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Many EHS managers have an indirect responsibility for human resources management through their duties supervising employees. Conversely, many HR managers find themselves in a position to manage EHS responsibilities. Even so, there is a hard dividing line between HR professionals and EHS professionals.
However, that does not mean EHS managers can’t learn from HR. Quite the opposite. EHS managers can actually learn to be better at their jobs with the right HR courses. The problem? Most EHS managers don’t understand how they could learn from HR.
For EHS professionals who strive to be better at every opportunity, we think it’s time to learn. Here are three ways HR courses can help you be better at your job.
First and foremost, HR courses provide you with a fresh perspective.
The sharp dividing line between EHS managers and HR managers is primarily a question of training. EHS managers are typically a technical crowd, often arriving in the field with a background in science or engineering. By the time they become EHS managers, they’re highly specialized.
HR managers, on the other hand, tend to be a humanities crowd. They manage people and departments, which means their soft skills are far less science-based.
However, EHS managers are people managers just as much as HR. Any safety professional worth their salt knows that safety is ultimately about people. But HR courses are the ones that provide you with the skills to manage people.
HR courses also help you stay compliant, an area that is the perpetual bane of EHS managers’ existence.
While EHS managers devote a lot of resources to technical OSHA standards like hazardous waste or chemical safety, it’s worth remembering that safety is a human profession. Similarly, OSHA is not a regulator of environments, but of people – its mission is to ensure employees have a safe and healthy work environment.
In plain English: employment, discrimination, and fair wage laws are just as important for safety as any other safety regulation. HR courses can help EHS managers understand the full scope of the issue.
Last but not least, HR courses help you manage a more diverse workforce.
Here’s the thing: EHS professionals are in a people profession, but they’re not trained that way. That gets you in trouble when managing a younger, increasingly diverse workforce. HR managers are the ones trained to gracefully manage diversity.
Remember, a safe workforce is a happy workforce. Treating your employees fairly is critical to safety, and HR courses help you do just that.
Of course, knowing you need HR courses and actually delivering them to your safety team are two different things. Even after you find the right content, you need an effective system to teach it–and assess employee performance.
Since 2009, the team at EHS Insight have been on a mission to make the world a better place. Join us by subscribing to our Blog and receive updates on what’s new in the world of EHS, our software and other related topics.
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