4 Ways to Build an Impressive Safety Career Portfolio
Moving up in your career in safety requires building up your value as a safety professional. And to show your value, a portfolio is what you need.
But how can you build an impressive portfolio that will land you that new job or that salary raise? Let’s talk about 4 ways to do it. Let’s dive into it!
Capture the Injury Data
As a safety professional, injuries are a reliable measure of how effective we are in our jobs. So, it is a great idea to include injury data which shows the number before you were hired and after you were hired.
But since it’s company information, just make sure to scrub the personal information before using it for your personal portfolio. Just keep the injury numbers as well as the type of injuries.
Capture the Cost You’ve Saved
The safety policies that we’ve established not only protect the workers but also the equipment and other facilities in the workplace. And this generates cost savings from insurance, equipment repair, and improvement in work quality.
So again make sure to capture the information, scrub it, and then create a comparison of the cost savings you’ve generated after you were hired. Then, put it in your portfolio.
Capture Claims Costs
Experienced safety professionals are exceptional at managing claims and keeping the costs at the lowest possible amount. And this is because we actively work on creating safety policies and know the ins and outs of insurance policies.
Again, make sure to capture the average claims costs and create a comparison on how you’ve effectively managed it and lowered it. Then, put it in your portfolio.
Create a Process that Continuously Generates Results
The mentioned data above (injury data, cost savings, and claims costs) are all results of the processes in your company. So, in order to continuously capture positive data that is going into your portfolio, you’ll need to create a process that continuously generates positive results.
And this can be done by creating projects because this is where you can actively take steps that can positively impact the company. Now, a project can be defined as a planned activity with a clear start date and an end date with a clear deliverable in mind-which is to improve the safety processes in the company.
There are four steps to creating a project:
- Define the project – State what is the purpose and duration of the project, why it is needed, and desired end results.
- Know the current baseline – Gather and research data about the current projects and statistics relevant to your project. This is important because this will be used to know if the project is effective.
- Complete the project – Implement the project until the stated end duration.
- Debrief – Collect and analyze the data taken from the project. Compare the end results with the baseline to know if there were improvements.
All of the ways I’ve mentioned above are my secret to why I’ve always successfully been offered the job I’ve been interviewed for. So, this will also set you up for moving up in your career.
But this is just part 1 of the 3-part podcast episode series that I’ve prepared for you. So stay tuned for part 2 where we will talk about what getting big results in your program can mean for you, your day-to-day, and your career.
Safety Career Growth: 4 Ways To Get Big Braggable Results
Safety Brye: [00:00:00] When you landed your first real job, you know, the one where you don't work hourly and you have actual responsibilities, like landing your first job in safety management, it's easy to hit the ground running and think you'll be there forever. I love this company, but I know that as you move along in your safety career, your dreams may change.
And one of the easiest ways to take a step up in your career is to have a track record of results. So today let's talk about how you can start collecting those big results. Hey, there safety friends. Welcome to the safety geek podcast. I'm Brye Sargent CSP and 20 year safety professional. After spending years training safety leaders across the globe for a large corporation.
And creating safety programs from the ground up, over and over again. I am now sharing my processes and strategies
[00:01:00] with you at the safety geek you will learn how to manage an effective safety program that increases your management support and employee engagement all the while helping you elevate your position and move up in your career.
If you're ready to step into the role of a safety, influencer and leader. You're in the right place. Let's get to it.
Hello. Hello. Hello, my safety friends. And thank you so much for joining me today. Today. I wanna share something that I actually didn't do in my career. It is a mistake that I don't want you to make. So here's the deal. I am very good at what I do. And when I enter a new company and start building their safety program from the ground up, I am nonstop action.
I have my process that I implement at all the companies I work for. This is something that I teach inside a safety management academy. But I just go, go, go
[00:02:00] without a thought of capturing the information to brag about it later, because when you go for that next interview, you want to have tangible, real world accomplishments to tell stories about and doing this is twofold.
