Make Safety Part of Your Company’s DNA
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By Scott Buttz

People in the hospitality industry have an irrepressible passion for delivering outstanding service. We should apply that same exuberance to corporate safety programs as we seek out ways to create and drive value; but to date, we have largely overlooked huge opportunities.

While safety is a part of the overall calculus in building value through better service, it is often too narrowly focused, missing extremely important dimensions.

Safety concerns in parking are often focused on vehicular claims, as accidents and safety incidents act as interruptions or shortfalls with service. The business value of safety, however, extends far beyond vehicular claims.

Organized Safety Programs Can Increase Your Competitive Edge

Safety should be part of your DNA, a critical value driver that can be integrated in an all-inclusive manner in your business. A world-class safety environment helps improve parking workforce engagement, increases employee retention and performance, boosts customer satisfaction and retention, reduces costs and produces winning financial performance.

Safety Drives Business Advancements

A comprehensive safety environment drives improvements in two areas: financial performance and employee engagement. While the ability of improved safety to boost financial performance and its value is widely appreciated, the power of safety to improve employee engagement and its value is not. Companies and their leaders understand the incredible financial burden of employee injuries.

Employee Injuries Can Cost Companies Millions

From the cost of claims, rise in insurance coverages, lost time wages and lost productivity, to litigation for employer at-fault conditions leading to injuries, the financial cost of an employee injury may range from tens of thousands of dollars to well into the millions.

Top safety practices add great value by preventing such costs, but what may surprise many is that overwhelming evidence suggests the value provided from increased employee engagement is even greater.

World-class safety engagement is proven to have a dramatic impact on both people performance and financial success. It improves employee satisfaction and loyalty, increases retention, creates participatory problem-solving, increases morale and employee confidence, drives productivity and increases customer satisfaction.

As a result, today’s leaders in our industry are adopting a transformational approach to safety, viewing it in a more comprehensive manner instead of a mere financial transaction.

Leading companies in the parking hospitality industry differentiate themselves on the basis of the quality of the guest and patient experience the company provides.

Maximize the Effectiveness of Your Safety Programs

Leaders must move the focus of the organization or work team beyond the financial case to include the human case of safety linked with employee engagement.

Leaders must be both transactional and transformational in their approach to creating a world-class safety environment. Each approach has different results.

Transactional approaches yield safety-enabling systems management, while transformational approaches to employee health and safety create safety engagement cultures.

Safety Program Transactional Elements

  • Job safety analyses for each role, especially those on the frontline;
  • Safe driving systems and training;
  • Safety audits and safe condition compliance scorecards;
  • Tracking of workplace injuries, safe days and reporting of the total incident rate;
  • Root-cause analysis and documented investigations or internal reviews of recordable accidents and near-miss incidents;
  • Safety committees represented by cross-sections of the organization, with majority representation by frontline employees;
  • Job expectations which include safe behaviors and safe workplace practices;
  • Primary visual aids at the job site identifying hazards;
  • Hazard abatement;
  • Accountability for unsafe acts and at-fault injuries;
  • Fundamental and recurring training on job safety standards.

Transformational Elements for Engaged Safety Culture

  • Communicating employee health and safety as part of the organization’s vision, values and culture;
  • Actively using employee listening, feedback and response systems;
  • Creating participatory work groups across business functions and responsibility levels;
  • Near-miss reporting and proactive safe behavior awareness;
  • Safety communication campaigns at multiple levels with the organization that extend beyond the workplace (home safety as a monthly communication topic, for example).

Safety Culture is Key Differentiator

Leading companies in the parking hospitality industry differentiate themselves on the basis of the quality of the guest and patient experience the company provides. They also distinguish themselves by levels of revenue and yield management for stakeholders and overall financial performance for owners and clients.

A safety culture is another key differentiator, particularly for employees and business partners.

Attracting and retaining the very best talent and delivering incredible business success for our organizations and our clients are outcomes we all desire. Actively transforming our safety cultures greatly improves our ability to achieve both.

Scott Buttz is senior vice president of operations at Towne Park. Email him at

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