<![CDATA[Argo Extractive Solutions - Blog]]>Mon, 05 Oct 2020 00:52:45 +1100Weebly<![CDATA[4 STEPS TO IMPROVING SAFETY CULTURE IN THE EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY - Part 3]]>Fri, 11 Sep 2020 10:12:29 GMThttp://argoes.com.au/blog_safetyculture/4-steps-to-improving-safety-culture-in-the-extractive-industry-part-3
STEP 4 – Develop a plan to implement changes to the company’s safety culture
Now that the desired company culture has been identified and analysed, a number of steps can align and manage these changes. These can be part of the implementation process, start with 1 or 2 in each step and build on this over time to achieve the desired results.

  1. Align the company values, vision and goals with strategies and processes: If the performance vision is to prioritise safety this can be achieved by revising strategies, systems, policies and procedures, so that the employees have access to all the information required to improve safety. Also align this with HR processes and the selection processes for hiring new talent, inhouse performance management and promotion.
  2. Involve stakeholders in defining SMART goals: For the areas that require improvement or new thinking set goals, create new plans and approaches as a team to support the behaviour that is needed. Finally, work together and set goals on ways to support existing behaviours that the business would like to continue and develop further.  
  3. Measure and report on performance: People need to know what is required from them and how it will be measured and reported. This gives them something concrete to aim for and provides a guide for actions and achievements. 
  4. Develop a Communication plan: A communication plan outlines who you need to communicate with, how you should do this, about what and how often. An excellent example of a stakeholder communications plan is by SPARC sporting body in NZ and could be adapted to any business.
  5. Use feedback and recognition to build motivation: Welcome feedback; both positive and negative and share and celebrate any positive changes. When changes haven’t been successful, re-connect and re-engage stakeholders and negotiate adjustments. Employees work best when they feel valued, have a purpose and can make an impact on something and usually respond to recognition and reward when it considers who they are.

Employing the right people in the extractive industry
If you have made the change toward developing a positive safety culture within your business, then ideally you want to employ new recruits whose values align with the company culture you want to achieve.
Workplace values and their importance
By now you have a good understanding of the values and culture you are aiming towards or have already developed. These are the company’s guiding principles and determine the behaviours that are valued and the ones that are not.
They might include:
  • Working together
  • Completing deadlines
  • Looking out for your workmates and ensuring safety guidelines are followed
  • Honesty and respect
  • Reliability
  • Being a team member
  • Ensuring safety over speed
  • Showing tolerance
  • Respecting company policy and procedure
  • Following company guidelines
  • Being accountable 
This builds a common purpose when values are aligned, and everyone is working towards the company achieving its core vision.
“When values are out of alignment, people work towards different goals, with different intentions, and with different outcomes. This can damage work relationships, productivity, job satisfaction, and creative potential.” 
How to identify potential employees that will best fit the company’s values and culture
When looking for new staff, you need to learn what behaviours and attitudes they value in the workplace. People can be trained to learn new skills or gain further experience; however, it can be challenging and disruptive to get employees to change their values.
While many businesses have a HR department that is skilled finding the right people for the job, many smaller businesses don’t have that luxury. It is useful to gain some understanding on how to find people who are a good fit for your business. 
Asking the right questions
You could ask questions like these:
  • Describe a time when you had to work with a wide variety of people. How did you go about identifying and understanding their points of view? How did you adapt your own working style to work more effectively with these people? What was the outcome?
  • Has there ever been a time when your beliefs clashed with someone else’s on your team? If so, how did you overcome these differences?
An article on LinkedIn by Terra Carbert has some great interview questions specifically for safety and are worth a read. 
Every company is different and if you have completed the culture web discussed previously you will have a good understanding of where your company culture stands and where you want it to be. It is also a good idea to analyse the characteristics of current and previous staff, including their positive and negative traits. From this, create a list that will support your company culture, and this will provide the framework for structuring the questions to determine the traits you are looking for.

Potential employees work history
Take time to research and find out about the company the candidate previously worked for and what values and reputation they have. Consider this with an open mind and why the candidate left the job, perhaps it was because the culture was not a good fit.
Ask questions relating to the employee’s values when talking to the candidate’s references. Consider how they respond to management and rules, follow safety guidelines, and worked as part of a team.

