Good communication in any organization is essential. Employees need to be involved in an organization and be able to visibly see what it is doing. The same can be applied to its HS&E function. Because clients are demanding higher and higher levels of awareness of the HS&E culture, it is essential that goals are successfully communicated to employees.
This paper uses theory on communication within an organization to focus on two key elements of a good communication plan: considering all the factors in the communication process and knowing your audience and understanding cultural differences. The paper will also draw on examples of how this has been applied through past HS&E campaigns.
In communication theory, one must consider five fundamental factors to conceive a communication plan: initiator (HS&E professional), recipient (employee), message (the HS&E initiative being promoted), mode (how it is communicated), and effect, which is monitored by changes in employee behavior and HS&E statistics. No HS&E campaign will be successful without understanding that communicating with employees is not simply about telling them what you want them to do; one must consider how that message is sent and received and with what medium.
This communication process is also subject to a sixth factor: noise. The oil and gas industry' biggest noise factor is the international market and its diverse cultures. Present and future behaviors can be influenced by understanding cultures and backgrounds, which is further split into the different ways in which we communicate, and the way in which we tailor the message. What may be a suitable way of communicating with an audience in Aberdeen could cause great offence in Libya. This paper describes the utility of exploring all these factors when developing HS&E messages.