You have to have a process for generating contained results and you need to collect a debrief afterward for your personal portfolio. So your very presence at a company is going to generate results, especially if they haven't had a safety professional before. So these first ones should apply to almost every single job.
So number one, you need to capture injury data month over month and year over year. Now make sure that you're cleaning up that injury data. Like you wanna scrub any names or any personal information. So that way you can save
[00:03:00] it for your personal use. So I would save like claim numbers. So that way you have an individual identification number, but then save the information, like the type of accident, what was the total cost of that accident?
All of that kind of stuff. So that way you can track and trend it to actually show the numbers as in like the quantity of the incidents and then the dollar value and keep a personal copy of those numbers for yourself. And you might be thinking, oh my gosh, that's company data. I can't do it. That's why I'm saying you scrub it, but you wanna show like, this is where they were before they hired me.
This is where I was hired and look at the results that I generated. Cool. Huh? I actually had a spreadsheet from a company I worked for a very long time ago and I did keep a copy for my personal use, but I lost it. That's what so frustrating. So just be careful about where you keep this information as well. So what had happened was I
[00:04:00] had a Dropbox under a different email address. That I no longer have access to and I can now no longer access that Dropbox, I have tried so many times and I just cannot access that Dropbox. So I've pretty much lost a lot of it. So make sure you keep it in a nice spot. Like now I keep it in a Google drive and I name it under, I have the name of the folder to be like career and business or something like that.
And then I save it under there. All right. So that's number one, make sure that you keep injury data month over month and year over year. So if you're working for a company, maybe every quarter you scrub it and you add it to your personal portfolio. All right. Number two. Capture the costs that you have helped save.
So this could be, you have saved the company on insurance premiums. You've saved them on preventative maintenance. You've saved them on human resources, quality, and this is data that you should be collecting as part of your safety
[00:05:00] program analytics anyway. If you don't know how to do that, then I encourage you to join safety management academy.
But you basically the same thing you wanna capture this information every year or every quarter scrub it. So that way there is no identifying information, no personal information like names or anything like that, and then keep it in your personal portfolio. And once again, You track it, you trend it. And that way you can say, this is where they were before they hired me.
And this is the value that I provided the company. I actually saved them this amount of dollars, which was, you know, X times number of my salary. And I can do the same for you. . And number three is capturing claims costs. Now all of these seem very similar to these first three, because they are typical things that we do in safety management.
You know, we do injury data. We do claims costs. We do expenses, right. But you wanna do the same thing for claims costs. Safety
[00:06:00] managers are exceptionally good at claims management. Now, if you're new to safety, maybe you're like, oh my gosh, I'm not, I'm supposed to be, don't worry. You'll get there. It just comes with experience.
But every experienced safety manager I've talked to, like they can manage a claim like nobody's business. I remember I worked for a company one time where they changed the management of claims from safety to HR and the costs skyrocketed. And they came back to me and they were like, I need some explanations.
We're changing insurance companies. I need some explanations as to why our costs have gone up. And I'm like, because I'm no longer managing the claim, dude. , it's so obvious. So anyway, we are really good at keeping those claim costs down. So what you wanna do is capture what was the average cost of claims before you were hired and the average cost of claims after.
And if you can break it down by type of claim, that would be even better, you know, like strains and sprains or slips
[00:07:00] and falls equipment strikes or hitting stationary objects, or, you know, I don't know, broken and bones or severe claims. Break it into category that actually makes your numbers look a lot, a lot better because you don't have the high frequency generally on the severe claims.
And it's those little claims that end up chewing away at the bottom line. So if you can actually explain to them that. You know, the average cost of your claim might be $5,000, but I can get that down by 20%. That's actually like more helpful because they have more of those claims. Then they do that severe claim that might be, you know, 10 million that you really don't have as much control over.
So those are the first three ways. And like I said, these are the ways that I believe that most safety managers are managing their programs anyway. And what I'm telling you to do is basically capture that information and keep it into a personal portfolio. So that way years down the road,
[00:08:00] you can demonstrate that you actually provided value and the amount of that value.
