It’s a real honour to be selected by Prime View as a business leader making a difference in 2022. The reality is there are thousands of business leaders out there making a difference every day who are highly motivated to do inspiring things in their community or society, so I am proud to be asked to share some of my insights.
The Safe365 story has been driven by wanting to make a difference. Internationally the data on the level of workplace safety and associated harm is quite staggering. We could see that results weren’t improving, mostly because standard approaches weren’t changing either. The Safe365 journey has been about wanting to disrupt the norm and reset expectations on what great safety could look like using technology as an enabler and removing barriers to creating safer workplaces around the world.
This philosophy is very much engrained in the Safe365 vision and values. Everyone in the team is passionate about making a significant social impact in the community through reducing harm in the workplace. Better decisions on workplace safety culture and performance can only be made with better insights. The road to improvement starts with those insights about what the key strengths and weaknesses are and what needs to be done to improve outcomes.
Safe365 is essentially a safety ecosystem for businesses, allowing them to have everything at their fingertips with resources to improve their safety using mobile friendly technology. The insights generated on health and safety performance and the ability for businesses to benchmark themselves over time, and compare themselves at a sector and a country level is a key driver to propel positive change.
Transparency, engagement, assurance and governance need to be woven into everything relating to safety and risk management if it is to be successful.
As a team we fundamentally understood that one of the key barriers to creating safe workplaces was poor information flows and engagement between employers, employees, contractors and community. Core to our proposition was to create a seamless, intuitive experience for all workplace participants so we could increase engagement and awareness, making everyone part of the solution and not the problem.
While it is incredibly gratifying to win three international awards in the last 12 months, judged by some of the leading safety, risk and tech experts on the planet, the most gratifying aspect for us is hearing from our clients globally that we are making a difference to their safety performance.
Our number one goal is to have more workers return home safely every day, but to do that, businesses often need to change some deep seated behaviours and create a culture where safety becomes part and parcel of their everyday organisational performance.
After only six years in operation, we are fortunate to have thousands of clients across every sector of the economy in 40+ countries. Our clients are part of our family, they have become our biggest champions and sales channel, actively promoting Safe365 into their networks.
Our client list ranges from Amazon right through to small sporting organisations with 2-3 people. I am extremely proud of the work we with do with charities, giving them our product at cost price as well as our efforts amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, in making our product available free to organisations during a really tough time. This was an easy decision for our team and while we all had to work our butts off to make this happen it was the right thing to do at the time and truly aligned to our values.
A key philosophy for our business and a strong mantra is ‘outside-in thinking’. Putting the customer at the forefront of everything we do is critical to our business success. I’m proud to say there is nothing built in Safe365 that hasn’t come from our customers. That’s because we are in the business of solving their problems, not ours.
Personally I think it is incredibly conceited to think you know what’s good for the market. Our approach is guided by one of my favourite sayings ‘feedback is the lifeblood of champions’. This applies to our clients and staff, the need to have open conversations about what is working, what is not and what needs to be done differently. Having an agile mindset is critical along with an environment where everyone feels they can contribute. We give everyone the license to provide feedback.
However, it has not always been plain sailing. Creating change always has its detractors. Being extremely disruptive means changing the paradigm. In entering the market our biggest resistance came from existing safety professionals worried that we were going to ‘cut their lunch’. However, once they understood that they could bundle our offering into theirs to help them grow their own business while improving safety outcomes for their clients, their position changed. We now have premium partners across multiple countries.
Creating and having the right team, with the right values is critical. We have been very conscious of getting the right skills and expertise in the business. People who know their stuff in the disciplines they excel in. They also need to be passionate about safety and the difference we can make at a societal level and take pride in what they are doing, with loads of drive, energy, tenacity and resilience. They all have these attributes in spades to the point that several are now shareholders in the business, investing their own money to join the journey on another level. They are also having fun with purpose, critical to business success!
Some parting observations: I personally think of business as a team game. If you treat your business like a sports team things will happen. You need a vision for what outcome you are trying to achieve, you need the right players with the right skills, attitude and behaviours aligned to the vision. You have to love your players as both professionals and human beings and respect diversity on all levels. Take the BS out of the environment and enforce a ‘no poor-behaviour’ mantra as it can destroy your culture in a heartbeat. At all times remain yourself and let others be themselves, let them breathe and grow. Authenticity is critical, your team and customers can smell inauthenticity at 100 metres.
By all means be aware of your competition but don’t be obsessed with them. Instead become obsessed with your own game and the market you serve. Iron out your weaknesses, adapt, change and learn. Really get to understand the underlying problem and the solutions that address it. Learn from things that don’t go well – ‘it is only a failure when you don’t learn from it and adapt’. Surround yourself with people who are better than you, remain agile, pivot in need and always listen, listen, listen to your customers. You can’t be world class with a closed mind.
There will always be challenges in business so confront them. They only become a problem when you don’t address them and find a solution.
I am excited about 2022 as it will see a return to normal, albeit a new normal. Covid-19 has left an indelible footprint. People are more digitally aware and tech savvy, having been forced to engage, communicate and survive using technology. Great for SaaS businesses like Safe365.
Boards, executive teams and businesses have a greater awareness and appreciation of safety, health and well-being. The latter will have even greater importance especially as businesses adapt and accept flexible workplaces, people working remotely and the impact this has on developing safe and endearing cultures and workplaces at home and at work. 2022 promises to be an exciting year for change.