At the end of June I should be done with my Diploma in Workplace Health and Safety. Fortunately, with the way of the world I have been lucky enough to find myself in a great position within a company looking after compliance as well as health and safety. I have found myself looking for more development after the completion of my diploma, and so began the thought. What next?
What are some of the programs YOU have taken to further learn and develop? Curious to see what paths others have taken.
An ICAM course would be a great step. A qualification like this is very well regarded
There is a growing realisation that technical skills are not enough to be effective in H&S management today. Many practitioners are starting to realise this and have been pursuing skills and training in leadership, strategy, business and management tools, communication, coaching and facilitation, relationship-building, values and culture, etc. The old way of implementing safety from a compliance perspective doesn't work (never did, really, but it has taken quite some time to recognise this!).
In today's context, safety practitioners need to be able to build relationships, communicate effectively and influence behaviours. In addition, to gain the respect and trust of business leaders, they need a sound grasp of business principles and commercial savvy - if you can't speak their language and don't understand their drivers and priorities, getting safety initiatives across the line will be a perpetual struggle.
In addition to the "mainstream" safety courses like NEBOSH, ICAM, auditing, etc, I followed an interesting path into neuroscience and the dynamics of human diversity, including motivation, communication and learning. The insights into what makes people tick really enriched the work I was doing and gave me the tools and resilience to work with diverse individuals, as well as being able to take a constructive and supportive leadership role in times of crisis - COVID-19 was my 3rd time of facilitating an organisation through major crisis and change, and after the COVID-19 crisis peaked, my contract was extended to support integration following an acquisition and merger. I continue to explore and learn, and by understanding what the drivers are underneath the surface - asking questions and drawing from a vast collection of knowledge, skills and experience, and getting clear about the WHY of things - allows me to contribute more effectively and to support finding solutions that work well for the entire organisation.
My over-arching strategy is to clearly define what the issues REALLY are, then set about organising and implementing solutions. Sometimes it's just a matter of finding out what a person's obstacles are and helping to deal with them. But always supporting people to 'own' their own responsibilities, rather than taking over it. Sometimes that means taking steps alongside them and supporting until they understand and are confident enough to do it themselves.
So just as important is to work on yourself - understand your own strengths and weaknesses, what you like or don't like, who you are and who you are not. A really good tool for getting insights into yourself (and even your own unconsciousness) is the
AVI Values Inventory
- a brilliantly simple set of questions that is analyzed by a computer to give you insights into how you operate. I especially like this tool because it recognises that our behaviours are directly linked to our priorities, which may change depending on our circumstances - we can grow as our fundamental needs are met, but if something comes along to threaten our foundations, we can find ourselves regressing and under pressure. (Personally, I think this tool could also be developed into a useful tool for assessing a number of organisational concerns, including values alignment and organisational well-being and resilience!). You can find out more about AVI here:
- and I am also always happy to discuss further if anyone is interested to know more!
Fantastic response Sheri
I am currently studying neuroscience through on online learning programme at Harvard and learning about the social psychology of risk to try and introduce a programme where individuals can recognise bad habits at a conscious level and develop a plan to develop unconscious ones over time. It’s fascinating stuff about finding the triggers within sectors of the brain which promote the creation and cravings around habits and how to introduce new ones to counteract them.
This might be too heavy for some people though
I would also advise people to take a good look, not at the systems that are used, but the people and the way they communicate, the language they use and adapt your response accordingly
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