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SLC 2017 Q&A: Integrating New and Temporary Employees into Your Safety Culture

Aug. 4, 2017
Corey Berghoefer and Michael Summers of Randstad US will tell attendees about how to integrate new and temporary workers into an existing safety culture at the 2017 Safety Leadership Conference Sept. 11-13 in Atlanta.

Corey Berghoefer, senior vice president of risk management and insurance and Michael Summers, director of safety risk management at Randstad US will speak at the Safety Leadership Conference Sept. 11-13 in Atlanta.

The session “New Employees, Temporary Employees: Best Practices to Assimilate Them Into Your Safety Culture”, which is part of the Safety and Risk Management track, will provide insight about assimilating temporary workers into an organization’s safety culture. Here is more about the session.

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EHS Today: Can you offer us a description of your presentation and how it relates to safety leadership?

Berghoefer: Our presentation is intended to provide insight on assimilating temporary workers into an organization’s safety culture and how host employers can overcome the challenges of integrating and engaging contractors and freelancers. We will emphasize the importance of safety leadership and precautions that need to be carried out when introducing contract workers into the workforce mix.

Overall, a safety culture must be driven from the top while also embraced from the bottom-up. Leaders need to make sure the right policies, processes and people are in place..

EHS Today: Why is the topic of your presentation of interest to you and why is it important to SLC attendees?

Berghoefer: Randstad is committed to simultaneous promotion of all interests and safety both within our own organization and in our client organizations where we place working talent. Verified by the Safety Standard of Excellence Mark, Randstad protects workers and employers by properly selecting and screening applicants, ensuring general safety training and orientations, evaluating work site hazards and instituting collaborative safety and incident management protocols.

All employers and SLC attendees can foster a safer workplace by establishing a strong safety culture, which is the responsibility of all employees. This is just as important when implementing a temporary workforce.  While employers typically have safety programs and standards in place for permanent employees, organizations should ensure there is consistency with the plan for temporary workers in order to reduce and prevent exposure to risks, health and safety hazards.

Michael Summers: Not all staffing companies have the same policies, resources or commitment to safety as Randstad. We believe continued safety in the workplace requires ongoing attention to detail. Beyond the clear benefits of a strong employer brand and reduced costs associated with safety and compliance issues -- both of which are critical to the bottom line -- creating a safe work environment is simply the right thing to do.

EHS Today: Please share an example of a personal or professional experience you’ve had related to safety leadership or the topic of your presentation.

Berghoefer: I have witnessed first-hand efforts by executive leadership to instill safety culture fail due to a simple mistake: lack of engagement and failure to lead by example.  Executive leadership will announce the company's commitment to safety, invest in resources and program improvement and roll out communication initiatives to drive safety culture from top.  Months or years later, there is a disconnect between the vision leadership had and what is transpiring at the line level.  Why did it fail?  Due to the disconnect between the line level supervisors/managers and the expectations set by executive leadership.

However, when everyone in a leadership role, from executive level to line level, act, behave and speak in a way that clearly aligns with the company’s commitment to safety, employees engage and embrace the change and a safety culture is achieved. 

EHS Today: What are the takeaways you hope to leave with attendees?

Summers: Three key takeaways: The best practices for onboarding with a staffing provider, what information staffing partners should provide when it comes to safety and how to keep temporary employees engaged in a corporate environment. Also, we’ll leave SLC attendees with the right tools to establish a tone with temporary employees -- paving a way for success and overcoming challenges when integrating contractors into your workforce.

EHS Today: What do you think are some of the most pressing EHS and risk management issues facing corporate leaders and safety professionals in 2017 and beyond?

Berghoefer: The most pressing issues facing corporate leaders and safety professionals are the risks created due to talent shortages, turnover, recruitment effectiveness, and upskilling workers in an increasingly automated industry.

Summers: We’re bound to see an increase in productivity with the adoption of robotics. The positive impact of this technology is that it will drive work, but will also elicit a new set of training to prevent new and unique risks.

EHS Today: How will this session help attendees be a better resource for their employees and company?

Berghoefer: Safety managers and executive leadership can collectively establish a robust safety culture and work environment by adopting sound safety principles and operational processes. A comprehensive approach not only saves lives but also improves the cost of doing business by reducing the total cost of workers' compensation claims and insurance premiums.

We believe that workplace safety is a company's responsibility for both permanent and temporary workers. As a result of this presentation, session attendees will have a better understanding of how to choose a reputable staffing partner for temporary workers, how their company can better work with their staffing agency or agencies to effectively protect temporary workers and what strategies, policies and practices to provide a safe work environment for all.

(EHS Today's 2017 Safety Leadership Conference and America’s Safest Companies Award Program will take place Sept. 11-13 in Atlanta, GA at the Hilton Atlanta. This event is designed to share best leadership, risk management, compliance and safety practices with EHS professionals hoping to achieve world-class safety at their companies. The conference features 28 sessions across four performance tracks; Safety & Risk Management, Compliance, Construction Safety and Safety Technology.)

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