The Role of Leading and Lagging Indicators in Evaluating OSH Professionals’ Performance
- Wanda D. Minnick (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) | Jan K. Wachter (Indiana University of Pennsylvania)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- January 2019
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 32 - 36
- 2019. American Society of Safety Professionals
- 5 in the last 30 days
- 5 since 2007
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- OSH professionals perceive their performance is measured by five overarching categories: job expectations, lagging indicators, soft skills, leading indicators and values.
- The perception of how safety professionals’ performance is measured is consistent across industry sectors.
- Evidence suggests that OSH professionals’ performance is primarily measured on job expectations, not lagging indicators.
- Lagging indicators, soft skills and leading indicators are equally perceived as the second most important factor in which safety professionals’ performance is measured.
Considering the multitasking, boundary-spanning and cross-functional nature of the safety profession, OSH professionals’ roles are often complicated and blurred, and can leave one wondering, on what basis is individual performance measured? One could immediately jump to the perhaps unfair conclusion that if incident rates (lagging indicators) climb, the overall perception of the safety professional’s performance dips. However, with the growing popularity of using leading indicators to measure organizational performance, some safety professionals are using them as personal markers of success when discussing their individual performance with their managers. Although many organizations are using a balanced scorecard approach to assessing safety performance (e.g., using both leading and lagging indicators), it is not certain that individual safety professional performance is being similarly measured. A broader question to answer may be, what do safety professionals currently believe they are being assessed on in this potentially changing evaluation environment?
Thus, the aim of this study is to examine trends in safety professionals’ perceptions on how their workplace performance is measured. There is little or no literature on the topic of performance measures currently used to evaluate the individual safety professional. It is important to consider whether safety professionals repeatedly list certain traits, skills or other assets as impacting their individual performance assessment.
This study is limited in that the researchers asked ASSP member safety professionals to comment on what they believe, as opposed to what they know, regarding how their performance is being assessed. It is often difficult to know with certainty on what criteria our performance/worth is being measured (especially if clear and precise performance criteria are not present in performance evaluation documents) without overtly asking our many stakeholders their opinions, which may or may not be forthright. However, we can be informed by the perception trends existing among other like safety professionals.
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