Realising an ROI on workplace safety

As leaders, we have a duty of care—a responsibility to safeguard our employees and visitors. Why? Because when safety measures are lacking in places of business, lives are at risk.

Two measurement terms that form an integral part of any board-level leadership are KPI and ROI. For good Reason. The litmus test for each goal, project and business opportunity, with KPIs serving as forward goals and ROI detailing the results in the rearview. These two key metrics have a place in most boardrooms across the globe, but not all business efforts can be validated by key benchmarks, spreadsheets or pie charts.

People lack the traditional definition of ROI. Our employees are our both greatest investment, and our greatest risk. The current security climate is fast-evolving and wide-ranging, and strategic decisions based on safety can be tough.

The Data Is There
Violence is on the rise. Our news feeds regularly show that schools, public events and job sites have been the settings for unthinkable violence. Although many organisations are taking measures to protect people in the workplace, safety procedures for critical incidents like workplace violence (43%), system outages or cyberattacks (43%), active shooters (42%) and hazardous materials incidents (41%) are lagging behind.

Manufacturing, healthcare and small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are showing the greatest need for improved crisis communication. The National Safety Council (NSC) states that workplace violence is on the rise although unfortunately nearly half of U.S. employers are unprepared to prevent or respond to incidents.

Duty Of Care
As leaders, we have a duty of care—a responsibility to safeguard our employees and visitors. When safety measures are lacking in places of business, lives are at risk. When tragedies occur, conversations follow about increasing training, improving communication, investing in holistic safety solutions and ensuring that we are doing everything we can to protect lives.

Leaders listen to numbers. Businesses will invest in safety when the metrics speak for themselves. Researchers for Liberty Mutual and National Safety Council reported that the top causes of on-the-job injuries cost U.S. employers more than $1 billion per week and work-related injuries and death cost U.S. employers and individuals a whopping $171 billion in 2019. Investing in workplace safety is a concrete action that businesses can take to protect their employees’ lives and avoid the significant costs that come from workplace safety incidents.

Mishaps on the job not only come with a big price tag but can also lead to damaging brand reputation. The cost per medically consulted injury to a worker in 2020 was $44,000, with the death cost listed as $1.3. This figure doesn’t factor in any lawsuits or increased insurance costs. If organizations don’t take steps to avoid workplace accidents and injuries, it can affect both their bottom line and brand reputation.

Business Continuity
Investing in safety is also critical for business continuity. Today’s leaders uniquely understand how quickly business operations can be turned upside down if companies aren’t prepared for disruptions, including acts of violence, severe weather, critical equipment failure and other crisis events.

When it comes to business continuity, corporate reputations and company profitability are both at risk. Investing in safety can help businesses:
• Lower personnel injury costs.
• Prevent property damage.
• Avoid lost or decreased employee productivity.
• Reduce liability exposure.
• Minimize losses from business interruption.
• Mitigate a public relations fallout.

It’s no secret that cyber threats have become an increasingly large concern for businesses. Results of a 2021 study show that 44% of security leaders expected to increase their budgets in 2022, and Gartner analysts estimate that information security spending will reach $172 billion this year. This is a good example of business investment increasing alongside risk. It is expected that investment in workplace safety will follow.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the word “resilient” was frequently utilised to describe the way different businesses persevered in the face of adversity. Globally, people showed the resolve to recover quickly from tough situations.

Executives across the globe are bringing that same level of resilience to their organizations and, taking proactive steps to be prepared for whatever workplace disaster comes next. We have witnessed that when leaders prioritize preparedness practices, crisis communications and safety technology, they show that they’re committed to protecting their best assets and business operations.

There’s no greater ROI than that.