Ever since the mid-eighties, reorganizing, re-engineering and downsizing have become a way of life. Significant changes and reduction have occurred at every level of most organizations.

Surveys conducted in the last few years indicate that between 46% to 58% of employees are 'frequently worried about being laid off.' Between 55% to 71% of employees "worry a great deal about their company's future." The recent surge of mega-mergers in the petroleum, chemical, pharmaceutical and pulp and paper industries has dramatically increased the level of stress in the workplace.

This is noteworthy because employees at all levels can lose their focus when put under stress and pressure and reportable accidents and injuries can increase on or off the job. Many managers and supervisors tend to push for increased production in the reorganized, downsized and/or newly merged companies. As a result, labor and management relations can become more adversarial.

Often, when we ask line employees, ?why do injuries occur?? They list the following reasons:

  • Production/results are Number One

  • When the line goes down, safety goes down

  • Management blames line employees for getting injured

  • Repairs are not made in a timely manner

  • Management doesn't listen to line employees suggestions

  • Management overlooks unsafe behaviors to boost production

  • Management doesn't 'walk the talk'

  • The company doesn't care about their employees

"But we're doing a good job!"

Often when we ask management why employees are getting injured they list the following reasons:

  • Line employees take risks and shortcuts

  • Line employees don't follow the procedures

  • Line employees don't wear their personal protective equipment

  • Line employees have a poor attitude

  • It's the line employee's problem, they have the injuries.

"But we're doing a good job!"

So rather than a 'we' environment, we see an entrenched 'us versus them' adversarial environment; an environment where trust, respect, communication, participation and cooperation are very limited. These same values are the fundamental building blocks that distinguish a successful company from an unsuccessful one. They also affect revenue, profit, market share and other measures of success such as production, quality, customer service and environmental conformance.

Once again, here are the core values that are present in an effective 'we' environment:

  • Trust

  • Respect

  • Communication

  • Participation

  • Cooperation

We have seen the presence of these core qualities transform the workplace:

  • It's easier to get things done, whether they relate to production, quality, safety, customer service or environmental excellence

  • The company is a nicer place to work because there are fewer obstacles, less bickering and less stress

  • Everyone feels valued because they are listened to and treated with dignity and respect

  • All employees fulfill on their commitment.

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