How HopSkipDrive built a safety-obsessed organization
Written by Michelle McCombs
At HopSkipDrive, “safety is everything” is one of our core values. From the very beginning, safety has been at the forefront of everything we do. But just how does the entire team here at HopSkipDrive live the “safety is everything” value in practice?
Here are just some of the many things we do to support a culture of safety — and enable it to thrive — as we work together every day to pursue our mission to create opportunity for all through mobility.
We hire for it
We bring on people who truly seem to connect to, and understand the importance of, the company’s mission. HopSkipDrive was founded by three moms who were looking to solve a problem in order to help children, parents and families. The work we do is meaningful and mission-driven by nature, so it’s essential that HopSkipDrive employees feel inspired by the company’s mission — and aligned with its values.
We train for it
We make sure every employee goes through our safety training within the first two weeks of starting at HopSkipDrive.
As part of this training, we cover what we would do if there was a safety concern, how they play a part in our action plan and how important it is to have a safety mindset at all times.
We own it
We make sure everyone who contributes to our mission understands how their role connects to the pivotal element of safety at HopSkipDrive. Our team is very cross-functional, and everyone across the organization can speak to how they help own the safety function in some way. We’ve even set up a cross-functional safety team to make sure we have all teams in the room when safety decisions are being made.
We take owning our safety reputation so seriously that we publish an annual Safety Report, which highlights our safety record. And we are the first company in the student transportation industry to do so.
We set an example from the top
As a value, safety is emphasized consistently by our co-founder and CEO, Joanna McFarland, and the entire executive team. As a practice, safety is built into every aspect of our operations. The responsibility for living safety as a value comes from the top and trickles down.
We err on the side of safety, always
We put safety first always, in every situation. When issues arise that we haven’t experienced or solved for yet, we use safety as our guiding principle to quickly and confidently devise solutions. It’s our standard practice to make the best — and safest — decision for the entire HopSkipDrive community.
We review, iterate and improve
We are never happy with the status quo, so when we
experience a safety issue we always do an in-depth post-mortem to figure out if there is something we can change to prevent a recurrence. In fact, some of our industry-leading safety practices have been developed and implemented as a result of our ongoing dedication to reviewing, iterating and improving on our operations and processes.
We seek out and respect expertise
We seek out partnerships with and eagerly listen to people who have unique or safety-focused backgrounds. Ongoing advice and input from our Safety Advisory Board — which is made up of leaders of some of the most well-respected organizations on youth transportation safety — ensures that we are, and continue to be, a leader in safety.
The collective experiences and knowledge of our diverse and talented staff also contribute to our safety culture. Many members of our team are former teachers, school principals, special education leaders, student advocates and educational tech experts. Others have experience working as trust and safety managers, crisis counselors, suicide hotline volunteers and more.
We consider every possibility
We leave no stone unturned. We play out every possible scenario, and we are courageous enough to feel the fears, the stress and the worry of others. By putting ourselves in their shoes, we are able to adequately prepare and do everything we possibly can to meet the diverse needs of our education partners and clients, as well as the families who utilize the HopSkipDrive platform. We are always thinking about how we can protect the health and safety of everyone who uses the HopSkipDrive platform, including the Riders and CareDrivers who are at the heart of our mission.