BACKGROUND - Leadership programme driving change
Andrews Group, a civil contracting and heavy life operations, has over the past 35 years significantly increased in size and diversity. From humble beginning as a house moving company (two men in a truck), they’ve expanded , with over ninety permanent and casual employees. In 2009, in response to company growth, the owner made a move to hire a General Manager (Dave Askew).
Coming onboard Dave observed some big issues, particularly with the house moving teams, around vehicle safety and the health and safety of staff. There was a strong culture of risk taking across the company – ‘this is how we’ve always done things around here’. His initial attempts to make changes met with strong resistance amongst staff and management. With limited authority and support, Dave continued introducing changes as and where he could, knowing something needed to give.
In June 2009, during a routine house relocation, a building being craned over a barrier in wet conditions, sustained damage when it was hit by a digger working at the location. The resulting collision between the digger and the building jolted the building off its lifting apparatus it fell and landed on a team of house movers, killing two and seriously injuring two others (news article).
This incident, whilst not the fault of Andrew’s, galvanised the management team into action and in support of Dave’s recommendations, a thorough review of the company’s policies and procedures got underway.
TRACTION - Andrews Group
From two workplace fatalities in 2009...
to A Grading: 1st class standard of safety in 2013.
TRACTION ENABLED CHANGE
Throughout 2010 Dave and the management team, became increasingly frustrated at their inability to get messages out to the staff and to gauge employees’ thoughts about initiatives, let alone change their behaviours. A major concern for Dave was that most of his staff acting instinctively when it came to safety. Towards the end of the year, Dave was invited to take part in the Traction Programme trial by Lumley Insurance, and he quickly agreed.
He recognised that the Traction Programme would enable him to lead change at Andrews and take the business to higher level of performance, whilst mitigating the risk to staff and assets.
The Mar10 results were a complete eye opener for the director and other management team members and supported Dave’s view of what was happening around them. The content of the reports resulted in formation and appointment of an HR and Health, Wellbeing and Safety Manager. The first round of Traction quick wins were implemented and a number of initiatives got underway.
It was after the second scoring event in Jun13, that Andrews accepted external offers of support from the Lumley Fleet Risk Management team. Dave feels that Traction and the Lumley Team’s support was their saving grace. It gave them the evidence, from the mouths of the staff themselves, to understand what to change, motivated the staff to want to, and finally provided the skills and knowledge to make effective changes.
Andrews Housemoving, Dave Askew, Managing Director in a recent phone survey:
“We knew there was an issue with Fleet Maintenance, and The Traction Programme gave the info we needed to take practical steps”.
“Management and I believed that all H+S meetings were taking place and were effective. The Traction reports indicated this was not the case throughout the business. Grateful for that information and we have now implemented a formal group H+S committee chaired by the HR/HSE manager, with results reported directly to myself to sort it out.”
“The Traction Programme has given my new HR/HSE manager the construct to do her job. She now has information, a framework and a structure with which to get on with her H+S role.”
“Today is the anniversary of two of our guys being killed. Since then we really take H+S seriously. The guys are getting behind TractIon – they see it as a worthwhile programme.”
ANDREW’S KEYS TO SUCCESS
The key factors that saved Andrew’s group from disaster and set them on the path to success, evident by their recent overall Traction score (shown below), include;
LEADERSHIP: Dave has proven himself to be the right man for the job. As a leader, not just a manager, he has been instrumental in driving a change in Health, Wellbeing and Safety culture in the company.
MIND-SET & ATTITUDE CHANGE: The implementation of the Traction programme has educated, encouraged and empowered staff through change. The staff now are more open, honest, and quick to question and contribute. This attitude shift has led to the personal growth of many staff and their roles, ongoing business growth, and best of all a massive safety culture shift across the board.
CHANGE AGENT: The employment of a HR & Health, Wellbeing and Safety Manager to ensure appropriate systems and procedures (as identified by Traction) are imbedded into the organisation to ensure the people are employed, they’re inducted adequately and comply with the policies and procedures.
WORKER PARTICIPATION: Using the Traction Programme means that all workers are involved the change process. The programme provides them a platform to give feedback and make recommendations for further improvements across all functions of the business.