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External EH&S Partnerships: 5 Common Concerns Addressed

External EH&S PartnershipsDespite well-defined requirements, procedures, and targets, many organizations still struggle with delivering exceptional EH&S compliance programs. Regardless of best intentions and expectations, the dragging factors of increasing regulatory complexity, hard to maintain skill sets, and operational misalignment continue to plague organizations, resulting in poor EH&S outcomes.

A strong partnership can reposition and drive stronger operational and financial outcomes. While we feel very strongly about the value that external partnerships can bring organizations of all sizes, there are some valid concerns that come up for facilities considering outsourcing. Below are five common concerns when it comes to external EH&S partnerships, and how these concerns can be mitigated to open up the potential to truly drive value through partnerships.

Consultants are expensive.

This is the number one concern we hear when facilities are considering outsourcing EH&S. While outsourcing work can appear to be more expensive on the outside, there are hidden costs to full time employees that aren’t normally considered. These costs can include:

  • 30% direct overhead to cover payroll costs of healthcare, employer insurance, short and long term disability and life insurance, 401k matching contribution, and incentive bonuses.
  • 15% for vacations, sick days, and training.
  • 5-10% for direct management oversight.
  • 20% for indirect overhead of HR, account, and corporate.
  • Additional costs, which will vary depending on the compliance level of the firm, representing money spent on outside project consultants and potential fines that may occur.

We use consultants for project work only.

Many companies are stuck in this mindset, which is unfortunate because we have seen that when incorporating EH&S consultants into the business on a daily basis, the expertise will produce higher quality operational outcomes. This is due to:

  • Adherence to and execution of a rigorous compliance calendar
  • Strong process and ownership
  • Higher level of EH&S knowledge resident or ingrained in the workforce
  • Complete, accurate, and robust documentation and timely regulation submissions
  • A drive toward reductions in incident frequency and magnitude

Use of a third party sends the wrong message.

Many management teams are concerned about being perceived negatively due to outsourcing work; however, it’s time to start thinking about the facts – results matter over process.

  • Partner resources are professional, highly trained, committed, and enthusiastic.
  • A delivery model of having the same operational resources on site regularly addresses the need of having direct control and visibility.
  • There is deep expertise support available to the client, on an as needed basis without having a full time cost.
  • Personnel represent a stable workforce that are the enabler of the EH&S level sought as opposed to a barrier.

Control is lost.

Allowing an outside partner to take over a department can be intimidating at first, but it’s important to realize that EH&S is usually not a core capability of most firms. By giving this responsibility to a set of experts, it will result in better outcomes:

  • The partner firm is accountable to client management in a formal and structured process.
  • The third party partner has the objectivity, independence, perspective, and clarity or singular vision to intervene and make corrections in influencing outcomes.
  • Internal resources will ultimately become complacent in their role by the larger group, be assimilated, and find themselves going with the momentum.
  • Having an EH&S partner provides an external, objective audit while establishing a deep, productive relationship.

We are forced into a singular, one-size-fits-all program.

When choosing a dedicated partner, you will see that this could not be further from the truth. An effective EH&S program delivery will by definition be tailored and modified to:

  • Align with both the current and future state of client operations
  • Provide a flexible response to the workload through the fiscal cycle
  • Deliver different skill sets when needed 

The challenges of delivering world class environmental, health, and safety results continue to increase. While at first it may seem intimidating, a strong EH&S partner can be a terrific solution to ensure real time compliance, cost certainty, and flexibility. To learn more about what opportunities EH&S consulting can open up for your organization, please click the button below.

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