Follow The Leader - Rob Roe of Safetysquad.ie

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In the latest in our series of interviews with business leaders about their journey so far and plans for future success, we talk to Rob Roe, director of Safety Squad, a health and safety consultancy and training provider.


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Rob Roe began his career in marketing, but after a first-hand encounter with the tragedy of cardiac arrest, he set out to bring effective, engaging safety training and life-saving equipment to Irish businesses. Roe was previously the owner of Heartsafety Solutions, a defibrillator and safety-training firm, and director of Pyrogard, which provided fire-safety services to companies.

Safety Squad was founded in 2016 to help business owners comply with workplace health-and-safety legislation and provide them with access to safety professionals. Three years on, the ‘squad’ has more than tripled in numbers and business is booming.

What’s your business’s elevator pitch?

“Safety Squad takes a fresh approach to safety consultancy, training and supplies, operating nationwide. A workplace accident can ruin lives, so we help businesses manage all their safety requirements through one squad of professionals. We ensure fire and safety compliance and accident prevention through effective, engaging training materials that will really help your employees take their safety training on board.

“We’ve built a business approach based on a set of five-star principles. The first is five-star customer treatment: with more than 120 positive customer reviews on Google, we’ve proven we have a strong customer focus. The second is five-star safety services, with each star representing an area of compliance: safety management, safety statements, risk assessments, fire safety and safety training.”

What was the key motivation and raison d’être behind the business?

“I believed we could make a difference. Assembling a team of occupational health-and-safety specialists meant Safety Squad was built on a solid foundation.

“Helping others and empowering people is what motivates me, and our motto – ‘squad goals; save lives’ – is what drives the team’s passion and purpose.

“Health and safety is often viewed as being a boring, tick-box exercise when, in fact, its importance needs to be more widely recognised. We believe we can help staff avoid life-changing injuries with a common sense approach – and we want to help ordinary people do extraordinary things when it comes to safety. For instance, David Hand, an employee of one of our customers, 1escape Health Club in Smithfield, saved the life of a club member by administering CPR. He’d completed several safety training modules with us and stood out as a real hero.”


Recommended reading: Follow the Leader: Sinead Devlin


Looking back now at the early stages of Safety Squad, would you do anything differently in terms of leadership?

“It’s important to surround yourself with a group of people you can trust so you can let go and delegate day-to-day tasks.

“It’s easy to get caught up working in the business instead of on the business – your time is your most valuable asset, and it took me a while to realise that. I wish I’d spent more time working on business growth and setting long-term goals.”

What keeps you motivated to drive the business on?

“With Safety Squad, we believe we haven’t even scraped the surface of the potential the service has to help spread positive change in health and safety training practices. I’m constantly driven to keep going to see how far we can take the ‘squad’ on this journey.

“Health and safety is often viewed as being a boring, tick-box exercise when, in fact, its importance needs to be more widely recognised. We want to help ordinary people do extraordinary things when it comes to safety”

Rob Roe, director, Safety Squad

“In November 2016, I started the business with no customers and a dream of making my mark among the industry’s established safety companies. Coming up to our three-year birthday, our market share has increased and we have a squad of clients to be proud of, including Dublin Airport Central, Fáilte Ireland, the National Transport Authority, the National Disability Authority, Iconic Health Clubs, Tetrarch Hotel Group, Dublin Chamber of Commerce, eShopWorld, Henry J Lyons architects, My Taxi and many more.”

What does achievement and success look like for Safety Squad?

“Doing a job I love is success. I make sure to celebrate the small things: every new customer, every post shared on LinkedIn, every customer review on Google, every paid invoice.

“We’ve recently moved into a new office in Kilcarbery Business Park in Clondalkin and are in the process of hiring more members of the team. In the future we hope to continue to scale the company and take it from strength to strength.”


Recommended reading: Follow the Leader: Barry McCarthy, Assure Hedge


What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

“Two things: first, have an attitude of gratitude for everything you do. Second, when it comes to negotiations, always leave something on the table. Undercutting is a big thing in this industry, and it’s made me think a lot about my proposition and how to provide value. If you start negotiations by making sure you’re not hard balling your customers, then both parties win, which helps build trust.”

What is your proudest achievement to date?

“Building a strong reputation in the industry, which has been validated online. When people have had a good experience, it’s nice to read their feedback. We’re proud to have been rated as a five-star company with more than 100 customer recommendations on Google and Facebook.

“Winning an All-Ireland Micro Business Award for social media presence in 2019 was also a highlight.”

Which three words sum up your leadership approach?

“Humble, honest, creative.”

Did you have a role model or mentor who helped you establish and grow Safety Squad?

“When I started, I joined the South Dublin Local Enterprise Office, through which I was paired with two mentors.

“Sitting down face to face with my mentors on a regular basis was great for giving a structure to my business goals – you’re made to be accountable for the progress you have or haven’t made, and encouraged to maintain momentum.”

How are you preparing and planning for Brexit?

“My AED and first-aid supplies come from UK-based companies, so we’ve just been building those relationships and making sure that out supply lines are solid. Only time will tell what happens with Brexit.”

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