Uncover the Metrics-Based Approach that Delivers ROI

Article by Claire Halliday and Dr Graeme Wright

Even though most forward-thinking companies recognise the impact of employee physical and mental wellbeing on organisational performance, most are yet to adopt evidence-based, metrics-driven practices. Without metrics to measure status and monitor progress, employee health and safety efforts, including the psychological status of the workforce, will always amount to guesswork.

In a post-pandemic world where the future of work puts wellbeing at the forefront, it is not enough to simply offer workplace flexibility and massages in the lunchroom. Executives are starting to realise if you want meaningful change, a company needs to commit to solving its problem using metrics that accurately identify employee stressors and the impact they have in the workplace.

Over the last few years, Optimum has been working with national mining, engineering and mining services groups who wanted to focus on human risk. These organisations knew they had problems with the general health and wellbeing of their workforce but weren’t sure how to tackle it. Using our metrics and scientific methodologies we were able to quantify the risks present. More importantly we could identify the root cause of these risks and build a series of programs, interventions, and education resources to help improve the situation at individual and organisational level.

The key here was to select the right metrics. A considerable number of metrics purport to offer insights into our working environment by measuring outcomes or lagging indicators. Whilst these offer some insight, they have the potential to present a story from months ago and not what is taking place in real-time. Yes, outcome-based metrics indicate there is a problem, but little else in terms of what you can do about the problem. On the other hand, metrics that measure process or leading indicators of risk, tell you where to focus and intervene to bring about change.

In the case of our mining and engineering groups, the root cause and the correlation matrix of risk factors meant we were able to satisfy the needs of their executive team by identifying the organisations’ specific challenges prior to implementing any programs. We worked with one group where we could pinpoint the actual hot spots in their human risk profile and activate programs to mitigate the exact risks that were emerging. The guesswork that is required when only working with outcome metrics had been removed.

With evidence that the interventions would be effective and therefore positively impact the bottom line, leaders had the scientific validation they needed. Our process metrics approach demonstrated a clear ROI. It identified specifically how to reduce their level of risk and improve performance. They could also effectively link the implementation of our programs to their organisations’ strategy of continuous workplace improvement. To gain the most out of a metrics-based approach, it is critical to use the right performance metrics.  A great result when we truly measure what we treasure.

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