Bright & Loud: Not All Interventions Are One Size Fits All
When we think of innovation and industry, we often think of innovation in production, technology and sustainability; but what about innovation when it comes to our greatest resource—our human resources. Employees inspect their worksites, fill out FLHAs, and ensure their PPE is up-to-par, so what are companies doing to ensure their employees are healthy and safe outside of the workplace? Shift work and industry demands make it easy to forget to schedule that yearly physical or to go to the dentist for those pesky cleanings, but SMS Equipment Inc. and KMC Mining are reminding employees that intervention and prevention are key to health and wellness.
Healthy employees positively impact and grow a company’s bottom line and alternatively, Medisys reports that “each year, employee absenteeism equates to an estimated $16-billion or more in direct lost revenue to Canadian employers.” The Canadian Breast Cancer Network states in their Breast Cancer: Economic Impact and Labour Re-Entry report, “every year 22,000 Canadian women and 180 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. Their economic situation is one of the most important factors in their recovery.” (CBCN). And Prostate Cancer Canada states that in 2017, “an estimated 21,300 Canadian men [would] be diagnosed with prostate cancer” (PCC). Both of these Networks recognize that these diagnoses are not just health conditions, but also economic conditions that cost the individual, family, workplace and governments.
SMS Equipment and KMC Mining recognize that interventions targeting preventative health outcomes are not just about the bottom line, but also about building relationships, establishing trust, breaking boundaries and giving back. And they’re doing so in giant, bright and unique ways. Together, the industry partners painted two of their 930E Komatsu truck boxes with billboard-size reminders about personal health and safety. Painted pink for Breast Cancer Research and Awareness and blue for Prostate Cancer Research and Awareness, the mobile billboards also reflect the lived experiences of employees and staff, recognizing that bad things happen and we all have a role to play in supporting each other in our recovery journey.
These messages are difficult to ignore and hopefully the message is clear: Have yourself checked. A negative diagnosis has an enormous cost for individuals and families and those costs may be exasperated with time off for treatment, recovery and a difficult time re-entering into the workforce. This financial impact begins to affect the workplace, typically, before the diagnosis with both direct and indirect costs, including the cost of absenteeism, presenteeism, and an increase in the employee’s direct medical costs. Interventions targeting long-term health preventions make financial and social sense—let’s remind our employees we care, we understand and we’re ready to support you. As Brian Berkshire of SMS Equipment reminds us, “We’re all healthy until something happens.”
When asked why this initiative is innovative, Shauna Weisgerber, Communications Specialist with SMS Equipment says that the mobile billboards are approaching physical and mental health in unique ways at unique sites. They knew they wanted to engage their employees with these important messages and while looking for ways to share that were outside of the box, it literally brought them outside of the truck box. With an employee centred approach, they’re trying to reach people in a way they wouldn’t typically associate industry with.
Although the messages may be overt, there is a lot under the surface too—like how they use innovation to bring their values of lifestyle, safety and truthfulness to life. They also say that you are more than a number and are willing to incorporate individual needs into the workplace. It also shows that innovation comes in all shapes and sizes.