Worker engagement and adoption is a common topic of discussion when EHS professionals gather to discuss their environment, health, safety and quality (EHSQ) program success. It makes sense too. The value you get out of any health and safety management or quality management program is only as good as the people (and the number of people) who use it. The more people across your organization understanding and participating in the program, the more successful it will be.
Likewise, from a technology standpoint, the data and potential insights you can get out of your EHSQ management system can only be good as the source data that you put in.
It stands to reason then that successfully implemented programs are ones where widespread adoption occurs, while programs that stall often end up stuck within individual departments or business units.
One observation I’d like to make is that user adoption also partially has a problem of how we’ve defined it. User adoption is a complex topic and needs to be looked at through a broader lens than simply whether employees are switching from filling out paper forms to logging in to a computer system.
Adoption is more than just tasks and actions, it is about users seeing real value from those tasks that they are asked to do and from the software they are being asked to adopt. Understanding that value is what can transform those tasks from an irritation to part of their day-to-day work life. That change in behavior, in turn, is what can lead to a broader understanding of how those tasks can impact them as well as others across the business.
There are a number of technological innovations that can help EHSQ professionals achieve this. The best of these technologies go beyond just automating manual tasks to delivering value by driving new behaviors. They drive EHSQ program adoption and encourage employees to contribute to building a stronger culture around managing those verticals.
Here are the five truly massive waves of disruption that you should consider:
Cloud computing and the proliferation of SaaS tremendously has disrupted the way organizations view enterprise software. By effectively eliminating the need to consider infrastructure cost as part of solution deployment, the evaluation focus can be shifted almost entirely to the business value a solution can offer.
This change in mindset dramatically can shift the perception of new enterprise software purchases away from a purely cost containment-based ROI discussion to one of potential future ongoing value.
EHSQ is one of many solutions that can take advantage of this by moving from the perception of being a sunk cost to the perception of being the starting point for new business innovation. Likewise the speed in which SaaS solutions can be deployed allows organizations, and their users, to dramatically reduce the time to value that these solutions can deliver.
Smartphones dramatically have changed the connectivity of the global workforce. Research from Google estimates that nearly 80 percent of the global workforce is desk-less. Before the proliferation of smartphones, these users simply did not have regular access to enterprise software, regardless of the potential benefit to their job function. In today’s mobile era, the mere fact that these workers now have a viable point of access to modern software tools at all is the foundation for what could be huge changes and acceleration in the benefit of software such as EHSQ management tools.
It makes sense to give the workers who are at greatest risk of injury – those out in the field and on the factory floor – direct access to the programs that support their safety. Smartphones make this a reality. Mobility can help to dramatically drive adoption by making regular usage or EHSQ software a reality at all.
People inherently trust other people and have a desire to communicate and share knowledge and best practices. Health and safety and quality management are domains within a business where knowledge shared by word of mouth always has had tremendous value. Online social networks and focused member communities allow workers of all stripes an opportunity to share this knowledge and learn from each other.
Forward-looking vendors in the EHSQ space are making social sharing a priority. Specifically, driving more cross-organization and cross-industry discussions related to EHSQ is becoming more central to the leading product offerings. These social elements help to deliver tangible value at the user level, serving to accelerate usage and ultimately adoption.
As adoption of EHSQ data management systems increase, so too does the total pool of data that these platforms collect. Today, many are referring to data as the “new oil.”
Historically, data generally has been used to measure past performance. The reason data recently has gained so much value as a resource is because advances in data science and modeling techniques increasingly allow organizations to uncover predictive and prescriptive insights from their pools of safety data.
The most mature EHSQ programs have begun to evolve from being purely reactive platforms to ones that actively seek innovations that can prevent incidents before they happen. Showing the results that can be achieved from widespread EHSQ program adoption can help increase employee buy-in and program adoption.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) presents the next horizon of adding to the pool of data that can be used by EHSQ professionals. Devices, equipment and other elements of a business increasingly are becoming connected to each other. These IoT devices and beacons can send real-time data that can be used to drive insights as part of a modern EHSQ program.
From notifications alerting workers when they enter areas with unique safety requirements, to harvesting diagnostic data from machinery and equipment, IoT and the data it collects can help to accelerate the development of organizational big data programs that could have a massive positive impact on health and safety management and quality management programs.
Not every organization and not every EHSQ program will be equally impacted by these innovations. But all of these technologies can help drive adoption of EHSQ software, in turn improving worker safer, product quality, and, eventually, organizational efficiency. To reap these benefits, user adoption needs to be widespread and rapid.
About the Author: Jason Dea is the director of product marketing at Intelex, which provides health and safety and and quality management software solutions. Dea has over 10 years’ experience in enterprise software.