etc.

If you know of something, please let us know using the comment box below.  Watch out for further updates on this topic as we continue to research the area ourselves.

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