The new company culture!
Changing the company culture takes time, commitment, planning and hard work. The benefits, however, are far reaching and influence most aspects of the business. It can be financially; through better production, less sick leave and injury, utilisation of best practices and processes which all affect the bottom line. A good company culture develops good morale with people working together towards common goals. The company often becomes recognised as an employer of choice and attracts further great talent. Additionally, if the company culture is healthy than staff turnover is usually lower. 
The new culture ideally would have:  
At the end of the day we want people to buy into a safety culture to keep them safe, reduce injuries, prevent exposure and damage from chemicals and dust and have everyone return home each day safely to their families.

<![CDATA[4 STEPS TO IMPROVING SAFETY CULTURE IN THE EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY - Part 2]]>Fri, 11 Sep 2020 10:01:37 GMThttp://argoes.com.au/blog_safetyculture/4-steps-to-improving-safety-culture-in-the-extractive-industry-part-2 ​How to improve company culture in the extractive industry
A lot of advice on how to improve safety within businesses suggests that changes to company culture need to be made in order for this to happen, but they don’t provide the details on how to actually do this. This is easy to say but not so easy to implement, and it is necessary to refer to experts and research to develop the structure and plan to make this process successful. The following model devised by Johnson and Scholes is the Cultural Web Model and it is very useful in devising a plan for tackling the business culture and developing change.
These six elements have been called the Paradigm, that is the model or pattern of the work environment. The model involves looking at the organisational culture now, how you would like the culture to be, and finally identifying the gaps between the two and working on these to implement the changes.
The cultural web diagram for changing business culture
The Cultural Web Diagram
STEP 1 – Analyse the current culture in your extractive business
In order to analyse the current culture, the following questions need to be asked across the whole organisation, including customers and stakeholders.
Myths and stories
  • What stories are being told about the organisation?
  • What stories are being told to new recruits?
  • What is communicated about the company’s reputation to customers and stakeholders?
  • What is being told about the history of the company?
Examples (Mobile Crushing business):
  • They are big on safety but then they don’t seem to worry about using stepladders to work above 1.8m and they don’t have any guarding around some of the machines
  • All the paperwork is in place, but people aren’t following it and it is not addressed
  • Repairs need to be completed quickly and sometimes shortcuts are taken
  • How is the company perceived by clients, staff and management?
  • What images are associated with the company?
  • How is the company advertised?
  • Are there any status symbols used?
  • All vehicles have signwriting and are late model
  • All have company shirts
  • The office is well appointed and gives a very good first impression
  • The branding is well co-ordinated, and people often think the company is bigger than it is
Power Structures
  • Who holds the real power within the business?
  • Who has influence over the company’s decision makers?
  • What are the beliefs about the leaders within the company?
  • How is the power used within the organisation?
  • The manager has a lot of say in decisions outside of his branch
  • It takes a long time for decisions to be made including repairs to machinery 
  • People not in the direct management line know about other people’s private business
Organisation Structures
  • How is the structure organised, is it a hierarchal or flat structure?
  • Is the authority delivered formally or informally?
  • Are there formal or informal lines of authority?
  • Hierarchal structure – Owner, Branch Manager, Operators, Mechanics, Reception.
  • The administration officer is the owner's wife, so she doesn’t always follow the procedures for approval
  • There is little teamwork, often mechanics are pitted against each other and they don’t share tools or supplies.
Control Systems
  • Which processes are the strongest and which are the weakest?
  • Is the company loosely or tightly controlled?
  • Are employees rewarded for good performance or punished for poor work?
  • Is there reports and processes used to control operations such as finance etc.?
  • A lot of spreadsheets are used, and it is hard to track data sometimes as it is not all in one place
  • Getting the job done as quickly as possible is desired and at the lowest cost.
Rituals and Routines
  • What do customers experience and expect from the organisation?
  • What do employees expect when they arrive each day?
  • What would happen if a particular routine was changed?
  • Do these routines encourage particular behaviours?
  • If there was a new problem what rules would be applied?
  • What organisational beliefs do these rituals and routines reflect?
  • Large corporate customers wined and dined other customers spoken badly about
  • Employees expect to be monitored on their whereabouts through GPS tracking
  • There's lots of talk about money, and especially about how to get things done quickly and cheaply.
  • Masks are available for dust suppression, but most don’t wear them, and no other dust control measures seem to be in place

