Happy New Year! IPMI Kicks-Off 2021 with the Virtual EHS Management Institute
By Jennifer Holmes on February 3, 2021
2020 will be remembered as a year of dramatic shifts and unprecedented disruption for the EHS Professional. The COVID-19 pandemic put an unexpected spotlight on the digital workplace and remote work, on management and adaptive culture, and on redefining the employee experience. As we enter into 2021 and physical gatherings remain a thing of the hopeful yet distant future, we must continue to create innovative new ways to communicate and connect – starting with the 2021 Virtual EHS Management Institute.
The two-and-a-half day event offered a balance between the traditional consumption of vital information through captivating panel discussions and webinars and the unique ability to gain back those ‘in-between’ conversations that are easy to lose in an isolated, remote setting when meetings end and computers shut-off. The program did so by building-in extra time for organic, free-flow discussion sparked by icebreaker prompts and intimate roundtable sessions. The Institute’s design mimicked that of a birds-eye-view conference space which transported attendees from their homes into virtual ‘tables,’ allowing guests to click around the space and essentially ‘bump-into’ one other for impromptu and easy-going conversation.
Common themes that were ever-present and helped steer conversation from impromptu to deep-dive included:
- Uncovering what best practices around awareness and mitigation of risks looks like
- Strategies and digital integrations to better prepare for future business interruptions
- How EHS, HR and key organizational stakeholders collaborate during times of crisis
- “When will things ever get back to normal?” – How to leverage all that’s happened in 2020 to plan for 2021 and beyond
- Increasing ownership and engagement for safety by capturing the hearts and minds of employees
- Making the most of remote audits and key learnings for future remote sessions
- Ergonomic enhancements and wearable technology
- How the regulatory landscape continues to change
- Pandemic protocols and practices
Delivering the insightful presentations and panel discussions were Chief Safety Officers and VPs of EHS&S from companies such as Hawaiian Air, Bank of America, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Siemens Healthineers, PepsiCo and Colgate-Palmolive Company, exploring strategies to navigate the future of work during these turbulent times. Feedback from participants included positive remarks such as “Thank you for all of your efforts at IPMI to pull off this meeting under tremendously difficult circumstances. The technology was fun, planning impressive, and transitions between presentations and networking exceptional.”
At some point, the crisis will pass and more ‘normal’ business conditions will return, and the 2021 Virtual EHS Management Institute created a platform for executives to discuss what their organizations may look like when some form of normalcy is restored. EHS leaders must learn how to respond to market opportunities with an enhanced culture of safety and an employee base they can say not only survived, but thrived through 2021.
A big thank you goes out to the Advisory Committee, Speaker Facutly, Service Provider Partners and Attendees who made this event possible and a true success! While we are cautiously optimistic that 2022 will bring us back to a physical setting, the feedback provided by one attendee puts it best: “I missed getting together in-person this year, but this virtual format was the next best thing. Thank you IPMI team for making it an enjoyable experience!”
If you would like to join the conversation and engage with forward-thinking Environmental, Health and Safety Leaders at the 2022 EHS Management Institute, please contact Jennifer Holmes at firstname.lastname@example.org.