Selling Safety to the Suits

You’re using Safety Talks! these days, so you have a good start on a safety training program. But maybe you need additional safety resources, and upper management isn’t eager to spend money on them.

You’ll have a better chance of persuading the company “suits” if you know how to talk their language.

Getting management to spend company money on safety isn’t easy. Safety departments are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to competing for funds. While safety may be vitally necessary to every company, it doesn’t generate revenue and profits the way other parts of a business do. So it’s hard to build a business case for investing in safety.

But many companies do spend lots of money on safety. In fact, many companies are spending more than ever on safety. What got into the heads of the directors and officers of these companies? Knowing what motivated them to open their wallets may help you press the right buttons with your own directors and officers.

According to one survey, the Top 10 motives are, in order:

    1. To cut workers’ comp costs (59%);
    2. The feeling that investing in safety is the “right thing to do” (51%);
    3. To increase profits (33%);
    4. To comply with federal/state safety rules (31%);
    5. The feeling that the company has had “too many accidents” (29%);
    6. To maintain or improve employee morale (26%);
    7. To maintain or improve productivity (23%);
    8. To avoid OSHA fines (20%);
    9. Responding to the recommendations of outside experts (13%); and
    10. To address employee concerns (5%).

5 Arguments that Worked and 5 that Didn’t

When it comes to getting the company officers to invest in the safety program, which arguments work best and which fall flat?

In a recent survey, safety directors who said they were satisfied with company spending on safety were asked to list the three biggest factors accounting for their company’s willingness to invest in health and safety. The first chart shows the five factors the safety directors cited most often. Equally informative is the second chart which shows the factors they cited least often.

The 5 MOST Persuasive Arguments

    1. The values of top leadership 37%
    2. The need to comply with OSHA 35%
    3. The need to cut injury/illness rates 34%
    4. The emphasis on consistent corporate culture 30%
    5. The importance of keeping good relations with employees 29%

The 5 LEAST Persuasive Arguments

    1. Profitability/earnings 13%
    2. Workers’ comp costs 12%
    3. Community relations 11%
    4. Need to protect brand image/equity 11%
    5. Need to protect quality 8%

Contributed by SafetySmart