Unlocking the Value of Safety Communication and Training: R.O.S.A. and Safety I.Q.
Updated: Jul 18
In the realm of safety communication and training, it is essential to assess the value and effectiveness of our efforts. Dr. Donald L. Kirkpatrick, a pioneer in training evaluation, introduced a four-level model in the 1950s to measure training effectiveness. However, many organizations tend to overlook this model and focus solely on the effort put into safety communication and training without fully understanding the outcomes achieved. In this article, we will explore two valuable metrics—Return on Safety Attention (R.O.S.A.) and Safety Intelligence Quotient (Safety I.Q.)—that can help organizations better gauge the impact of their safety efforts.
Understanding R.O.S.A.: Return on attention, a well-known metric in marketing, can be adapted to measure the effectiveness of safety communication and training. Imagine conducting a 30-minute safety meeting or training session where important topics are discussed. How much of that information actually resonates with the participants? If, after 30 days, you find that most attendees only remember half of what was discussed, your R.O.S.A. stands at 50 percent—a level-two R.O.S.A. metric according to Kirkpatrick's model.
To truly assess behavioral changes resulting from the meeting, we need to delve into level-three thinking. Did the call to action prompt a shift in behavior among the workforce?
Observable behavior can be measured, and therefore R.O.S.A. for behavior can serve as a more effective indicator of the value derived from safety efforts.
The Significance of Safety I.Q.
In 1951, the National Safety Council released a short film called "What is Your Safety I.Q.?" with the aim of enhancing the public's knowledge of accident prevention strategies. This concept of Safety I.Q. is equally relevant within organizations. Do your employees and leaders possess the necessary knowledge about your safety efforts, programs, or systems?
Consider a safety management system with six key elements. If you were to create a quiz covering the most critical aspects, with five questions per element, a perfect score would be 30—a reflection of a high Safety I.Q. But what is the behavioral R.O.S.A. resulting from this knowledge?
Shifting the Focus
Many organizations fall short of their desired results because they concentrate on measuring what they don't want rather than emphasizing what they do want. It is crucial to foster an appreciation for safety communication and training efforts. We aim for individuals to not only know but also act upon important safety principles. By obtaining improvement in performance and cultural results, we gain a deeper understanding of the value derived from our efforts. Ultimately, accountability for the outcomes rests on all involved. Those who measure R.O.S.A. and Safety I.Q. are better equipped to focus on efficiency and value-addition. As a result, not only do the outcomes improve, but the appreciation of training and communication among those involved or affected also grows.
Conclusion: Measuring the effectiveness of safety communication and training is essential for organizations to optimize their efforts. The R.O.S.A. metric allows us to assess attention retention and behavioral changes resulting from these initiatives. Simultaneously, Safety I.Q. enables us to gauge the level of knowledge individuals possess about safety practices. By shifting our focus from what we don't want to what we do want, we can enhance performance and cultural outcomes while increasing appreciation for the value of training and communication. Incorporating R.O.S.A. and Safety I.Q. as measurement tools empowers organizations to drive efficiency and generate meaningful results, reinforcing the importance of safety in every aspect of their operations.