In this session at the 2016 California Workers’ Compensation & Risk Conference, three seasoned risk management professionals shared their experiences around changing the mindset, and ultimately the culture, of organizations to become safety focused.
- Dan Holden, Manager, Corporate Risk & Insurance, Daimler Trucks North America
- Heidi Bastien, Director of Risk Management, Rubio’s Restaurants, Inc.
- Scott Ritto, Vice President, Risk Management, Kilroy Realty Corporation
When it comes to creating a culture of safety, there are a few areas where you can start. First, assess the current culture of your organization. How do people look at risk? Are people focused on safety or is going to be challenging to change perceptions? Review trends and reach out to your insurance partners to provide analytics that can help you gather this information.
Next, evaluate the view from the top. Start with senior leadership, including the Board of Directors. If you can get this buy in, you have a much better chance of making an impact to implement your ideas. You need this support. Work with senior leadership to create cross-functional goals for the organization to avoid conflict between departments and report back successes to maintain this executive buy in.
Once you begin to implement ideas, provide tools and resources to enable every business partner to be a risk manager. Make your presence known. Visit different locations and maintain visibility within the organization. If you make your presence positive, you invite yourself to be a resource. When business partners come to you with potential risks and solutions, you know you are positively impacting the organization.
Challenges will occur. It’s always a challenge to prove you are an ally to different stakeholders. In addition, management can be reluctant to address emerging risks or hesitant to implement change. You will have to overcome corporate silos or egos while getting other departments to implement your ideas. You have to learn how to prioritize your ideas and pick your battles. Unfortunately, sometimes it will take a large event or claim to get everyone’s attention and prove your worth.
There are several strategies that can help remove these challenges and encourage the organization become collaborative. Company surveys are a good strategy to uncover dysfunctions of a team. Sometimes you will figure out that departments are road-blocking each other’s strategies. There is training that can help. For instance, leadership and communication training can help everyone learn how to effectively communicate, how to send an actionable e-mails and how to host an effective meeting.
From a risk perspective, you are trying to be a change agent in your organization. Learning how to create an integrated approach with executive leadership, operations, human resources, and other functions within the organization, will help you incorporate safety throughout the organization. Risk management is, ultimately, everybody’s job.