The link between HR and HSE are not difficult to find. But the integration of safety into other classical HR processes such as recruitment, retention, promotion leadership etc. is equally important.
First-class HSE performance involves more than applying a safety management system and being equipped with safety equipment. It requires real embedment of a genuine HSE mind-set at all levels of the organisation.
For this to happen, the HSE strategies should be closely linked to the overall company HR initiatives and strategies. Only by doing this the HSE initiative will be properly embedded at all levels of the organisation. Good HSE performance is not created by placing the responsibility with a few people in the safety department; everybody needs to be in the loop to ensure real organisation anchorage.
It is indisputable that safety has to be integrated in the HR strategy and the safety strategy must be aligned with classical human resource responsibilities specifically related to learning and development. In order to develop safety competencies the company competence management system must fulfil two components: 1) it must include proper evaluation of employee safety performance and 2) all training programmes need to integrate – to the highest degree possible – a strong safety focus.
The link between HR and HSE are not difficult to find. But the integration of safety into other classical HR processes such as recruitment, retention, promotion leadership etc. is equally important. Safety should, in other words, become in integrated part of any HR process, strategy or initiative. And just like the HR is an important tool in supporting a company’s business plan and goals, a strong HSE performance is the same.
Linking HSE and HR provides winnings both ways. Seen from the HSE perspective the key benefits for linking the HSE strategy with the HR are the following:
HSE initiatives are giving the required attention
Making HSE part of the HR strategy and processes (e.g. in connection with recruitment, promotion, appraisal processes, career plan etc.) demonstrates tangible commitment from top management and broad engagement from the organisation as a whole. Furthermore, when HR and HSE caretakers share the same values they will agree on priorities and focus areas which is vital for developing a common perception of the wanted HSE culture. This will also work as a motivation for leaders and staff to contribute and support the HSE inititatives.
When HSE is part of the HR strategy it will also be the basis for goal setting and measurement of results. And what gets measured gets developed. When results are required, the development will be driven more by a ‘pull’ approach; meaning that employees seek the information, procedures, reports, templates they need on own initiatives to keep improving HSE performance rather than waiting to be told what to do. This creates a HSE culture based on stronger motivation and thereby more extensive improvements.
The basis of strong HSE performance is the existence of a culture based on learning, feedback, knowledge sharing and constant improvement. Linking HSE goals and strategies with a general HR learning and development strategy will make it possible to utilise best practice learning methods in building this culture.
As HSE concerns and matters should be a shared responsibility it is essential to incorporate the HSE action plan, strategies and goals in the overall HR effort. This will emphasize the principle that everyone in the organisation, on shore and on board, has an important role to play and should take responsibility, and that HSE should be integrated in all work processes throughout the organisation. This integration effort is also important to ensure that HSE competencies become an organisational capacity and are not left on individual shoulders.
Likewise, as the HSE work can benefit from being incorporated in the HR strategy, the HR benefits from HSE efforts – especially when we are talking about excellent HSE cultures.
As mentioned earlier genuine HSE cultures are characterised by a culture that build on innovation, constant improvement, learning, intervention and feedback, and not least on personal accountability. These are all factors, which are highly needed to ensure good overall employee performance results. Learning and development strategies and methods can be adopted from the Excellent HSE culture.
The innovative mindset creates proactive thinking and readiness to changes. Therefore changing processes in general will be easier to drive and successfully embed in cultures characterised by the previously mentioned features.
The feedback culture creates a culture where employees use their influencing power to infect others with best practice and at the same time challenge each other daily in finding new ways of ensuring excellent performance.
As a whole, a genuine HSE culture is characterised by employees who show readiness to take personal leadership at all levels of the organisation, take own initiatives to pull for insight and development. All these factors have proved to be good for recruitment and retention as well.
First of all the HR strategy and efforts should integrate HSE as a natural part of the work. Secondly, typical HSE areas should be made subject to action plans, goals setting and result measurement. Finally, HSE should be made the responsibility of everybody in the organisation and be integrated in all activities of the organisation – enforced through the inclusion in typical HR processes like competence management, appraisal processes, training programmes, recruitment and familiarisation, job descriptions, KPI’s, leadership training, etc.
Checklist for areas to ensure integration of HSE in HR
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