Think twice before buying a “Health & Safety System”?
November 19, 2013
In the world of compliance, accountants got there first because they needed to make sure a business was actually making money. Second were the engineers, who had to make sure a business construction wasn’t going to fall down a year later. Bringing up the rear was the Occupational Health & Safety Manager who had to wait until halfway through the 20th century before businesses realized that not killing people was also good for profit. (Although, as any OHS Manager will tell you, the battle to convince businesses of this still goes on today).
Compliance is now everywhere - point to any aspect of business today and tell me it’s not about risk management. The omnipresence of risk and compliance means that systems to manage it have to be omnipresent too. If any system sits being jealously guarded by a few specialists, then it’s not going to make any difference to the organization at all.
Show me the money
At High Profile Solutions, we often see little islands of concerned compliance specialists desperately trying to get the attention of the ‘money men’ in their organization. It may be an Environmental team who needs to deal with the local environment watchdog more efficiently, so they need a ‘system’. It may be the Quality team who need to show the external auditors that product processes are up to scratch – so they want a ‘system’. Or it maybe the poor old OHS manager who needs to prove that near misses are far more numerous than everyone thinks…so they need a ‘system’.
Now put yourself in the shoes of those poor money men. That’s already 3 ‘systems’ they’ve got to find money for, and the requests have only just started!
United we stand, divided we fall
Specialists are tribal and they all have their own history, culture and especially terminology. In business, this often means their own teams, departments, budgets, KPIs and yes… systems. But, newsflash! – that’s not how your organization is viewed by your directors, trustees, shareholders.
They see a connected world where a single poor training provider may result in employees who don’t calibrate a machine properly, which then malfunctions and injures a member of the public, who then tweets their experience, which then makes the news, which then results in a bunch of journalists and local authority inspectors banging on the door of the directors, trustees or shareholders.
Now, which tribe was responsible for that again?
Measure twice, cut once
If you are in the market for a ‘system’ to solve your risk and compliance needs, some advice:
Look beyond your tribe – does your proposal unite the organization?
Put yourself in the accountant’s shoes – does your proposal deliver a broad return?
Think about your major stakeholders – does your proposal contribute to a truly comprehensive view of risk and compliance?
Buying any IT system that does just one thing well and nothing else can sometimes work - but rarely is that the case in today’s connected world of risk and compliance.
A single IT solution doesn’t have to be big or expensive or do everything. But it does have to fit logically into that complicated organizational ecosystem that your accountants, directors and shareholders are looking at.
Before you purchase that ‘Health & Safety System’ just make sure you are really thinking about the bigger picture and not just your own in-tray. You’ve probably got more in common with all those other compliance tribes than you realize and together your ‘system proposal’ will be far more irresistible to those obstructive money men!