For those of you in the business world, especially in a marketing role, I’m sure you are well aware that to be successful, you need to have clients, and to have clients, they need to know about your business; what you do and how you can benefit them.
This is achieved through marketing.
Marketing is a very successful tool so long as a proper marketing plan is created. A Marketing plan involves many components, such as Research, Target Marketing Identification, Market Positioning, Competition Analysis, Marketing Strategy, Budget, and Metrics. Does this sound familiar?
Is it possible that developing, implementing, and maintaining a good safety culture in the workplace is very similar to creating a successful marketing plan? The answer is an overwhelming YES!
Let’s break the elements of a marketing plan down a bit further so that we all understand the essential elements.
Research — It is critical to identify what our clients are looking for, what trends we need to consider, and the size of the industry we intend to target.
Target Market Identification — We need to identify those that are most likely to buy our products or services, or perhaps those that are in the greatest need – and how this was determined.
Market Positioning — We need to determine how we want our customers, the target market, to see us. This involves things like branding and messages about how we want to be perceived.
Competition Analysis — Understanding who our competition is and what makes us better than or equal to them is important. Obviously, we want to be better, but realistically that won’t always happen.
Marketing Strategy — We must determine how we will attract clients and how we will communicate our messages to them.
Budget — Determining how much money will be allotted towards the marketing plan.
Metrics — Measuring the current marketing initiatives’ success determines if they are, where they need to be or if they need to be changed or improved.
Now that you have a basic understanding of a marketing plan, can you see how a successful workplace safety culture is closely related? Let’s take the components of a marketing plan shown above and explore how they are related.
This is where you need to understand the hazards that are associated with the industry you are in. You can research guidelines and accident statistics for the target industry, talk to workers throughout the workplace to get their input on what is working and what needs to be improved. Doing these things will help determine the direction that needs to be taken.
Target Market Identification
Here you need to identify the workplace positions and the hazards associated with each position. Where you identify positions with more significant potential for injury due to the associated hazards, they should become the first market to target. This can be achieved through talking to not only workers but their supervisors and managers. These workplace parties can often provide valuable information on who needs what.
This is where you need to determine how we want workers to view the business’s standpoint on health and safety in the workplace. How are we going to promote safety? Does the business’s leadership believe in having a good safety culture? If not, the chances of others willing to commit to it will significantly decrease.
What are other companies in a similar line of work doing to keep their workers safe and achieve a successful safety culture, and can we apply similar practices in our workplace? What incentives can be offered to workers who will encourage them to work safely and perhaps put us above the competition?
More and more organizations that tender work out in today’s economy are looking for vendors with a proven safety culture. Often, this is a requirement of tenders; and documents reflecting your business’s safety culture must be submitted as proof. This is further encouragement to ensure that you have a thriving safety culture; many other organizations in the same industry as you already are. You don’t want to be out-bid.
How are you going to garner the buy-in of workers for what you are trying to achieve? This would involve developing policies and procedures (required by law), creating posters, having reward programs, or holding safety meetings with all staff. Still, these are only a few examples of what could be done.
This is also where leadership comes into play. If we set the example to be followed at the business’s highest authority level, we are more likely to have workers follow suit. Leading by example is one of the most essential elements to creating a safety culture.
Is the company willing to invest in the safety culture? This involves not only monetary contributions but contributions in time spent (which is also money.) Examples of this would be spending money on the marketing strategy examples above and investing in your workers through training them properly.
Metrics are critical as they will determine how effective your investment towards the safety culture is. Just like any marketing plan, they are fluid. Times change, which means that methods may need to change. Sometimes, hazard controls can create other hazards. At this stage, we can determine what is working by reviewing accident statistics, employee knowledge and adherence, employee commitment, and many others; the list of metrics is limited to what you are willing to consider.
As you can see, marketing plans and safety culture are very different, but the logic behind both is very similar. Marketing drives the success of a business but so does the safety culture. Consistent attention to Health & Safety in the workplace is one of many actions that an organization can take to improve its performance and profitability.
Ultimately, we all want a safe workplace; however, the journey towards a safe workplace can be challenging. If we can structure the journey towards a safe workplace and identify the steps that need to be taken, similar to creating a marketing plan, we have now created a roadmap that we can use to ensure our journey is successful.
Consultant with Industrial Safety Trainers