Personalization at the heart of health and safety at work

Like other fields in the company, health and safety in the company is still often managed globally and uniformly for all staff, but the Covid crisis has partly called this approach into question. Companies have had to deal with new issues related to the global pandemic that has highlighted the diverse and varied personal situations of employees. He also highlighted the importance of an effective health and safety policy that takes into account the needs and specificities of each one, while recalling that each company thrives on the diversity of its employees.

Diversity has a positive impact on health and safety at work

A company that fosters a culture that embraces diversity will achieve better health and safety outcomes. For years, the correlation between superior diversity (in all its dimensions: gender, origin, etc.) and above-average performance has been confirmed by certain studies.[1], and it is no longer debated. Furthermore, as has been studied more recently[2], companies with diverse management teams and employees grow faster and are better places to work. Therefore, if a company’s health and safety department seeks diversity in its own teams, it will be more likely to understand the issues facing the rest of the company and different categories of people, and therefore may be more effective in preventing disease. injury and death.

However, for business leaders, implementing a diversity policy means guaranteeing it at all levels of the company. It also implies cultivating inclusion and belonging, managing conflicts and communication problems, and developing a culture of leadership focused on respect for the person, listening, autonomy, and innovation.

Cette réflexion ouvre le débat d’une politique santé et sécurité que prenne en compte les besoins spécifiques de salariés: que l’on considère son équipe comme diversifiée ou pas, la logica encourage à personnaliser l’approche santé et sécurité, que toute entreprise peut start.

Personalize the approach to safety and health at work

Operational managers must maintain safe workplaces, provide their employees with the proper information, instructions, tools and guidance to work safely. These measures must take into account the diversity of the workforce and adapt to the needs of each one.

Seeing everyone as uniform and impersonal can hide the fact that different groups have particular security needs. The right questions need to be asked, for example, are workplaces and equipment designed and used according to the physical characteristics of the employees? Some aspects of diversity are better understood and managed more effectively than others, but there is still a long way to go.

More and more companies are embracing “DE&I” (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) and looking to strengthen diversity at the heart of their organization, and it is essential to think about this topic even more broadly, applying it to health and safety as well. Companies must understand that personalization of the employee-employer relationship is a necessity for everyone’s safety and that a uniform health and safety policy will never be the right strategy. The operational implementation of this approach largely depends on the personal role of the manager, but the organization has a key role to play in creating the conditions for respect and some education. The recent Covid crisis, by having once again put the relational dimension of the manager at the center of their role, opens up an interesting way of raising awareness and working. One of the challenges of Health and Safety is to maintain and cultivate this dimension to act on the well-being of employees. As many companies are renegotiating their branch or telecommuting agreements, will this reality finally be taken into account?

[1] Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters. May 2020. McKinsey: Sundiatu Dixon-Fyle, Kevin Dolan, Vivian Hunt, Sara Prince
[2] Why does diversity matter? January 2015. McKinsey: Vivian Hunt, Dennis Layton, and Sara Prince.

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