Undertaking transformational change – don’t let your Health and Safety performance suffer.

“Transformation” is the buzz word being bandied around during these challenging economic times, but what exactly is “Transformational Change” and how is it going to increase efficiency, reduce cost, whilst still providing sustainable health, safety and environmental (HSE) performance improvement? That’s the 60 billion dollar question…

In essence “Transformational Change” is about moving from the status quo or “As Is” state, to something totally new. The risk with undertaking a transformation program is that we don’t realise the value of the change due to lack of clear vision, direction, planning, engagement and implementation.

Before embarking on a Transformational Change we have to take a step back and look at what’s not working for us now, so we do not replicate this in the future.

We need to do some navel gazing and understand why we are not performing at our optimum.

Is it because:

  • Our culture is stagnant and we have outmoded ideas and thinking?
  • We have let office politics and personal ego infiltrate the organisation?
  • We have promoted “group think” due to the lack of diversity in our teams?
  • We allowed our team to dig the holes in the wrong place (lack of vision, direction, planning and accountability)?
  • Of the overly bureaucratic systems and process embedded within our organisation?
  • We don’t have integrity and operational discipline?

There can be thousands of reasons why we need to “transform” from “As Is” to our aspirational state, but we really need to be sure that we have the business basics in place to ensure the transition to Utopia is achievable and more importantly sustainable.

We all know of the tried and tested ways to “Transform” organisations, things like:

  • Cutting 20% of the workforce (usually focusing on functional areas such as HSE and HR and stripping back of maintenance);
  • Reducing training and development;
  • Slashing contractor rates by 10-20% (or as much as we can);
  • Focusing on low hanging fruit (buying 8 widgets instead of 10);
  • Assessing maintenance and reliability processes to identify improvement areas; and / or
  • Rationalise systems and processes.

Many transformation programs are criticised as being short sighted and focused on “toe-cutting” which in turn causes more inefficiency within an organisation over the long term.

When a transformation initiative is not well managed, including effective stakeholder analysis, engagement and communication workforce distraction is a real possibility. Workforce distraction = inefficiency, cost increase, loss of market share, potential for mental health issues, and more frighteningly fatalities.

But seriously if we are honest, will those types of initiatives listed above lead to real Transformation? …or really at its most elemental form, is “Transformation” really just about getting back to the basics of robust business management system implementation to produce the business outcomes and value proposition we aspire to?

Do you think it is possible to completely “Transform” an organisation by simply doing the right things continually? I do.

When you think about business management systems, they are a number of systems and process which, when well implemented will produce efficiency gains, cost reduction and continual performance improvement in health and safety, environment (HSE) and quality. Is that transformation?

Business management systems force continual improvement through:

  • Business Planning (Vision, Objectives, Targets and Monitoring);
  • Risk Management;
  • Leadership and Accountability;
  • Management of Change;
  • Training, awareness and competency;
  • Consultation and Communication;
  • Contractor Management;
  • Supply and Procurement strategy;
  • Continual improvement through inspections, monitoring, audits and self- assessment;
  • Management Review.

If we had a robust business management system in place we would have:

  • A clear vision and planning program in place to manage the future;
  • The right number of people, doing the right things the right way;
  • The appropriate maintenance and reliability strategy;
  • Continual monitoring and performance improvement.

In our opinion this will result in continual transformation and sustainability.

 

Article by USSA Global on April 19, 2015 in Health and Safety Consultants Perth

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