2020 CEOs Who 'Get It'
Gallman Personnel Services, Inc.
- Encouraged the purchase of high-visibility T-shirts and cooling rags for all staff and associates, and each Friday of National Safety Month, she dons her hi-vis shirt.
- Promotes and supports the company’s safety specialist to further her safety education.
- Supports turning down client business when it does not meet the company’s standards for safety.
Gallman Personnel Services Inc. is a privately held temporary staffing and direct hire company. GPS employs more than 300 people in three states, including temporary and contract staff at various industrial and clerical client locations.
Why is safety a core value at your organization?
GPS correlates safety to long-term success because if we have clients who value properly training their personnel and our associates on best safety practices, with our diligence of reviewing risks associated with placing associates, the likelihood of a successful partnership is achievable. It also supports our daily mission of serving the communities in which we have a presence by having healthy and productive employees who go home in the same condition as when they arrived at work.
Describe your personal journey to becoming a CEO who “gets it.” What experiences or lessons brought you to where you are now?
I came to GPS as a very young adult with little to no work experience and no previous conceptions as to what a workplace should or should not be. Charlie Gallman, founder of GPS, took me on and showed me what it takes to be a good leader and how to truly care about and for everyone we touch through our service. He encouraged, challenged and supported my growth as a young career woman. It is these things he gave me that I strive to pay forward each day to those I serve. Yes, those I serve! To the individuals I serve, I want to support, encourage, challenge and ensure their well-being. With that comes safety. Safety isn’t just about not getting injured in the workplace. It is keeping individuals safe from harm, educated to identify unsafe conditions and knowledgeable about what to do if they are ever put in harm’s way. Employees deserve a safe work environment – safe from hazardous conditions, threats, discrimination and malicious intent, as well as instruction on what to do if they find themselves in an unsafe environment. Simply put, keeping employees safe is the right thing to do.
What is the biggest obstacle to safety at your organization, and how do you work to overcome it?
There is no shortage of obstacles in the staffing industry. Our associates work at client locations across three states without our direct supervision. Before placing an associate, we provide general safety training and some client-specific training. This training tends to make our onboarding process long for new hires. However, we assure them that it is to ensure their safety because we care about them. Our safety specialist performs audits of our client locations prior to initial placement of an associate. These safety audits are repeated every six months to ensure our associates are trained and working in a safe environment. Some clients give pushback on the safety audits until they understand we are there to support and supplement their own safety programs.
How do you instill a sense of safety in employees on an ongoing basis?
As CEO, I decided to invest in the safety education of our staff in 2018 and 2019 by sending all staff, including myself, to a National Safety Council OSHA 10-hour class. The OSHA 10 card has empowered us to make wise business decisions concerning placing our associates and provided us with the confidence to have the tough conversations with our associates and clients concerning safety issues that may arise in the workplace. We have quarterly check-in conversations with our associates to confirm they are receiving the appropriate ongoing training, including participation in safety meetings run by our clients. We developed our Safety Hotline to provide a means for associates to report any safety hazards or concerns anonymously. Associates receive a high-visibility safety T-shirt imprinted with “Safety is everybody’s job … my job, your job!” For some clients, these shirts have become the daily attire for our associates. Associates and staff are encouraged to post pictures of themselves sporting their safety T-shirt on our social media page during National Safety Month. We also provide weekly safety tips via our social media accounts.
How does your organization measure safety? What are the leading indicators that show you how safe your organization is, and where do you see room for improvement?
Safety is ever-changing for us because as our client base changes, so does the workplace landscape – what works today may need to be altered tomorrow. For starters, we track and review quarterly the nature and types of incidents, as well as the lag time to report by the client. This allows us to identify potential issues among specific clients that can be addressed head on. This also provides leading indicators of new hazards, which we incorporate into our client safety audits. Having interactive discussions with our clients concerning their safety programs, as well as their leading and lagging indicators, has helped GPS understand the risks involved at various industrial environments. Just a few of the leading indicators we look for at client locations are job hazard analyses, safety meeting content, safety training content, safety committees and incident investigations with corrective actions. GPS is constantly looking for new and inventive ways to ensure the safety of our employees.
What role does off-the-job safety play in your organization’s overall safety program? What types of off-the-job safety and health programs does your organization offer to employees?
The overall health and safety of our associates and staff is at the core of our business model. The OSHA 10 class allowed our staff to feel empowered, confident and knowledgeable concerning safety hazards both at work and at home. We have had some spouses complain of new “honey-do lists” with household safety projects. We conduct routine safety drills that include hurricane, fire and active shooter situations to ensure our staff knows what to do and how to keep themselves safe. Our safety specialist routinely emails seasonal safety tips to include both home and work safety tips. Our staff is provided with two monthly newsletters concerning healthy choice decisions for everyday life situations. We distribute the National Safety Council’s Family Safety & Health magazine to each of our offices, as well as to our active clients, providing continued safety awareness and education.