Cority customers work day-in and day-out to create a safer, healthier, more sustainable world for their employees and their communities. At Cority, we feel the least that we can do is strive to make their lives and jobs a little easier, create opportunities to learn from one another, and celebrate their impact on the world around them. We do this through developing best-in-class solutions, providing opportunities to share success stories and best practices, and honoring our customers for the work that they do for us all.
Enter Cority Connect. It’s been three weeks since our 23rd User Conference took place in Austin, TX. The largest gathering of EHS professionals in the world (we think 😉) brought together around 500 like-minded individuals to learn, share, network, and have fun. This year, the event centered on the theme of “connecting the dots” – finding connections that reveal new insights, facilitate faster problem solving, inspire innovative approaches to common challenges, and, most importantly, unite us all around a shared vision for the future.
The 4-day event was jam-packed with over 65 hours of content, including 4 topical sessions & discussions, 7 solution-focused breakout tracks, 2 keynote speakers, and 12 hands-on training workshops, making it nearly impossible to curate ALL the “connections” that were made. However, here is my short list of top 10 Connections from Cority Connect 2023.
1. EHS and ESG
EHS and ESG have much more in common than being three-letter acronyms that start with the letter E. For starters, both are focused on creating a safer, healthier, more sustainable world. In addition, much of the data already being gathered by EHS professionals can be leveraged in sustainability and ESG reporting. Further, as there is an increased focus on ESG and sustainable business practices, there is also an increased focus on the EHS function. Beyond synthesizing data on GHG emissions, there are broader connections for those functions focused on Health, Safety, and even Quality. Amanda Smith, Vice President of Solutions Marketing and Enablement at Cority, shared not only how we can make more sustainable decisions in our personal environments (from food waste to simply being kind to others), but also how the things EHS professionals care about relate to ESG initiatives. Examples included the link between green buildings and employee headaches and sick days as well as waste reduction and quality in manufacturing. The more EHS professionals tie their programs to broader ESG initiatives, they can expect more investment, exposure, and recognition.
2. Cross-Functional Collaboration and Innovative Solutions
Through several real-life success stories, Erica Dhawan, best-selling author on the topic of Connectional Intelligence, convinced us to seek the perspectives of those outside of our sphere or discipline to solve common problems or offer a new way of thinking. However, she may not have needed to try so hard (Bollywood dancing anyone? IYKYK). As EHS professionals, we are bought into the importance of culture, collaboration, and communication – understanding that this breeds higher satisfaction and retention levels for employees, 70% fewer workplace incidents, and higher revenue growth. More and better ideas and solutions come from a culture where employees are invested, feel comfortable and valued, and want to contribute.
3. Market Trends and Career Opportunities
David Metcalfe, CEO of Verdantix, told a cautionary tale of a man named Arthur whose job was to find new locations for phone booths in the UK. In the early 2000s. If you’re wondering who still used a phone booth in the early 2000s and if Arthur still has a job, then you get the point of the story. Maintaining a pulse on the market and the latest trends is one way to future-proof your EHS career. And spoiler alert: the future involves ESG and we have just begun to scratch the surface. ESG is the driving force behind other recent trends such as a refocus on safety management, the emergence of employee mental health and wellbeing, and the need for GHG emissions data management. If you haven’t already, it’s time to decide which horse to hitch your cart to and create your personal development plan.
4. Smiling Faces and Cority Software
I didn’t do a formal study here, but I would venture to guess that there were more smiling faces at Cority Connect than non-smiling faces. With the underlying commonality between all of these grins being Cority software, I think we can connect feelings of happiness, satisfaction and excitement with our solutions. Just sayin’. Don’t take my word for it though. A number of Cority customers shared their success stories with others, including Toyota, Chevron, MD Anderson, GE Appliances, Ingredion, Pacific Gas & Electric, and Los Alamos National Labs. They were proud of what they have accomplished and the impact they have had on driving organizational goals forward. Outside of the sessions, it was fun to hear customers giving rave reviews during elevator rides and the buffet line. With Cority’s commitment to helping people and businesses thrive, it is so rewarding to see such overwhelming evidence of just that in such a condensed period of time. It had me smiling too.
5. Empowerment, Engagement, and Excellence – oh my!
Empowerment and engagement aren’t those the same thing? Yeah, I would have thought so too. However, Sean Baldry, Director of Product Marketing at Cority, shared a notable distinction between the two: if engagement is the fire, empowerment is the fuel. When employees are committed and enthusiastic about their work, they are bought into organizational goals and want to do their part to support. Empowerment is then the activation of those engaged employees, trusting and enabling them to actually do the work. By providing the right tools, autonomy, information, and support, organizations will reap the benefits of an engaged and empowered workforce: achieving EHS performance excellence.
6. Productivity Growth & Digital Adoption
A recent study by the McKinsey Global Institute found a 70% correlation between productivity growth and digital adoption. I’d say the odds are good that a digital transformation yields positive outcomes. While some industries have quickly bought into the speed of digital, several enterprise-level organizations are still stuck in analog. As our most attended topical breakout session of the event, Digital Transformation, revealed that there is still a need to amplify these compelling statistics and drive a shift to digitization of EHS functions. Carrie Young, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at Cority, shared how creating a solid business case focused on improved outcomes (hint: speed, efficiency, productivity all apply) and outlining a thoughtful project plan are great starting places. Leveraging the experience of others as well as focusing in on the basics can also help kick start the shift to digital. Grab your favorite Coriteer for help.
7. BBQ, a Bull, and a Good Time
Based on my personal analysis, there appears to be a direct correlation between good food and a good time. Each of the evening events held throughout the week further validated this theory. From tacos to BBQ, we made sure to partake in the local cuisine. Music, drinks, and good conversation also were contributing factors. Oh, and a bull. A mechanical bull is a must. Just ask our CEO. 😉
8. Work Conditions and Mental Health
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 adults in the United States will experience some form of mental illness in a given year. And a growing number of employees are looking to their employers to do something about it through offering related resources, support, and a safe work environment. According to NIOSH, “to fully support the comprehensive well-being of workers, it is critical to ensure they have safe working conditions that protect their physical and psychological health”. This includes not only the physical work environment, but also workplace policies and culture. While a recent study found that a large majority of organizations have established mental health programs and/or have plans in the works for new mental health focused initiatives, our discussions at the event found this to be a really new focus area with best practices still being established.
9. Gamification and Sustainability
During an amazing customer panel discussion led by Krystal Truax, Director of Product Management for Cority, customers provided insight into trends and tech in EHS right now. This included their use of gamification to drive EHS performance. Employees at Rio Tinto, American Electric Power, and Mitsubishi Chemical can earn points, badges, and/or rewards for a variety of activities that support corporate initiatives. These could include task completion or data collection, new ideas or innovative improvements to process, training paths or learning achievements, etc. These additional incentives give employees an added invested interest in the success of EHS goals and programs, keeping them motivated by providing a more immediate reward for their effort. Long-term impact with short-term rewards – sounds like a win-win to me.
10. Cority Customers and Positive Change
There is no doubt in my mind that we have the best customers in the world, and I’m not even a little biased. Our users are responsible for protecting people and the planet – and I simply cannot think of more important jobs. They are focused on reducing fatalities, decreasing harmful exposures, keeping the lights on (literally), ensuring employees return home, minimizing their impact on the environment, neutralizing their carbon footprint, and more. They are required to create connections every day between the boardroom and the field, progress and performance, data and action. They are the ones creating real positive change.