People, Process, balance.
I've been learning so much about different compliance needs over the last few months. While speaking to EHS managers at a range of companies and at different stages of their careers there is one common challenge that we all seem to face. Structure... how best to manage the EHS domain within structures, processes and systems.
Let's put legal compliance to one side for a second to explore the aspect of structure...
Every business deals with people and all businesses have fundamental operational functions, which both need structure. Because we are creative in different ways, we all have slightly different views on the relationship between systems, process and the role technology should play in empowering processes.
How should we approach these differences and apparent tensions between people, processes and technology, especially where the costs of technology can seem appear to be at odds with the imperatives of cost savings and working within budgets in running EHS management systems?
Excellence and cost saving - the tension
A EHS [Environmental, Health & Safety] Manager’s role is changing beyond the traditional activities of ensuring regulatory compliance and reporting. To quote from a recent Enablon release:
"The EHS Manager’s role is dramatically evolving to encompass more than the traditional activities of ensuring regulatory compliance and reporting on EHS metrics. Industry rules, consumer demands, competition, new technology and changing regulatory environments mean EHS Managers need to be more responsive than ever to external drivers, while moving to a risk-based approach in their EHS programs. Not only that, they are expected to boost a company’s bottom line with best practices to improve operational excellence."
These trends essentially mean that EHS managers are required to do more with less. Empowering systems and technology become a vital enabling force that allows EHS managers to do more with less.
Processes and systems should always lead the way in any kind of risk or regulatory compliance management. In seeking risk and regulatory management excellence, finding systems that work for you and your team in a time-efficient and effective way is the first step. The second step is to find technologies to complement and promote the operation of those process systems. Too much tech and a lack of process is bad for any business. And putting the tech "cart" before the systems and process "horse" is equally amiss. However, if technology correctly supplements and empowers a well designed management system, it can lead to not only better results, but also a lower price point. The tension between risk management excellence and cost saving is resolved in the use of well-chosen technology.
When it comes to the regulatory and legal side of management systems and risk management, legaltech can save your team a lot of time and money.
What is Legaltech?
Legaltech is technology which allows automated efficiency in regulatory monitoring, and assisting users to know simply what regulation applies in which situations. It also enables seemless integration between changing legal risks and operational risks tabled in risk assessments.
EHS managers need to keep on top of the regulations that apply to their company's activities. It can be super hard to analyse vast quantities of legislation to understand where key risks lie. What I've realised is that many EHS managers seek to do this by being proactive within peer groups/professional bodies. There are various risks to this approach though, the main one being that many EHS managers simply do not have the time to do the work of a legal librarian in sifting through reams of legal text in a search for relevance, even if the legal updates, and legal registers come from trustworthy providers and consultants.
Be 100% certain about what law applies
Staying on top of the law, at reducing regulatory non-compliance is most achievable when you and your team are equipped with the right tools. EHS managers and co-ordinators need the best technology tools to empower the operation of their management systems. Embracing relevant legaltech is key to support changing priorities, lead new processes and help drive cultural change for better EHS regulatory management.
To find out more about EHS compliance and legalteach, have a look at our very popular Compliance eBook.
The Libryo platform has been designed specifically for compliance professionals who need to specifically know "What does the Law require me to do here and now?" Find out more about Libryo and book a demo.