A look in the mirror

OSH professionals can be effective influencers of positive change in the workplace but first should reflect on how their behaviours may be perceived by others.

Business leaders are looking for OSH professionals to guide them in ways they have not done before. Organisations that truly walk the OSH talk are more likely to have developed meaningful values aligned with their employees who are then more motivated to work collaboratively for the business’s benefit (bit.ly/2ImrA65). But does the outward perception of what OSH professionals do make them less effective? Are OSH professionals delivering clear, effective, helpful messages?

The world of work continues to change. Modern workers carry their office with them, work from home, on public transport, video-conferencing and instant messaging colleagues in different parts of the world who themselves are straddling multiple time zones. They can become slaves to smartphones and multiple electronic devices.

The downside is one of workers constantly “switched on”, resulting in frazzled, distracted and stressed-out people. Concentration slips and time-management skills are forgotten when every task requires urgent attention. Such demands can hinder an OSH professional’s ability to prioritise and risk assess effectively.

IOSH’s The Healthy Profit, along with research by Deloitte (bit.ly/2DHlXQc), makes the business case for investing in people, teams and their wellbeing. Leaders strive for a healthy workforce because it is not in their interest to have high staff turnover or people off sick. Organisations ignoring mood indicators also risk cutting off potential talent pools at every level.

But to become effective change influencers, OSH professionals ought to reflect first on their own behaviour and confront habits they may have fallen into which result in negative perceptions.

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Louise Hosking IOSH VP & Director of Hosking Associates