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Joël Richer, National Health & Safety Leader, Emco Corporation

Joël Richer: Determined to Safeguard Employee Safety

In this volatile business world, a few companies genuinely embrace change and encourage new teammates to become leaders and challenge the status quo, which is what Joël Richer sought when he interviewed at Emco Corporation.
Joël is the National Health & Safety Leader at Emco, where he is determined to oversee the Health, Safety, and Wellness program for over 2500 employees across Canada. He coordinates with Profit Center Managers across the nation helping them to become more efficient by streamlining operations and putting controls in place to protect their assets, people, and customers.
Joël has influenced numerous people in his life and continues to do so with his sheer dedication through his work. His hard work and perseverance gained him the knowledge and experience to improve his expertise in Risk Management and Health & Safety.
In our endeavor to find 40 influencers under 40, we at Insights Success came across Joël Richer and got into a conversation to know in-depth about his journey as the National Health & Safety Leader and unveil the distinct possibilities in the near future. Let’s dive in straight away.
The Journey So Far
Joël worked at a publicly-traded bank in accounts receivables and compliance for seven years while completing his Masters Degree in History. He wanted a change and kept searching for an organization to utilize his analytical skillset, ambition, and work ethic to help them reach their goals.
While interviewing for the role of Internal Auditor, Joël realized that Emco Corporation would be his home for a long time as the Core Values of the company and investment in its people resonated with what he was seeking. He took the job as an internal auditor looking for ways to improve efficiency, maximize profitability for Emco’s local business units, and minimize risk exposure.
Over the years, Joël has played multiple roles in the organization, and after five years, he was designated as the National Health and Safety Leader. At the time, Emco’s Health and Safety program was adequate, but there was a real need for leadership to create better awareness, alignment, and involvement to reduce risk, and most importantly, keep its people safe. As someone who grew up with a father left permanently disabled and unable to work from a workplace injury, Joël understood the ripple effects that workplace accidents could have and wanted to approach the development of a best-in-class Health and Safety program in a non-traditional way.
Joël is focused on enhancing the National Health and Safety Program. Once there was alignment on the need for action, he started implementing small changes over time that have led to significant reductions in recordable injuries, better awareness, improved inspections, improved training completion, safer work environments, and improved overall H&S culture.
With all initiatives, Emco consistently reinforces the goal of moving from Reactive to Proactive, from Tactical to Strategic, and from Compliance Mindset to Culture Shift.
Mission and Vision
Emco’s mission is to be the first choice for its partners, business and homeowners, neighbors, and communities. Emco strives to provide world-class service at every location, every day. Its legacy goes back a century! And, today, it continues to offer the people, places, and products to back those commitments up.
Emco’s vision is total customer satisfaction…always. Emco believes every customer’s needs are important and unique, and it uses this as a guiding principle to stock its shelves.
Impactful Approach Through Different Perspective
As the one member of the internal audit team without a formal business/financial educational background, Joël was often able to approach challenges and decisions from a slightly different perspective, which may have helped create some balance at times of crucial decision making.
Joël expresses that perhaps his lack of expertise, rather than his specialization in some areas, allowed him to have the greatest impact in his industry and organization. Joël’s initiatives to make organizational improvements and find ways for Emco to be more efficient and successful were not married to some philosophy or learned process. It was based on gut, building relationships, and looking at things strategically to understand where challenges were present that could be eliminated.
A Secure Work Culture
Joël states that Emco’s number one strategic priority is the protection of all teammates, which is reflected by the organization’s safety mantra: ‘No One at Emco Gets Hurt.’ From a business perspective, this mindset is extended to the organization’s Core Values and Key Business Principles, where the philosophy is based on ‘creating a safe environment to take the risk.’ Emco prides itself on creating a high-performance culture by encouraging leaders to emphasize building their Dream Teams composed of S.W.A.N.’s (Smart – Works Hard – Ambitious – Nice).
Emco’s key business principles drive the organization forward. Its decentralized model allows its local leaders to think like owners and develop unique go-to-market strategies based on their respective client bases. The model also allows its local leaders to have the freedom to make independent business decisions with respect to almost every facet of their business. Everything from product mix to marketing to customer mix is decided and managed at the local level.
Leaping Ahead with Technology
Joël expresses that technology is evolving at a blistering pace, and this reality has impacted all industries. As a leader whose key stakeholders are internal clients, leveraging technology to make processes more efficient and increase profitability through time savings and cost reduction is important.
Notably, Emco has recently invested in a new ERP to allow the organization to have better connectivity and effectively future proof. It has also taken the step to modernize a few of its outward-facing technology through investments in a self-service portal where customers can view and pay invoices online or on mobile.
These technological innovations allow Emco to align with its evolving customer needs for speed and efficiency. Furthermore, on the Health and Safety front, it is investing in better data analysis to understand its underlying risks better and make value-added and targeted investments in safety.
The Long Run
Joël sees himself being involved in initiatives that help Emco minimize risk and maximize profitability by supporting its people and local leaders. In business, there is a constant need to evolve and be nimble to thrive, adds Joël. He sees himself and the organization finding ways to focus on initiatives that will help them remain ahead of the curve and provide value to their customers.
Leading the Up-and-Coming Entrepreneurs
Joël advises budding leaders and entrepreneurs to continually invest in themselves, work hard, be ambitious, and, most importantly, be authentic.
“The key to success is building powerful alignment with others, and to do that, you must be approachable, genuine, and stand for what you believe is the most progressive path forward in both business and life,” concludes Joël.