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Investing in an EHS information management system? Don’t forget to engage your people! 

Jane Mitchell

Investment in EHS information management systems is becoming a welcome priority for many global organisations as they recognise the huge benefits of having access to robust, company-wide, real time information about health, safety and environmental performance.

One prize is the ability to make much more informed decisions about EHS improvements, based on a clear understanding of the incidents and near misses going on across the whole organisation. However, that prize relies on everyone playing their part by being the eyes and ears of EHS and entering accurate, real time data about the incidents and potential incidents they see going on.

While IT integration teams recognise the need to engage users in new systems, the focus is often on sheep-dipping people through technical user training, so they know which buttons to press and menus to use.

But knowing how to use a system is only of help if users choose to use the system, and that is where the real engagement challenge lies. Ensuring employees are motivated to play their part requires an engagement approach that focuses on the why and the what of the system, not just the how. An approach that makes an emotional connection for people, so they choose to adopt the new technology to help improve health and safety for themselves and their colleagues.

It seems obvious that the information which comes out of your EHS management system is only as good as the information that goes into it, so why is it that the effective engagement of people to use the system is often forgotten or paid last minute lip service to? Our advice is always to build your engagement plan in from the start of planning your IT solution. Putting the user front and centre of the implementation programme and ensuring the why, what and the how are given equal air time.

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