Security gains a seat at the table and plans to stay there
It looked like a birthday party.
Everyone at Lavazza Professional, a maker of coffee products (and one of EHS Today’s America’s safest companies in 2020), gathered around the cake, wondering aloud what birthday is that? was. The cake and decorations were unusual, but Jason Hall isn’t the most traditional security leader. In fact, he insisted that everyone sing “Happy Birthday”, although they still don’t know what birthday they were celebrating.
It turns out that there was no birthday. Instead, Hall, the company’s head of health, safety, environment and security, told employees the time it took to sing this song was the exact time they needed. to wash your hands to protect against COVID-19.
“At the start of the pandemic there was a lot of misinformation and fear, so I felt the best approach was to provide our staff with a clear, factual presentation of what this virus is and how we have faced other health issues in the past, “he says.” I tried adding humor to make the information more digestible. “
This innovative way of dealing with a very difficult and frightening health problem goes beyond smart marketing to gain buy-in from employees. It demonstrates empathy for everyone in the business who has had to light up a dime and create nearly error-free methods to keep the virus from spreading.
Empathy was also a byproduct of actions taken at GE Appliances’ 750-acre manufacturing complex in Louisville, Ky., As front office workers tended to production lines when workers needed to work. ” move away from the factory to deal with problems related to the pandemic.
“More than 1,100 managers and employees from headquarters have volunteered to work on our assembly lines to deal with the pressures of the pandemic workforce in our factory,” said Thomas Quick, vice president of human resources at GE Appliances , a Haier company. Quick says salaried non-production workers have worked more than 150,000 hours on assembly lines or taken on other responsibilities outside of their normal jobs, such as managing 24-hour temperature control stations.
“At the start of the pandemic there was a lot of misinformation and fear, so I thought the best approach was to provide our staff with a clear, factual presentation of what this virus is and how we have faced other health issues in the past. “—Jason Hall
The ability to bolster safety quickly was, in fact, a natural progression for manufacturing companies that have always put safety first, says Bobby Bono, partner and head of industrial manufacturing practices at PwC. “Safety is something manufacturers are good at. It’s in their DNA, ”Bono says. “They are always trying to find ways to be safer, so that they were able to respond to the pandemic faster than other sectors could.”
Even with a solid security base, the immediacy of the pandemic forced Hall to determine the most effective methods of handling the situation. “With my military background, I treated the situation as a training action and quickly reached out to suppliers and hospitals to get the equipment we needed on site, avoiding the shortages that many faced. “
This planning was essential when, after a two-week shutdown, the plant reopened and had the tools to protect all staff. “Faced with a variety of information on how to operate, I decided that treating our facility like a hospital would ensure that all safety protocols were considered and implemented,” he says. “When we had things under control. We analyzed how we could maintain security procedures while shifting the feeling of a crisis to a normal situation. “
GE Appliances has also closed its manufacturing plants in order to install the necessary security measures. As its safety culture is so deeply rooted in operations, instructions were provided to teams, but they were not mandatory. “We let the teams determine the best way to implement the processes, and then we shared the best practices as we learned and adapted,” says Quick.
Creating safety procedures to allow operations to continue during the pandemic is where Hall ended up, not just at the factory level but globally. As Lavazza Professional is a division of a parent company based in Turin, Italy, Hall has become the go-to person. “As the management of the pandemic was outside the realm of other major disruptions, I was brought in to advise our disaster recovery team on how best to deal with the situation. Everyone was squarely looking at the security function to handle this difficult situation.
Hall created guidelines, rules of conduct and even a manual for dealing with the crisis. “The creation of these protocols gave us a basis and a standard for other major disruptions, and it gave the security function an important role in the executive suite. “
Since companies have been applying these particular security protocols for over a year, will they change when we get past the pandemic? “We’re going to maintain the systems that we have,” Hall says. “I don’t see them changing in the near future.” He says he will continue to view COVID-19 as flu season and that he will maintain standard procedures in place that address those concerns.
Hall also faces other concerns, which he says need to be addressed immediately as more employees return to the facility. He refers to these concerns as behavioral health issues that have arisen as a direct result of the pandemic, such as employees not taking care of their health and having serious health issues. Many workers have also faced issues such as isolation, anxiety or depression. The company will offer a series of health education to tackle these issues, as they affect the entire workforce of the company. “In 2021, I consider solving these problems my top health priority. “
A change of culture
As protocols were put in place to deal with the mechanics of operations, new ways of working also emerged. “With the need to keep people as far away as possible from the facilities, automation, which has already become important in most facilities, has been accelerated,” says Bono. “It changes the nature of work and we will not go back to how things were before the pandemic. Businesses will need specific skills to manage digital operations. “
Increasing cross-training as well as improving the skills of workers to adapt to new technologies will be another legacy of the pandemic. More importantly, a culture change evolved during the pandemic as employees gained a better appreciation and understanding of all the jobs in a company, and that appreciation will remain. “Those salaried workers who went on the line garnered a lot of respect from the workers on the line,” Quick said.
These culture changes will have a positive impact, as Quick believes it will lead to innovation in the future. Collaboration, teamwork and the new attitudes needed to fight the pandemic will continue to be interwoven in a company’s culture. Hall believes that safety will be at the heart of this evolving culture – and that safety will occupy a managerial chair for a long time to come.