Safety can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. In the business world, the perception of safety can mean a lot of things to a lot of different business owners. What it takes to properly protect your business should be something that is taken very serious by all of the decision makers within your business. Safety can mean securing the property at night when you are away from the building or it can mean properly training your employees to use the equipment they will be using as part of their job. It can even be having the proper policies in place to prevent your business from a data breach. There is a laundry list of things that can be included in your businesses strategy to properly keep your business safe. Here are 6 strategies to keep in mind when protecting your small business.
Hire the right people
It may seem obvious, but the people you hire are your most precious asset. Making sure they are the right people can go a long way towards the safety of your business. There are many ways you can go about checking up on your applicants. Criminal background checks, motor vehicle driving records, investigating their references and checking their college transcripts are all great places to start. Sometimes you will have to rely on your gut reaction to them from an interview, but taking extra time to make sure the people you hire are the right people will start your business off on the right foot when attempting to keep your business safe.
Train people effectively in the first place
Once you have hired the correct people for your organization it is not enough to just set them loose. You must properly train them in the art of protecting your business the way that is best for your organization within your industry. and think everything in your business will remain secure. They need to know what is important to your organization and how you expect them to conduct business. This may seem obvious, but far too many business owners forget this part of their organization. An employee in HR or Marketing might be coming to you from another industry. They may not see the potential risk that exists for your business in your industry. Take the financial services industry for example. This industry deals with every bit of a customers’ sensitive information, most importantly their financial accounts. If they are coming from another industry where the business does not have access to these types of materials’ they may not fully understand the need to safeguard everything they do. Another industry, like commercial cleaning, has risks where they are allowing employees in to a business after hours when they are the only people in the facility. This opens up the possibility for theft or access to internal computer networks. Training new employees properly will prevent risks from getting out of hand later.
Have well-documented, well thought out Safety Programs
Safety programs entail a lot depending on your business. Don’t be afraid to make them more or less extensive based on the needs of your business. It should start during the initial training/onboarding process for all employees. If you make it clear to them from the beginning that safety is important to your business than they will implement this in to their daily work routine. Like many things in life it is always easier to start tight and loosen up than to start loose and try to tighten up later. That works for a safety program as well.
Defensive Driving Program
Having a Defensive Driving Program in place can make drastic difference in the frequency and severity of accidents that occur among your employees. If you have employees that operate a vehicle as part of their job they need to have their driving record pulled at least once a year. As part of the hiring process, many businesses require employees to pay for the driving record themselves. This can help weed out applicants with the worst driving records. It saves you time and money on the front end from going through the hiring process with someone who will not be getting the job because of their driving record.
Buying the proper insurance.
Having proper insurance is essential to any good business plan. How much and what types of insurance a business needs, is completely dependent upon the business owner. It depends on how much risk they are comfortable taking and what types of risk they actually face. This is something a good independent insurance agent can help you determine. Many business owners face risks they do not realize and that is where having a long honest conversation with your agent can help you get properly insured. In most states and in most industries it is legally required to carry Workers Compensation and General Liability Coverage. But there are several other coverages that may be necessary depending upon the industry you operate in. Most carriers have programs set up for each specific classification code and they are called Business Owners’ Policies. In most cases this is the best way to go about purchasing commercial insurance.
Take cyber security seriously
Cyber security is a real threat to nearly all businesses. Regardless of how technologically advanced your business is there is a threat in the cyber world. Two of the largest data breaches in history were first started by small businesses first being hacked and allowing access to a larger network of customers through a vendor partnership. Many business owners think data breaches occur through highly technological criminals hacking in to a computer. That is the source of many data breaches, but many start with something as simple as someone leaving out a post-it note with their username and password or an employee taking a laptop home for remote work and the laptop getting stolen out of their car. Those are real risks that any business can have and they can cause a huge cost to your business when they do happen.