Risk Insider: Monica Manske

Now Is the Time to Effectively Partner with Leadership for Safety Initiatives

By: | July 17, 2018

Monica Manske is the Senior Strategic Consultant — Risk Control at PMA Companies | Old Republic Insurance Group. Manske is former senior manager of workers’ compensation and employee safety for Rochester Regional Health, which won a 2017 Teddy Award under Manske's leadership. Manske is active in workers’ compensation advocacy. She can be reached at [email protected]

You, as the risk or safety manager, identified a way to enhance the safety of your organization, reduce risk, or even eliminate potential harm. The solution will require a financial investment and possibly ongoing budgetary support. But an obvious solution to you may not be as easy a sell to your CFO or C-suite.

How do you get buy-in for your program? Is it a program? Or is it an initiative? Planning in the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle may be detailed and time intensive, but putting the time in early will save time, energy and frustration later on.

One of my “Aha!” moments was when my executive asked me, “How do you define success?”  Define it, be very specific.

Defining your program and what you wish to achieve is your first step. Outlining the specifics of the program reduces the likelihood of scope creep. For example: Implementing a slip resistant safety shoe program which will reduce your workplace slip and fall events.

Benchmarking other organizations will expose you to the options within the program and the anticipated return on investment. Is there a best practice?

One of my “Aha!” moments was when my executive asked me, “How do you define success?” Define it, be very specific.

Review the big-picture organizational impact. Plan for the unexpected. Consider all of the angles.

  • What is the timeline for implementation?
  • Will there be training needs or a policy?
  • Will your program cause additional work for other departments?
  • What will the communication needs be and with what frequency?
  • Who are your stakeholders?
  • If there is an impact on front-line staff, engage them and their leaders while developing your plan.
  • Do we need a trial?
  • How will the program be administered on an ongoing basis?
  • What role or job is responsible for the administration?

In planning your PDCA — Check, what is your check?  When and is there a schedule?  What measurements are you going to review at the check?

Partnering with executive leadership truly is a collaboration. I recommend engaging senior leadership early in the idea stage. This could be the executive that has oversight of the area that may be impacted, or it may be the entire executive leadership team.

Float the idea and what you are attempting to resolve first, gauge their interest in it being explored. This brings the executive leader in as part of the process and there are no surprises. Once you have done your homework and developed your proposal, then bring it back to the executives for review.

Know as you enter into this venture that timing is important, as there may be competing organizational priorities.  Within this process, you will have engaged front-line staff, their leaders, the executive leader who has oversight and possibly the executive committee.  Through this engagement, many of the outstanding questions may be answered which will facilitate your formal proposal.

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