Form, features, and functionality: These are three critical factors for evaluating EHS software. Let’s walk through these factors to see how they relate to successful software integration for safety programs.
First up, we have form.
People may not say it, but in real life, most crave mobile applications. Think about it—the idea of walking around with a giant laptop tied to your hip to access essential safety data sheets, log incidents, and perform safety checks sounds a bit silly. But, successful EHS managers know that one of the best ways to get employees to embrace safety is to make their access to data convenient, and mobile can do just that!
Plain and simple: Mobile technology helps companies capture essential data in real-time following a workplace incident or accident. Mobile apps help ensure you’re getting a clear account of what happened while it’s fresh in the minds of those involved, including witnesses. And, mobile applications can provide the workforce with a treasure trove of checklists and safety data sheets to help prevent incidents before they happen.
Next up, we have features.
The key is to focus on features that will meet your needs. Analyze your needs down to their core. Think about how the features a technology system offers are flexible enough to help your organization achieve its goals.
Also, consider user adoption. Let’s say you decide to invest heavily in an enterprise EHS software system. But when you go to roll it out, your workforce is gets lost in the fray because
- there’s too much information to sift through,
- most of the tools aren’t relevant to your company’s needs, and
- it’s just downright tricky to navigate.
What happens in a case like this? Employees begrudgingly use the app, or worse, not at all. So, again, think about the features that are most critical to your needs. And then assess how easy those features are for your users to adopt.
One more thing to consider about features: Regardless of which options you choose, make sure the information provided is quickly accessible from an intuitive dashboard. If you need to know how many days it’s been since the last on the job accident, you need access to that information
- in a couple of clicks of your mouse
- or swipe of your finger
- or at the top of your inbox, even better,
- an alert on your phone.
Finally, we have functionality.
By definition, functionality relates to how well the activity serves its purpose. So, when thinking about the functionality of EHS software, think about how easy it will be to train those who need to use it and for them to perform the actions the software supports.
If your workforce is not very tech-savvy, and to use the software, they’ll need to perform a series of installation steps that sounds like Greek to them; there’s a strong likelihood you’ll lose them at “Hello, we need you to install this.”
To avoid stumbling blocks like this, ask what the EHS software vendor’s approach is to implementation. For instance:
- Will they supply you with training materials?
- How can those training materials be accessed?
- Do those methods of accessibility work well for your workforce?
- Does the vendor offer onsite services?
- Are they available for real-time chats?
- Do they offer customizable tools and content that can be adapted to your team(s)?
- Can they provide materials in other languages, such as Spanish, if needed?
And, when it’s time for rollout …
Get familiar with an EHS software vendor’s standard practices before you’re ready to roll out your platform. Ensure they’ve got the best practice information, videos, tools, and activities that can help ensure a smooth introduction of the technology to the workforce.
From there, recognize that you should be in the driver’s seat about training your workforce. Consider these questions:
- How likely will your workforce embrace your training assets, given their comfort with technology? Consider doing pre-roll out polls to determine your workforce’s comfort level with engaging in training in the various formats you’re thinking about using.
- How could you adapt the training assets to personalize the content to suits each segment of your workforce?
- Are there different groups of users within the organization who may need different types of training? Who are they? And how should that training differ?
A solid software vendor can help you work through questions like these to customize rollout to improve your likelihood of success. The last thing any organization wants is a vendor that sets up the logins, wishes you good luck, and just prays it works out for you.
Putting it all together: Form, Features, and Function
In the end, take evaluating the form, features, and functionality of EHS software in stride. Keep your eye on the prize: If the software and the training improve outcomes for your employees, you can reach your goals!
Take it from us. We’ve helped 10,000 customers resolve 300,000 compliance issues a year and successfully train 8 million employees. If you would like help determining the optimal form, features, and functionality for your company, we’d be happy to help!