If you work in environment, health and safety (EHS) or risk management, your role in creating a safe, healthy and comfortable work environment goes beyond checking compliance boxes. You’re also motivated by the people your EHS programs are meant to protect.

Employee engagement is a vital component of an EHS program’s success, and engagement starts with EHS managers. EHS managers need to ensure that employees understand protocols, and feel comfortable pointing out issues or making suggestions for improvement. Employees also need to feel valued, and today’s managers are using a people-first approach to ensure EHS policies align with employees’ attitudes and beliefs.

To that end, Antea Group conducted EHS research to uncover employee behaviors and attitudes regarding their tech company’s EHS programs. Below you will find compelling statistics every EHS manager should know, along with tips on how you can use these stats to create a people-first workplace:

1. 45% of employees don’t feel comfortable pointing out potentially unsafe behaviors to either their peers or supervisors.

If your employees are uncomfortable talking about their concerns or taking action, the effectiveness of your program will be limited. One way to encourage open communication is by adding a suggestion box or virtual chat room where employees can anonymously express concerns, issues or ideas for improving EHS. Anonymity allows employees to voice their concerns without fear of judgment. Make sure to read the suggestions and communicate responses. Even if suggestions are not implemented, employees will appreciate being heard.

2. 75% of employees say that feeling personally safe and secure in the workplace is really important to them.

Don’t be shy about promoting your EHS programs and promoting EHS champions. By consistently showing concern for employees’ well-being, you can ensure employees feel valued. Your enthusiasm can also increase the likelihood of employees taking the initiative to contribute to a safer and more secure work environment.

3. 72% of employees were largely unaware of their company’s EHS function.

Educating your employees about what EHS is, how it works and why it’s important is crucial to ensuring the effectiveness of your programs. When employees are in the know, they’re more engaged in the process. Make EHS more visible by launching an EHS Awareness Day. Set up interactive stations around the office that highlight some of the most commonly overlooked EHS issues such as proper ergonomics, stairwell safety, and emergency response.

4. 43% of employees want the ability to give feedback to their EHS team.

While many employees don’t feel comfortable calling out issues or concerns, they still want the ability to do so. Along with the anonymous suggestion box, another great solution is scheduling time to talk with employees on a regular basis. One-on-one engagement shows employees that their thoughts are valued and welcomed.

5. Nearly 50% of employees care about a company’s water and energy conservation efforts, access to recycling, and whether company takes its impact on the environment seriously.

Traditional attitudes on what workers value most in a career and a company are shifting as more millennials enter the workforce. In today’s world, employees want to know they’re making a difference. As a result, workers are becoming more environmentally conscious and expect their companies to be on board, too. EHS and sustainability programs allow companies to show their commitment to the environment, their employees and the greater good—and they can be a great recruiting tool for top talent.

If your EHS and sustainability programs need work, but you don’t have the in-house resources or expertise to get started, partner with an EHS and sustainability consulting firm that has experience in the technology sector.

For more tips on creating a people-first workplace, check out our SlideShare presentation EHS Manager’s Guide: 7 Tactics for a People-First Workplace.

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