Authentic leadership refers not only to leaders who model in both word and deed the behaviours they expect to see in their employees, but also to those leaders’ sincere commitment to the company’s core values. It is hard to be a believable role model from behind a desk, so it is leaders who build face to face relationships with the workforce, conducting safety interventions and asking the right questions, who are perceived as authentic and worth emulating.
Control of Work is the sum of all systems, processes and procedures put in place both to prevent unsafe situations and to promote desirable practices. Just as authentic leaders reinforce healthy values through their words and actions, they also help ensure that these “controls” reflect what the company values and align with what they want to achieve.
Learning and Development encompasses not only individual competencies and professional skill sets or certifications, but also organisational learning. The latter specifically targets cultural factors and interpersonal skills such as giving effective feedback, cultivating trust and the importance of integrity.
Communication is often and justifiably referenced in relation to organisational culture. Specifically, what is (and is not) communicated and how it is conveyed matters, as does the flow of information. Does it move efficiently in two directions, both up and down an organisation’s hierarchy?
Role of the HSE cannot be ignored when establishing a culture that values safety, since safety is literally part of its title. Moreover, health, safety and environmental concerns are by nature interdepartmental, making HSE a valuable partner in representing a company’s cultural values at all levels and in all subsections.
Workforce Engagement is crucial, since culture ultimately resides in individuals’ actions and attitudes. When the other dimensions are activated and harmonised, workforce engagement is facilitated. Nonetheless, an active effort should be made to win workers’ willing compliance with safety initiatives, HSE procedures, learning and development programs, etc. Taking their engagement for granted is a mistake.
Letting care guide culture
There is one more ingredient we at DEKRA OR have discovered makes a substantial difference in questions of organisational culture: care. When human beings care about something, they express their concern and interest through what they say and do. In an industrial setting, care for people, the plant and processes means letting people know they are important by expressing concern verbally or through actions and programs that communicate that sentiment; it means taking good care of the work environment, machinery, devices, protective equipment, etc. out of a sense of respect for the workplace and a desire to optimise performance; it means following protocols and adhering to established procedures in the knowledge that they are designed to streamline productivity or guarantee safety.