End of the Year Housekeeping

It’s the end of the year, and it’s time to do some housekeeping. How do you look back and assess your company’s performance? How do you evaluate your safety department and personnel? What you do to close the year will help set the table for the next year and beyond.   

Most companies’ safety key performance indicators begin with leading and lagging indicators. The car analogy best explains the differences between leading and lagging indicators. When driving a car, you spend most of your time looking through the windshield (leading indicators) and less time looking through the rearview mirror (lagging indicators). You need a combination of both to make it down the road safely. There are no set-in-stone rules for the ratio of leading to lagging indicators or what information you should be tracking. Every company is different, and the challenge is identifying which indicators you should use to align your safety program with your organization’s goals. 

Every company sets goals at the beginning of each year and reflects on them as the year ends to see where they stand in relation to meeting those goals. Primarily those goals are targeted toward the financial growth of the company. A company with a strong safety culture will also set its own safety goals. You may say to yourself that setting a goal is easy and that you do it all the time; however, you have probably done it wrong. Here are the five (5) elements to set a good goal, also known as the SMART goal. 

  1. Write specific goals. The more focused your goal is, the more you will find yourself motivated to accomplish it.
  2. Goals should be measurable. As you write your goal, you must ensure that it has built-in markers for what it would mean to achieve it. You should be able to break the goal down into specific milestones to track your progress.
  3. Make your goals actionable. Use action verbs to help ensure that your goals define what you will do. This type of goal will prompt you into action. 
  4. Risky goals are better than playing it safe. This means making goals that will stretch and challenge you and your company. If you set goals you know you can achieve, you aren’t forcing yourself to rise to the challenge.
  5. Smart goals must be timebound. The most successful goals are those with a sense of urgency. You need to time-key your goals with a deadline, frequency, or time trigger.    

Are there areas to improve on? Identifying the company’s weaknesses and looking for ways to improve on those weaknesses should be a focus at the end of the year. Are there programs that are missing that could be purchased or introduced? Some typical areas a company could continually improve are; training, subcontractor management, internal project management, and meetings. When it comes to training, it’s finding ways to make it more meaningful and relevant. Finding ways to make training stick and not just be something done to check a box. Subcontractor management is key to reducing overall risk on a project. Finding a way for your company to elevate its subcontractors’ performance will result in a win-win situation for all. No one likes to feel like they waste time. Time is such a precious commodity. Everyone has had those meetings that should’ve been an email; however, getting face time is essential. We have learned how to use virtual conference technology best, and sometimes a quick video meeting will suffice. There are other times when a good old-fashioned in-person meeting is required. No matter what type, making the most of your time and getting things accomplished in the meeting is key to a successful one.  

There is no right or wrong way to close out the year. If you don’t have a process set, this is an excellent year to start. Remember, each company is different, and what works for one company may not be what is needed for another.  

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