By William Rish, PhD  |   March 22nd, 2016
Issues associated with environmental risk are being used to support polarized views, sometimes masking more relevant issues that need resolution. At the heart of the disparity is that technical assessments of risks are often very different from the public perceptions of those same risks.  This public perception of a risk is often what advocacy groups will utilize to support their agenda.  This keeps the discussion emotionally charged and one that will not be swayed by technical reports and empirical data. 
Now, I want to be very clear about something.  The emotional reaction to risk is real and has to be responded to.  We do not, nor have we ever advocated the dismissal of public perception when we undertake an environmental risk project.  We are in the business of measuring and reporting and most importantly - communicating.  Our metrics, numbers and results are useless if we cannot communicate them in a manner specifically tailored to the needs of those impacted. It is important to remember that risk is defined by many people as when there is a perception that harm may come to something they value.    
There is a growing body of study on risk communication, perception and acceptance. Universities now have programs that specialize in the field.  Unfortunately, while our knowledge of risk communication grows we are still ineffective in practice.  “Facts” can be helpless in the face of perceptions.
Risk communication must be based on understanding the different “languages” spoken.  Translation must occur between those involved in their psychologically and socially grounded perception and the science of risk measurement and analysis. This translation can result in a more effective and interactive approach that is based on DIALOGUE.  Only then can exceptional listening, mutual respect and conversation replace the typical dynamic of “lecturing” about technical risks.  Improved risk communication practices can help ease anxiety, build trust and support informed decision making.
We must move away from the typical risk communication model characterized by the scientific expert presenting “facts” to "educate” community members.  This method has failed time after time and always results in frustration.  Better risk communication is critically needed and we know the way. 
William Rish, PhD, HullRAC Director
William (Bill) is a Principal and the Vice President of Hull's Environmental Market at Hull.  He also directs The HULL Risk Analysis Center (HullRAC) and has over 30 years of experience in risk assessment, decision analysis, and environmental consulting. 
Bill has been on the forefront of environmental liability evaluation, including the development of probabilistic techniques for quantifying environmental liability associated with contaminated sites in financial terms, and is published expert and expert witness in risk assessment and uncertainty analysis.
Bill received a Ph.D. in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie‑Mellon University.
By April Kozubal, SHRM-SCP  |   March 4th, 2016
Employee appreciation day is today - but if you really think about it, every day provides us opportunities to appreciate each other.
There are no shortage of sacrifices made by our employees on any given day.  
The coworker who gets called out to an emergency response site to help you on their day off;
The employee who works late into the evening for days on end to submit a proposal or meet a client deadline;
The project manager who takes on extra work so a peer can take some well-deserved time off and;
The staff members that hit the road on a regular basis working to create opportunities for our business.
What about the few individuals that take the time to load and unload the dishwasher, decorate spaces for the Holidays and organize casual events that boost morale?  Pay just a small amount of attention and you will see those around you making extra effort. Whom they benefit is secondary to the effort itself.  In truth, you can even be thankful for a piece of constructive criticism that will contribute to your professional or personal growth.  
So, what do we do to show our appreciation in a way that contributes to our corporate culture?  Liz Jazwiec, author of Eat That Cookie!: Make Workplace Positivity Pay Off … For Individuals, Teams and Organizations has outlined some ways to encourage appreciation.
  • Say “thanks”. Show your appreciation on the most basic level at every opportunity. 
  • Adopt an “it’s the thought that counts” attitude. It’s possible that something very well intended didn’t work out.  Be grateful just the same.
  • Communicate openly and honestly. If you find yourself needing to feel appreciated a bit more…say so.
  • Be prepared for kind words. Accept recognition graciously. 
  • Thank those you serve.  Clients put their trust in us…thank them for doing so.
Gratitude encourages repeat performances and it can takes very little effort.  The most amazing thing we need to recognize is that infusing gratitude into the workplace can come from anyone, regardless of position. Once people feel truly appreciated, it spills over into their work life and their home life.  You may notice that smiles come more easily, extra effort is offered with more frequency, and quality of work increases.  To be appreciated is to be visible, integral and recognized.
We are committed to working together to grow a culture of appreciation…are you?
April Kozubal, SHRM-SCP, Human Resources Director
April Kozubal is an HR leader with 20 years of experience.  
She is a Senior Certified Professional with the Society of Human Resources Management
and loves to get to know people and learn what inspires them.  
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