Technology Adoption in the Workplace: Top 3 Myths Debunked
Safety professionals shouldn't shy away from mobile reporting solutions. Quality reporting technology can improve efficiency, productivity, and compliance.
Digital safety solutions have a number of advantages. Implementing one can:
- Streamline accident reports
- Improve data collection
- Allow for greater collaboration
- Ensure compliance
- Encourage behavior in line with best practices
Given these benefits, adopting these solutions should be the obvious choice. Yet, many employers and safety professionals are slow to give up their analog tools and approaches. Some even assume that safety tech will bring more headaches than rewards.
And this hesitance was borne out in a 2021 survey of 301 EHS leaders conducted by Verdantix. The results showed that:
- Only 40% reported that their organization used tech for incident management
- 44% reported using tech solutions for EHS documentation and change management
- A mere 18% fully rolled out mobile EHS solutions across the organization
- And 35% reported a partial rollout of mobile applications
As you can see, the reluctance to use safety technology is still quite common. Unfortunately, it’s often driven by misconceptions rather than facts.
To clear up some of the confusion, let’s look at three of the biggest myths keeping companies from investing in technology to upgrade their safety performance.
Myth #1: Devices Are Too Expensive
EHS professionals cite this as the most common barrier to adopting new technology. And there is, perhaps, a kernel of truth to it. Devices offered by leading brands can be quite pricey and putting one in the hands of each and every worker would put a strain on the corporate budget.
Thankfully, there’s an effective and affordable workaround. It’s called BYOD - or Bring Your Own Device.”
Almost every single worker already owns a smartphone or a tablet. Supplying them with a device is one option, but letting them use their personal devices for work-related tasks is a far more cost-effective alternative. BYOD also eliminates the need to train staff to use a new device, since they’re using hardware they already find familiar and comfortable.
(See Mobile Phones and Tablets: The Next Generation of PPE for a more in-depth discussion)
Myth #2: The Application Will Be Too Expensive
BYOD is a major cost saver, but devices are only one of the expenses when implementing digital solutions. Even with devices already in every employee’s hands or pockets, you still have to factor in the software you’ll be using on them. This in itself can be a considerable expense. Take a look at some digital solutions for any industry, not just safety, and you’ll see corporate packages with prices that would make any CFO raise an eyebrow.
While that might be true of some solutions, some safety software doesn’t come with a hefty price tag - or any price tag at all. There are a number of free mobile apps you can use to replace your paper safety forms.
The leading safety software does come at a cost, but many of the apps and platforms are reasonably priced. The return on investment for safety technology is also quite high, so it practically pays for itself. Not only does it improve safety performance, but it reduces the number of hours spent filling out documentation, communicating information, and managing your organization’s safety program. Mobile solutions can also help your field teams collect, analyze, and make use of nuanced data.
Most businesses see a substantial uptick in productivity when they upgrade to digital tools. For EHS professionals, however, the biggest benefit is elevated compliance. A tarnished safety record is not only an indication of a safety program that isn’t up to snuff, it can also have a tangible impact on the company’s bottom line. Safety software is effective at mitigating risks, resulting in a cleaner safety record and a stronger corporate reputation. That alone makes them a worthwhile investment.
(Learn more in 10 Tips for Managing a Digital EHS Program)
Myth #3: Digital Solutions Are Too Complicated
The belief that many companies lack the infrastructure to support sophisticated mobile solutions is simply false. Top-of-the-line solutions aren't reserved for companies with robust IT departments. Major brands allow businesses of any size to quickly and effortlessly integrate safety solutions with any back-office system. These platforms make it easy to configure and manage mobile forms and workflows, allowing actionable data to be automatically routed between systems, cloud services, and people.
Some companies may also feel that their field workers lack the technical skills needed to complete tasks on mobile platforms. There is another kernel of truth here. There are countless apps, with varying levels of quality and user-friendliness. A poorly designed app will be frustrating at best, unreliable at worst. A well-designed one, on the other hand, will provide every worker with a solution that’s easy and intuitive to use.
Keep in mind, moreover, that every skill gap can be resolved. Workers are trained on the heavy machinery they’re expected to use. They’re trained to use and care for their PPE. They’re guided and mentored through the work process and safe working procedures. Why not train them to use digital safety solutions as well?
Training workers on new safety solutions not only ensures they have the skills required to use it effectively, it also increases buy-in. Workers are less reluctant to use these digital platforms if they understand them, have been walked through them, and had any of their questions answered.
But again, it’s important to remember that leading safety solutions aren’t just paper forms gone mobile; they’re native apps tailored to the user interface of each device. They are intuitive, which means they know what data capture features are best for any given situation. They are context-sensitive, meaning they can be preconfigured to send specific data to specific stakeholders. This saves the field worker the time and mental energy of thinking about where the forms need to go once all the data has been captured.
The creators of these platforms understand how a diverse demographic of users complete their day-to-day tasks. In short, they are designed with empathy.
(Learn about Democratizing Data to Keep Workers Safe)
Adopting Safety Tech Is the Easy Solution
It is surprising that many safety professionals still perceive significant barriers to deploying new technology. While it’s true that some products have their limitations, this should not prevent EHS teams from implementing well-designed safety solutions.
Now that we’ve busted the major myths, all that’s left is to find the right software for your organization. There’s nothing else standing between you and the improved efficiency, productivity, and compliance afforded by digital safety technology.