Give Your QHSE Compliance Efforts the Prominence They Need
It’s one of life’s little mysteries why the majority of organisations fail to find a place at their management meetings for the person who heads up their QHSE compliance efforts.
Let’s call this undervalued chap Nigel.
Of course for those of us who feel like we’ve spent half our working lives in such surrounds, one could argue that Nigel is the lucky one. But that’s missing the point – Nigel needs to be there.
You see Nigel probably has more cross-functional knowledge than anyone in the management team.
His job obliges him to work across the business – from supply-side to customer-facing, plus all the other bits in between.
As a result he understands the day-to-day aspects of the business. Operationally he’ll know the performance of each department; he knows why things are going well – and why they’re not. He also knows the closets where the skeletons are hidden and sees and hears things that senior managers need to act on.
Nigel also works up and down the organisation – from worker and supervisor level to line manager and regularly beyond – to top management.
So why is there no seat at the table for Nigel?
Is it because he can be perceived as a little boring - or because he asks challenging questions that make other managers feel uncomfortable? Or is because his role is (incorrectly) defined as ‘overhead’?
Surely it’s not because he’s known as Nigel-No-Mates and happens to wear a white coat every once in a while?
Actually it’s probably nothing to do with any of these things. You see the vast majority of companies are still functionally organised – and management team representation naturally tends to mirror this structure.
But compliance isn’t a function; it’s a process – and as a result Nigel doesn’t fit comfortably within such a traditional functionally-based structure.
Fortunately some of the more forward-thinking organisations we work with have realised the absurdity of this situation and have a mix of functional and process personnel at their management meetings.
But for the majority, Nigel is still one of the organisation’s most under-valued employees even though their work not only drives down costs, it also results in customer-facing performance improvements. Nigel is also one of the few people who understand the impact a change in one part of the company will have on other parts of the business.
Doesn’t Nigel sound like someone you need at your top table?