And it's actually in numbers that you can quantify. So those are the easy ones. Now the other one that you need to make sure that you're doing is having a process for generating these results. You know, and I kinda look at this as dividing your work into two categories, your day to day tasks, which will generate results.
Your day to day work will generate results. Like I said, your very presence of being there is going to reduce the safety numbers. And then the other category is project tasks. It's the project tasks that you need to focus on capturing the contained results. And your projects are where you are actively taking steps to improve your program.
Now, the definition of a project is that it has a start date and an end date with a clear
[00:09:00] deliverable or a purpose. Now this could be creating a new safety program or updating one. So let's say that you go into a company and they don't have a HazComm program and you are going to create a, has come program and implement it.
That is a project. So it has a clear start, a clear end date, and it has a deliverable which might be the full hazard communication program. And you can measure the results based on where the company was before and where the company was after. You can also have projects that are based on like corrective action.
You've done an accident investigation or you've had a hazard reported. And when you looked at it, you said, we need to implement this corrective action. Implementing that corrective action could be defined as a project because it has a clear start date and date with a deliverable or a purpose. A continuous improvement project is a project as well.
So project results are a big deal when you are in front of a new
[00:10:00] potential employer. So you wanna make sure that you're gathering the data from those projects now. So that way you can share it later. And this was the mistake that I made because I have done project after project, after project and never captured that data.
To save for my own personal portfolio afterwards. So the idea is that, and I'll get into how you create a contained project in just a moment. But the idea is that you do the project afterwards, you have a debrief that you can then share with a potential employer, but the best part of this is that it's also valuable to your current employer.
Cause once again, you demonstrating the value. So think about it. If you do several continuous improvement projects a year, which is how I teach my students to do it. You can, at the end of the year, let's say you're sitting down and you are talking about your performance and hopefully getting an annual
[00:11:00] raise. You can actually show them documented evidence of the work that you have done. You can show the data from what we talked about in the first three, and you can also show them all of these debriefs from the projects to demonstrate your value that you've provided to the company. And isn't that amazing.
Right. So could you imagine sitting there, and let's say that you are making the average salary of a safety manager, which in the United States, I really have to argue this one because some places have said the average salary is 115,000 per year, but everyone I speak to is pretty much in the 70 to $80,000 range.
Maybe you're new and that's where you're at. And that is generally who I am coaching and helping the people within their first three to five years in safety. But let's say that you are at like a $75,000 range, and you're able to demonstrate that you saved the company $3 million last year. it's very easy for you to say I'd like a five or
[00:12:00] 10% raise. I mean that, I mean, ideally I would want a 10% of what I saved you, but that never happens, but it's easy to demonstrate your value. So that's why this is so important. All right, now let's get into how you create a contained project, because this is extremely important. You don't just wanna be doing projects willy-nilly.
You wanna make sure that you have a contained project, so that way you can actually create this debrief at the end of it. All right. So number one, you wanna define the project? What is its purpose? What is the end result or the expected end result? And then you wanna get a current baseline. So before you even start the project, make sure that you are collecting data so that you understand where the company currently stands, whether that is in money, in turnover, in accident rates, in maintenance expenses.
However, this project is going to impact the company. Where
[00:13:00] do they currently stand? Alright. Right. Number three you're then going to complete the project. you're gonna do your project. We're not gonna get into that here, but basically the way that I teach it is that you create an action plan and you implement your action plan.
And then number four is you do a debrief of the project and there are key questions that you wanna make sure that you ask and answer in the debrief. Number one is what were the results and compare those results with the baseline. Were there improvements? Were there not improvements? What I will tell you is that if you're not seeing any results from the project in this debrief, like it's all status quo.
We, our accident rate was the same as it was before our risk was the same as it was before earmark to say, I'm gonna check it again in three months because some projects take a long time for the results to pan out. So you don't just wanna walk away and never look at those
[00:14:00] results. Again, there will be projects that you don't see results at the completion of.
That may take three months, six months, nine months for those results to show up. So you just earmark it and you make sure that you're going back and you're updating it. All right. Number two. What went well? So what went really well in the project? What were the things that you were like, wow, that was perfect.
