A five-year-old beverage manufacturing company had received good market response for its products and was ready to grow from 45 employees to several times that to satisfy demand. However, a number of safety incidents had occurred, primarily the result of not having safety-conscious leadership in place, and this was driving employees away at a time when they needed to attract new employees for growth. Employee turnover, which had reached 70 percent, was causing business interruption, higher costs for bringing in and training new employees, and low morale among retained operating personnel. The too-frequent accidents and injuries to employees was keeping the CEO from being able to focus on leveraging his brand and growing the company.
A human resource professional, now a NextLevel principal, was assigned to correct these problems and achieve a better safety record. She first reviewed the practices and processes that were causing the high turnover as well as the unacceptable incident and accident rate. She set up metrics to highlight the status of safety and with which to establish goals to turn the organization around. Then she took the following actions:
- She established new practices in the highest risk manufacturing processes
- She replaced operations leadership with individuals from other organizations with better training and track records on safety, largely through attrition or relocation out of operations positions
- She instituted continuous training in safe manufacturing processes
- She tested new practices to see whether they improved safety metrics and followed up as necessary
- Working with new higher-grade leadership, she made safety top of mind throughout the company
With better trained personnel led by safety-conscious leaders, turnover was reduced to less than 5 percent. Incident and accident rates were practically eliminated as the organization went accident-free for more than 1200 days. This allowed the company to focus on retail expansion and presence, which they did successfully as their operations grew profitably to more than 500 employees in just a few years.