When you think about risk management and your business, what comes to mind? Your finances? Your building and equipment? Your insurance policy?
These things are all important but managing your organizational risk is about more than protecting your money and stuff. It’s also about managing your operations and people.
Fighting the fear factor
We’ve all seen those scary insurance commercials featuring burglars, car crashes, and destroyed buildings. If you’re a business owner, you’ve likely invested in a protecting your company from such events, but your insurance policy can only do so much. In order for your business to run as smoothly and risk-free as possible, you’ll need to think well beyond break-ins, vehicles, and natural disasters.
There are all kinds of things that can wreak havoc on your business, and most of them aren’t nearly as spectacular, or unlikely, as a tornado. The key is to break away from the standard scenarios and take a look at your risk from a big picture lens.
When it comes to risk assessment and reduction, there are two key areas that may be getting overlooked
1.) Employee wellbeing
If you think employee health is only a personal issue, you’re overlooking one very important fact: Unhealthy employees make for an unhealthy business.
It’s easy to think about the cost of absenteeism in terms of sick days, but the hidden costs of presenteeism are harder to measure. Because of this, employers may gloss over the issue or fail to recognize the full impact it’s having on the business.
A study by Global Corporate Challenge revealed employees reported being absent from work an average of 4 days per year. But get this: They also admitted to being unproductive on the job for an average of 57.5 days per year. What???? That’s the equivalent of your entire staff working at 75% capacity at all times. Ouch.
But there is hope. The research also showed that presenteeism has an advantage over absenteeism when it comes to finding ways to address it.
Employees who participated in a comprehensive health program saw improvements in sleep, stress levels, and overall happiness. Workers who participated in the program were shown to be happier, more relaxed, and yes – more productive at work. These employees (and employers) gained back the equivalent of ten days of lost time.
Building a healthy workplace means buying into a healthy culture and taking care of your employees. Some quick ways to do that include:
- Valuing your employees as people first
- Offering flexible schedules and paid time off
- Managing workloads appropriately
- Providing market value wages and compensation
- Investing in ergonomic office equipment
- Encouraging healthy behaviors with gym memberships, fitness classes, etc.
- Participating in community giving and other charitable activities
- Giving employees access to help and support through Employee Assistance Programs, financial education, and employee benefits
While these things may not automatically jump to mind when you think about risk management, committing to a healthy workplace can be a huge factor in helping you maintain a healthy bottom line.
2.) Workplace safety
OSHA says you must provide a safe working environment for your employees. And you’ve likely done some work to make sure those boxes are checked. But when’s the last time you conducted a safety audit? Or asked your employees about what kinds of potential hazards or unsafe practices they see happening around them?
It could be something as simple as adhering that file cabinet to the wall or taping down a loose power cord. Or, it could be something that’s been baked into your organization over time: A pace of work that is unsustainable, hours or schedules that lead to an exhausted, mistake-prone staff, or turning a blind eye to unsafe procedures.
If you haven’t built a culture of safety in your company, here are a few ways to start making it happen:
- Keep your workplace and equipment clean, functional, and clutter free
- Create an environment that welcomes safety communication and incident reporting
- Form a safety committee dedicated to identifying and fixing potential issues
- Conduct relevant, up to date, and interactive safety trainings for your team
- Reward your team for safe behaviors and hold people accountable for unsafe conduct
- Don’t just talk about safety. Invest in the equipment, processes, and measures you need to put in place to keep employees safe
Providing a safe work place doesn’t mean slapping up an OSHA poster and calling it good.
Really committing to safety will not only reduce the chance of loss due to workplace injuries, accidents, fines, and lawsuits. It will also show your employees that you care. And that can go a long way toward building a better business.
Is your benefits broker also a compliance consultant? What about a trusted business partner? Are you confident your policies and processes are doing what they need to ensure that your company—and your employees— are healthy and productive?
Photo by Roman Samborskyi