If your company or organization has to deal with the Environmental, Health and Safety (EHC) compliance, you may dread the process. That makes a lot of sense. Most executives do not believe their businesses fully understand the impact social and environmental regulations have on them. At least 65% say they have not quantified that impact. This is despite the fact that at least 75% recognize that EHS compliance and a commitment to sustainability is good for their business image with shareholders. Most CEOs and C-level executives are not active members of the company’s EHS compliance management team. Under 30% of these executives make this an important part of their day-to-day work. Here are some ways you can make the most of any EHS audit.
- See this as an opportunity, not a threat. If you manage any kind of organization, you have probably heard the acronym “SWOT.” It stands for “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.” Organizations use these analyses to improve their operations and become better. It is only through an honest assessment of each that the organization can grow and improve. If you are involved in your company’s EHS compliance management, try to look at your EHS audit in the same way. This is not a thing to suffer through and just white knuckle it and hope the auditors do not find your flaws. This should give you an opportunity to see where you can do better.
- Put up accurate information. You want to look good in your EHS audit. That is understandable. If you do anything to spin your data to look more favorable to you, you do yourself a huge disservice. Not only do you not get the benefit of the real analysis of your data and the chance to see how you are actually doing with your compliance but you look really, really bad. When the truth comes out, and it often does, you will hurt your image with everyone who matters. Look at politics. They often say lying about a scandal is worse than the scandal itself. Having a less than great EHS audit may be painful but dealing with it honestly will help you in the long (and even short) tun. Your EHS compliance management team needs to be as honest with auditors as possible.
- Try to look at your data objectively. This is hard. This is maybe the hardest thing. It is challenging to be objective when you are talking about something you care about and total objectivity may be impossible. It is important that you try to look at the results you get from your EHS compliance software and other internal audits and be as objective as you can. Only then can you really evaluate your EHS compliance system. Your EHS compliance management team needs to be objective as they evaluate your results as well.
- Only look at empirical data. Subjective speculation is not helpful to your EHS compliance management team. You need to have real numbers. What is your carbon dioxide output? This is an example of a piece of real, concrete data. There is no question. It is verifiable. You do not have to release everything to the public but you should have the results from your EHS software for your shareholders and other people who are important to your business.
- Make the goals you set for yourself be realistic. Here is another acronym for you: SMART. That stands for “specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.” This is a good way to look at your EHS compliance management goals. If you set goals that are just too much for you or your staff to attain, you will fail. This is just a fact. If you want to do well, be SMART about it. You will also hurt morale if you set unrealistic goals and fail, it will do a lot of damage to the way your staff view how they do their jobs.
No company looks forward to any kind of audit. Is the Internal Revenue Service coming by? Who can say they are happy about that? No one. The EHS audit is different though. You want to be in compliance with EHS regulations and this is a good way to do that.