STEP 2 – Analyse the ideal culture!
Once this data is collected and the current cultural web is completed and recorded, it is necessary to put together another cultural web reflecting what the company would like the culture to be.
STEP 3 – Identify the differences between the companies two cultural webs
When identifying the gaps or differences between the two cultural webs, it is important to consider the company’s strategic aims and objectives.
The following questions should be asked:
  • What strengths were identified in the current culture of the business?
  • What aspects of the current culture are not aligned with the company’s objectives and strategies?
  • What characteristics of the current culture are harmful to the productivity of the business?
  • What characteristics of the current culture would you like to encourage and see continue?
  • What new behaviours and values does the company need to promote?
Put these together in table in the attached Template to create the framework!

Check out Part 3 of this blog for more tips on how to change the safety culture.

<![CDATA[4 STEPS TO IMPROVING SAFETY CULTURE IN THE EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY - Part 1]]>Tue, 08 Sep 2020 10:43:31 GMThttp://argoes.com.au/blog_safetyculture/september-08th-2020Picture
​How to get employees to buy into the company’s safety program? In an ideal world, all our employees would use common sense, be accountable, look out for each other, look after machinery and work towards common goals –a ‘shared sense of purpose and shared alignment to the mission’ (Navy Seal culture). 

Most people are willing and capable of doing this in the right environment. We all know that it is important to have a company culture that supports employees and empowers them, so how do we actually create this? What happens if you have provided training, have policies and procedures in place, your management are onboard but some of your staff are still not following safety guidelines? We aim to give you some practical tips on how to create a more effective culture in your business. 
The impact of workplace injuries and diseases 
Fortunately, research shows that companies that create a culture of safety in the workplace have demonstrated a reduction in workplace illness and injury by up to 40%. 
This is significant as workplace injury and illness obviously affects a company’s bottom line. The cost to the Australian community, employers and workers, according to Safe Work Australia, is shown in the figure below. 

The importance of creating a great company culture with a focus on safety

A company’s workplace culture is vital in influencing the organisation’s production output and safety protocol. You can have all the right systems in place but without the right culture in your organisation, you can run into resistance and lack of buy-in to procedures and policies. A positive workplace culture recognises that staff need to know they are supported; which training, systems and structure will provide. With clear guidelines and intent that is well articulated, employees can become more autonomous, rather than being micromanaged. Employees work best when they feel valued, have a purpose and can make an impact on something and usually respond to recognition and reward when it considers who they are - their likes and interests. 
The employer and management also need to demonstrate the company values and beliefs regarding safety, it is not just enough to write policies and guidelines - they must lead by example. For example, the employees need to be sure that it is a priority for management to value safety over speed.
DHL Express are considered a leader in creating a positive workplace culture. The following article is worth a read to gain some insight into how they went about this. 

Disney is also considered to have a great work culture and they attribute much of their success to the engagement of their employees. They are known for genuinely showing that the company values and cares for their employees. 
Why employees ignore safety guidelines
It is useful to look at why employees do not respond to safety guidelines and take risks. It is important to get to the root of the problems and understand the assumptions and values that are in place to create this work environment. As stated in Hazmat School
It could be related to the following:
  • They don’t believe safety measures are important to their superiors.
  • They feel invincible after having done a task so many times without incident.
  • They assume cutting a safety corner here or there won’t be enough to get them hurt.
  • They are in a hurry and believe speed is more important than safety.
  • They are unaware of hazards because they lack proper training.
What is required is a shift in these beliefs and values before the culture will change. As a manager or employer, you might be saying to yourself that you do all the right things, provide training, policies and procedures, and the staff know that they need to follow the safety guidelines, yet it still doesn’t happen.

Interestingly, a study by Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield showed that many companies display significant discrepancies between the company culture that management want, and think is in place, compared to how the employees see the company culture.
“They found while leaders say they want innovation, initiative, candour and teamwork; what employees feel is really valued, is obedience, predictability, deference to authority and competition with peers. Employees say their leaders hype one set of behaviours but reward another.” ​    

Check out Part 2 of this blog for tips on how to change the safety culture.