Subscription models are relatively rare for safety vendors. Sure, some safety consultants may be on a monthly retainer. And safety managers at large facilities may have to order new PPE so frequently that it feels like they have a monthly subscription for protective equipment. But actual subscription pricing isn’t always easy to find in the safety industry.
The concept of subscription pricing is relatively straightforward: instead of paying a lump-sum price for goods or services, you pay a smaller recurring amount on a regular basis (usually monthly, quarterly or annually) for ongoing access to whatever it is you’re buying. It’s a common model in media—think Netflix and cable packages—but it’s also a great fit for training initiatives and other safety services that are used on a regular basis.
Here are four of the biggest value points for safety folks who buy from vendors offering subscription pricing.
Reduces sticker shock
No matter how you look at it, safety is expensive. It’s expensive when safety is done poorly, because the direct costs of injuries can pile up quickly, and the indirect costs of lost-time injuries (like loss of productivity) can drag down the bottom line for years.
But safety is also pricey when it’s done right. PPE can be a big-ticket line item when it’s added altogether. The downtime required for safety training can be expensive. And the cost of paying for a new safety initiative can be high. Financial executives frequently balk at the price tag on essential upgrades to safety training, even if the cost-benefit analysis is clear.
Just because you get what you pay for doesn’t mean that senior leaders are willing to spend. There are many tactics to overcome sticker shock, but one of the most straightforward ones is to find a training vendor who offers subscription pricing.
Psychologically, it can make the cost of safety purchases feel more palatable. It can also help with cash flow and may provide a bit more budgetary wiggle room. And the lower up-front costs can be persuasive. All in all, subscription-based safety offerings are an effective way to overcome price-based objections from the CFO.
A subscription model makes it easier for safety folks to make a financial case for a new safety initiative. It also helps them to secure funding for multiple years, which can go a long way toward preventing a new initiative from stalling out after the first year.
Ease of onboarding new employees
Onboarding new employees in safety is one of the notable challenges for many companies, but it can be a particularly daunting task when it comes to educating recent hires on safety. Among the many obstacles is accessing training material from a program that you rolled out a year or two ago.
Perhaps the most frequently overlooked benefits of safety on a subscription model is the ease with which it allows you to get new workers up to speed on safety training initiatives. Because of the ongoing contract with the vendor or trainer, you can easily get the training resources and support to educate new hires. You can also more reliably count on the vendor working just as hard to train new employees as they did with the initial training rollout.
That way, if you’ve implemented a transformative human factors training program and everyone on the shop floor is suddenly talking about self-triggering and keeping mind on task, you’ll be able to quickly get new employees up to speed on the concepts and lingo. It also lets you avoid having two tiers of workers—those who have been through all the safety training, and those who haven’t.
Updates and new material
As a safety professional, you’re constantly refining the safety management system in your workplace. (You’re also probably developing your personal safety leadership skills.) And you should expect the same from safety vendors too—that they’re continually improving their product to make it more effective.
But there’s just one problem—if you’re already paid for the safety training, the PPE, or the safety consultation and advisory services, then you’re not going to see the benefits of the new-and-improved product unless you pay for it again.
Unless, of course, you’ve signed a contract for a subscription plan. In these cases, you’re likely to get the improved product—like additional training material and resources added to a core training unit—right away. And because you’re paying on an ongoing basis, the vendor is incentivized to keep improving their offering in order to keep you as a client, making it doubly valuable to partner with organizations on a subscription basis.
Commitment and trust
The secret to a positive safety climate is trust. Without it, you’re going to have a hard time getting traction among employees for safety. While trust is a valuable contributor to long-term safety engagement, it’s also a surprisingly influential factor in working with safety vendors.
One of the side effects of paying for safety training on a subscription basis is a heightened sense of trust in the vendor. You become more confident that the vendor will be there, month after month, to resolve issues and offer advice. The nature of your relationship changes from a buyer-seller interaction to a long-term partnership. The vendor doesn’t just sell you goods and services, but they become part of your workplace’s safety ecosystem.
From the vendor’s perspective, they recognize the commitment you’re making by signing up for a subscription service and they’re likely to meet it with their own commitment to your success. It’s hard to overstate the potential impact of a strong degree of trust and commitment between your workplace and a good safety vendor—and it all starts with a subscription model as the foundation.
Employees aren’t blind to all of this either. They’ll recognize that the new initiative isn’t just a flavor-of-the-month and that the company is dedicated to making it work. This can provide a shot in the arm for the organization’s safety culture and help secure employee buy-in.
All told, there are plenty of benefits to safety training on a subscription basis. From financial considerations like lower up-front costs to ease of onboarding of new hires and ensuring the vendor will work harder to maintain the value of the relationship, it makes sense to ask safety vendors whether they offer their services on a subscription model—or to look for a vendor who does.