More than one environment, health, and safety (EHS) manager – when frustrated about their tech companies' wavering focus on EHS – have warned executives that they might go to jail for insufficient attention to regulations. This “stick” approach may be needed on occasion, but today the strategic and creative “carrot” approaches to garnering full-company commitment to safe and responsible behaviors are winning out.
This is the conclusion of the breakout session “Articulating the Value of EHS to Executives” at the EHSxTech Workshop last month in Maidenhead, England (hosted by Adobe). My colleague Paul Durkee, Antea Group senior consultant and president/CEO of Inogen Environmental Alliance facilitated the discussion as I captured the experiences and recommendations expressed by EHS and sustainability managers working at several of the world's largest tech companies.
Which carrots and/or sticks best achieve executive buy-in to EHS programs
This was the participants' answer to the question, “What do you want to get out of the session?” As one participant expressed, “When I get face time with executives, I need to know what would 'hit them hard' enough to buy in to EHS. In the EU, we can use legal compliance as a driver, but we want to go beyond regulations to create a productive and comfortable workplace and initiate industry-leading programs such as employee wellness. Some executives don't think that 'Health and Safety' is important in a non-manufacturing environment, such as offices.”
Click on the image below to start a slideshow of my favorite seven suggestions made by the participants on the most effective ways to get execs on board with the importance of EHS:
These seven creative approaches shift executives from “Hey, we've got no money for EHS” and “But it's worked for 30 years without a product safety program” to approving EHS and Employee-Wellness Programs yielding business continuity, brand protection, and the increase in productivity that comes from happy and healthy employees.
Share your favorite strategies, either carrots or sticks, in the comments section below.