We need to do that again. And then also what could have gone better? What didn't go well? What issues came up and how did you handle those issues? This is one of the most important questions that you need to answer in your debrief. What could have gone better? And how did you handle the issues that came up?
Guess why it's an interview question. So if you ever wanna change jobs, they will always ask you, tell me about a project that didn't go well and how you handled it. So you wanna make sure that you have that answer readily available on your project. And the last thing is you wanna list any
[00:15:00] lessons learned. Lessons learned are so important because you can take those lessons learned and move them onto another project.
So as you are planning project, number two, you review all your lessons learned and make sure that you apply the needed change. In your next project and you wanna write out a clear debrief. Now don't think that this is gonna be multiple pages long. I've literally done debriefs that are just one page where I just listed these questions.
What were the results? I compared it to baseline. What went well, what could have gone better? What lessons did I learn on one word document and I just bullet pointed underneath. That's really all that you need. But then you wanna maintain it in your personal portfolio, as well as in a company portfolio, cuz you wanna make sure that you're sharing this with your current management team too.
So as you complete projects at managers meetings, I teach the executive advisory committee and safety management academy. You wanna make sure that you are sharing this information with everybody as
[00:16:00] well? Right? And like I said, this was the mistake that I made and you'll think. And this is what I did you'll think.
Oh, you'll just remember everything that you did, but what I will tell you is it's hard. It's hard to go back 15 years and go, what projects did I work on when I worked in that company, I will tell you, you will only remember the big ones and the little ones count just as much as the big ones. In fact, I believe that little ones count more because they build momentum in the company and actually create a better result over time because you have these small little projects.
So here's the other thing when you build this habit, just think of what that personal portfolio is going to look like. Imagine walking into your annual review or an interview at another company with an entire portfolio of results that you have generated.
[00:17:00] I will tell you, this is my secret sauce of how I have been offered
every job I've ever interviewed for is because I do have a personal portfolio that I do share with my perspective employer and I have been offered every job I've ever interviewed for. So the thing that I want you to remember is that projects are extremely important to our work. There's a lot of day to day in safety that we can get stuck in the minutia and in the administrative end of it.
But safety is not just about maintaining the status quo. It is about continuously working on improvement projects that allow you not to just save lives. But to move up in your career. So you should always have several, I teach three continuous improvement projects going at a time. Now this episode is
[00:18:00] part one of a three part series where I'm sharing with you, how to make big improvements in your safety program that will not only help your current team.
But also set you up for big things in the future if you want them. So beyond the lookout for part two coming soon, where we will talk about getting big results in your program and what it means for you. And your day to day as well as your career. So I will see you for part two. Thanks for listening.
Hey, if you're just getting started in safety or you've been at this for a while and are hitting a roadblock. Then I wanna invite you to check out safety management academy. This is my in depth online course that not only teaches you the processes and strategies of an effective safety management program, but how to entwine management support and employee participation throughout your processes.
[00:19:00] Are you ready to finally understand exactly what you should be doing and ditch that safety police hat forever? Then you have got to join me and your fellow safety scholars over at safety management academy. Just go to http://thesafetygeek.com/sma to learn more and to get started. That's thesafetygeek.com/sma
And I will see you in our next students only live session. Buy for now.
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Highlights From This Episode:
- Successful Ways to Get Braggable Results in Your Safety Careers
- Improve Your Value as a Safety Manager
- How to Build an Impressive Portfolio
- What Mistakes to Avoid in Your Safety Career
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
Now that you learn some tips on how to get braggable results in your Safety Careers, I love to hear your thoughts about it. Please comment them below.
And don’t forget to share this with your Safety BFFs so all of you can level up in your careers.
Hi, I'm Brye (rhymes with sky)! I am a self-proclaimed safety geek with two decades of general industry safety experience. Specializing in bringing safety programs to a world-class level and building a safety culture, I have trained and coached many safety managers, just like you, on how to effectively manage workplace safety in the real world. I would love to help you too.