Elevate your digital journey — it's 2021 already

Safe365 Limited

By Nathan Hight, Co-Founder & Director, Safe365
Monday, 12 July, 2021

Elevate your digital journey — it's 2021 already

Ask yourself this… As a risk and/or safety management professional, are you engaging in and embracing the digital era that is upon us… or are you operating as a ‘creature of habit’ based on how you’ve always approached your profession?

My observation in dealing with thousands of risk, health and safety management professionals over the past few years is that in the main, this industry and the professionals underpinning it have been somewhat resistant to move with the times, often to the detriment of the organisation they are working for or the client they are serving. There are many reasons for this, such as a lack of confidence in individual digital maturity generally (still trying to navigate your Netflix account?), a discomfort with not knowing how technology works (our profession drives us to want to understand cause and effect!), perceived risks about the perils of the cloud in respect to data (they don’t generally put all the good news stories in the headlines!). But the main digital resistance I’ve come across so many times is a sense of intimidation — how will this make me look to my stakeholders? As a result, opportunities to provide better outcomes to your organisation or your client are overlooked and opportunities to elevate yourself as a contemporary, trusted, up-with-the-times professional are compromised.

For instance, if I asked a board member, C-suite team member or business unit leader if they could spend just two hours and less than a thousand dollars to gain a whole-of-business, digital maturity profile of their business, which provided them (as non-technical risk and safety leaders) with an understanding of the ingredients of safety, benchmarked their business against the market and generated a continual improvement pathway to increase risk and safety maturity with a simple dashboard to monitor management progress each month or quarter, they would generally jump at the opportunity. How do I know this? About five thousand businesses I’ve worked with in the past few years have done just that, much to their delight and resulting positive progress. Business leaders are crying out for these types of solutions that allow them to make efficient decisions based on data-driven insights. Are you enabling this as a risk and safety professional or are you standing in the way of progress?

This type of thinking is not limited to individual organisations either. Safe365 has undertaken work to benchmark the entire health sector in New Zealand (NZ) to drive system leadership and sector collaboration. The NZ health system is organised similarly to the Local Health District here in Australia with the health system provisioned to the public via 20 District Health Boards or DHBs. Each DHB has legal, moral and ethical obligations it must meet in respect to health and safety. Health spending represents about 9% of NZ’s GDP with about 1 in 10 businesses in NZ being part of the health supply chain. As a result of the benchmarking work, each DHB understands their unique safety maturity indicator and has a specific continual improvement plan for its unique operating context in order to perform better in meeting legal, moral and ethical obligations. Data was then aggregated into a ‘whole-of-sector view’ which provided the 20 DHB CEOs and safety and risk professionals with a data-driven view of the sector’s capability with clarity on the areas of common strengths and weaknesses to underpin a sector response. Via a collaborative forum, the entire sector now has agreed priority workstreams and is collectively investing in an aligned, common approach to solve problems — all enabled through a decision to embrace cost-effective, easy-to-use digital tools.

Aside from the benefits of using data to drive decision-making, other benefits for embracing digital include improvements in productivity, financial efficiencies, greater visibility and transparency from ‘board table to shopfront’, and with good examples of technology it even means safety and risk professionals spending more of their time working with people — coaching, mentoring, training, advising — the fun stuff!

There are loads of opportunities to become more savvy with digital tools before you take the plunge such as engaging with a demo or ‘sandpit’ environment which many digital solution providers offer (you can’t break anything!) and engaging in professional development activities or short courses that see you on the road to becoming a digital native.

In closing, my message to anyone out there who feels maybe they haven’t embraced the benefits of digital tools just yet is to give it a go. It could be a game changer for your client, your organisation, your industry and even your career.

Top image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Nopphon

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