April 27, 2021 / Larry Sloan

Preparing for Our Next Strategic Plan

Recently, AIHA conducted a brief survey of approximately one thousand members, representing various demographic groups, to identify issues to consider as part of our efforts to update the association’s strategic plan for 2022–2024. For those of you who participated in the survey, thank you for your feedback! It will prove valuable as we set our strategic direction for the coming years.

Ten percent of those invited to take the survey submitted responses. In this post, I will highlight a few key findings from the survey across three age groups.

The first question asked members to identify the top three issues facing the profession that are within the purview of the federal government. Here are the top-ranked issues by age bracket:

  • For those aged 34 or younger: regulations (for example, OSHA compliance and EPA’s risk assessments for the Toxic Substances Control Act), coordination of efforts between the federal and state governments, and funding for new OEHS research
  • For those 35 to 54: regulations, coordination of efforts between the federal and state governments, and funding for new OEHS research
  • For those 55 or older: regulations, coordination of efforts between the federal and state governments, and congressional legislation

Next, we asked members to prioritize the top three technology-based issues:

  • 34 or younger: direct-read instruments, big data, and machine learning
  • 35 to 54: big data, direct-read instruments, and virtual/augmented reality
  • 55 or older: big data, direct-read instruments, and virtual/augmented reality

In terms of global trends, our members thought these issues would have the most impact on the profession:

  • 34 or younger: shifts toward alternative energy sources, climate change, and changes in trade policy (free trade vs. protectionism)
  • 35 to 54: increased attention to corporate ESG (environmental, social, governance) metrics, alternative energy, and the rise of emerging economies around the world
  • 55 and older: climate change, ESG, and alternative energy

Finally, in terms of demographic challenges, the responses were the same for all three age groups: filling the pipeline (attracting new talent to the profession), awareness of the profession, and the impact of changing workforce demographics (that is, the aging population).

It is encouraging to see that many of AIHA’s strategic priorities are well aligned with the issues identified in the survey. As an example, work related to our content priorities is advancing our understanding of such topics as big data and the changing workforce. Beginning with our response to the pandemic last year, we have launched a multi-faceted campaign aimed at attracting students (filling the pipeline) and educating business leaders and other stakeholders (promoting awareness of the profession).

The survey also asked respondents to indicate which AIHA activities provide the most value to members. Here are the top responses:

  • 35 or younger: promoting awareness of the profession, followed by delivering education
  • 35 to 54: delivering education, followed by providing networking and communication opportunities
  • 55 or older: promoting awareness, followed by delivering education

There is a wealth of information contained as well in the open-ended responses to various questions. Some of this information has been shared with our International Affairs Committee as many respondents offered their perspectives on what more AIHA should be doing on global issues related to the profession. In addition, technology-based comments were shared with our Technology Initiatives Strategic Advisory Group (TI-SAG).

The Strategic Planning Task Force is now reviewing the data and assessing how this information should inform our next strategic plan. You’ll be hearing more about this in a future blog.

Larry Sloan

Larry Sloan is AIHA’s CEO.


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