HSEQ Career: He’s A Good Worker, Let’s Just Keep Him Happy, By Olawale Ogunyebi
“What does your organisation thinks about your input as an HSEQ Supervisor, officer or Manager?…”
Introducing “HSEQ Career Column” with Olawale Ogunyebi.
The HSEQ Career Column is a weekly article series written by Olawale Ogunyebi, a DuPont Master Coach, Besafe Super Trainer and a former Africa Regional Safety Operations Manager (Unilever). He is presently the Managing Partner at MTC ENT. Dev. Limited. The purpose of this series is to mentor entry-level and struggling HSEQ professionals, narrating and drawing out lessons from the writer’s real-life experiences in the safety industry. Catch up with the posts you’ve missed HERE.
It was during the annual appraisal. Present were all the senior managers within the function. As a newly promoted manager, I was in the room for the first time as we reviewed the performance of managers below our level.
The key parameters were: What — The Targets; the numbers; then, How — the competencies or skills demonstrated in achieving the “What“.
“Put up the next slide. Who is the next person?” asked the Director who is the chairman of the annual performance review (APR).
“He is Steve Harper (not the real name)”, replied the HR Manager, who is also the APR secretary.
“Ok. Who is his line Manager?”, asked the Director. “Go ahead tell us about his performance”.
From the slides, I observed Steve met all his targets. I thought asking about his performance was a no-brainer, he deserves to move to the next level. But I was dead wrong.
Steve’s Line Manager made his comments, followed by other departmental managers.
“Steve is very good at his job and committed too. He works hard but lacks the ability to connect with other stakeholders in the overall interest of the business” said one of the departmental managers.
Another one said, “I love Steve for his integrity and commitment on the job. However, he needs to learn how to carry people along. In my view he is a silo worker.”
“Pass, I am sorry , I don’t know Steve, so I can’t comment about him”, said another Departmental Manager.
Later I learnt that one of the worst things that could be said about an appraisee during an appraisal session is for one of his/her key stakeholders to claim “I don’t know him” .
“Thank you everybody” said the Director. ”General opinions in the room seem to indicate that Steve is a good worker. He met all his targets -WHAT. His numbers are very good. However much work is still required on his HOW.”
“He is a very important member of the team but not a material for the next level. We need to keep him happy. Give him 20% increment. Next person”.
What does your organisation thinks about your input as an HSEQ Supervisor, officer or Manager?
Are you a candidate for the next level or you are a good worker to be kept happy by annual increment?
In a survey I carried out, I asked Top Managers (Functional Directors) what frustrates them with their HSEQ Managers. Some of the responses includes “He ignores the bigger picture whilst pursuing some core agenda’’, “Inability to connect with business priorities’’, “ Inability to speak business language’’ etc.
It is time to change the narrative by improving our relationship with other functions, staying up to date on business performance, being at the table not just when HSE issues are being discussed and finding innovative and cost effective solutions to safety issues. See you at the top.