Making the Business Case for EHS
Survey THE Results
The “Making the Business Case forBUSINESSEHS”surveysponsoredbySphera® was launched in July 2018, eventually gathering the insight of 482 Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) professionals.
The importance of EHS can never beEHSassumedortakenforgranted—it must be clearly and consistently demonstrated to be a business asset in order to be successful. With this survey, our aim was not only to learn how this business case for EHS is being built in the real world today, but also to help you think about this issue with a fresh perspective and perhaps allow you to strengthen your own efforts toward ensuring that EHS is a valued part of your company.
What does it mean to make a business case?theInshort,valueitimpliesofoutlining the bottom-line value proposition of EHS to business leaders. How does your EHS department provide justification for your company’s continued and incremental EHS investments?Environment,Whoarethekeystakeholders who must stay informed on EHS performance? Is your organizationalHealth,culturedrivingandnotonly safety goals but also business goals?
These are the important questions we hope to Safetyanswer. We would like to extend our thanks to all of the professionals who chose to participate in the survey, and also a big thank you to you for your interest in making your workplaces safer for everyone.
Now, let’s turn the page and find out what our respondents had to say about making the EHS business case.
—Sphera and the EHS Daily Advisor Research Team
Note: All percentages in the following results section have been rounded to the nearest whole percentage. In some questions, respondents could choose multiple answers. Detailed raw data from the survey’s questions are available in the “Complete Survey Data Tables” section of the report beginning on p. 17.
Grading the Company on Current Efforts
First things first—we asked our survey participants how they would grade their EHS teams’ abilities and efforts to successfully demonstrate return on investment (ROI) to make the business case for EHS at their organizations. Here is how they responded:
Business Case Categories to Consider
There are many business factors toSafetyconsider(eitherBasedpertaining-Behaviorto actual incidents or to monitor as risks) when updating senior management on EHS initiatives within the organization.
Here are the most commonly considered business case categories among our survey respondents:
Budgets and Decision-makers
We next asked participants to indicate their real or expected annual budgets for EHS operations (not including EHS staff salaries). This budget would cover money set aside for training, personal protective equipment (PPE) purchases, other equipment, computer software/hardware, and/or implementing new EHS initiatives or programs.
Making the Appeal
When making a business case value proposition for continued EHS investments, the professionals we polled believe in and appeal for many different safety and environmental initiatives and programs. Here are their most valued EHS priorities when making a business case:
Metrics and Cost-Benefit Analysis
Metrics are a big part of documenting and providing evidence for the business value of EHS. While 8% of participants did not track any metrics to demonstrate ROI, the vast majority did—here are the top 10 metrics respondents consider to be key health and safety performance indicators with a clear connection to the business goals of their organizations.
When it came to cost-benefit analyses of EHS tools, programs, and initiatives for submission to senior executives, 35% of participants perform no such analyses. However, 22% of those polled perform a cost-benefit analysis quarterly and 20% calculate these numbers annually.
EHS Initiatives That Pay Off
We next asked our response pool, “Beyond basic compliance, a strong safety operation and a responsible environmental record, what are the top three next-level benefits you observe from a well-oiled EHS department?”
Here are the top 3 next-level benefits selected by participants:
Respondents also believed a variety of EHS initiatives would benefit both their organizations’ EHS program and their companies’ overall business goals. Here are the most popular initiatives among survey participants:
Looking for Efficiencies
Of course, finding efficiencies is key to achieving business goals. Here are the top 10 areas where survey respondents are looking for efficiencies in order to manage their EHS functions effectively and efficiently.
- Risk Assessment (49%)
- Knowledge-sharing (46%)
- Data collection accuracy and consistency (42%)
- Incident management (38%)
- Accountability and task management (37%)
- Audits (35%)
- Internal reporting (i.e., moving to paperless) (34%)
- A tie between Compliance reporting and Investigation (both 33%)
- Chemical inventory (21%)
- Permit management (20%)
Where Is Investment Greatest?
We next asked respondents where they saw the most investments among EHS domains. Safety management was viewed as the arena most invested in when it came to EHS, but a wide variety of functions are seeing invest-ment from participants’ organizations.
Improving EHS for the Business
Our final survey question was an open-ended one: “If you had to just choose one action for your EHS team to take right now to improve the performance of your business, what would it be and why?”
Over 300 participants shared their thoughts, and here are a few of their select responses—a common theme among many was better training, more communication, proper use of technology and increased engagement in safety and environmental programs among both management and employees.
The 482 participants in the “Making the Business Case for EHS” survey come from a wide variety of job positions, industries and company sizes.
51% of respondents characterized their job title as “Safety or EHS manager.” Some of the other roles represented included:
- Safety or EHS director or executive (13%)
- Staff-level employee (12%)
- HR or other manager (5%)
- Operations manager (4%)
- Front-line supervisor (4%)
Company size was a particularly diverse demographic in our survey. Here are the rep- resented organizational sizes by number of employees:
- 5,000+ employees: 14%
- 1,000–4,999 employees: 14%
- 500–999 employees: 12%
- 250–499 employees: 14%
- 100–249 employees: 20%
- 50–99 employees: 10%
- 1–49 employees: 16%
Here are the top 5 industries represented by our response pool:
- Manufacturing (36%)
- Construction (12%)
- Other (10%)
- Government or public administration (6%)
- Consultant (5%)
For the 10% of participants who indicated their industry as “Other,” here are just a few of the industries that they specified:
- Hazardous waste management
- Industrial cleaning
Complete Survey Data Tables
On the following pages you will find all of the raw data that resulted from each question asked in the “Making the Business Case for EHS” survey. All percentages in these tables have been rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent, and specific “Other” responses have not been included due to space constraints.
EHS Daily Advisor surveys are designed by our in-house team of EHS experts. Once survey questions and distractors are determined and tested, the survey is ported to the SurveyMonkey® platform. Our survey population base is the 200,000 or so customers of our parent company, BLR®. Customers are notified of the survey through emails. They then click a link to take them to the survey. Surveys typically stay open for three weeks to one month, although data show that most responses are received within a few days of the announcement of the availability of the survey. Surveys may stay open longer than normal for further data collection. Analysis is usually straightforward, reporting on responses and percentages of those responses rounded off to the nearest tenth of a percent. We strive to present data in clear, easy-to-understand charts and tables. With open-ended questions, we mention the most frequently encountered entries, using our judgment as to which responses may be grouped together.