Driving EHS&S Performance Through Company Culture
What do a college hockey team, a local utility, and your company EHS and sustainability programs have in common? They all rely on people’s thoughts, perceptions, and behaviors – the culture, which can lead to disastrous results or enhanced performance, all depending on how you manage it.
A few years ago, a popular college hockey team was facing a crisis – two separate sexual assault charges were filed against team members over a period of just a few months. The investigation report identified a “culture of sexual entitlement” that was pervasive throughout the team. This is clearly an example of how the team culture was not managed properly.
My local utility sends out annual “report cards” comparing my natural gas usage to equally-sized homes in my neighborhood. I have to admit, my usage is a little higher than my “most efficient” neighbors, which has caused me to think twice, and even change my behavior, about pushing up the thermostat in the winter.
With EHS and sustainability, employee behaviors will drive your performance, and employee behaviors are driven by perceptions, beliefs, values, motivations, attitudes, and other intangible aspects – in other words, your company culture. It is NOT the written policies, programs, and procedures that companies spend so much time developing and implementing, although this structure is important. Company culture – it can either send your programs off the track before you know there is a problem, or you can use it to your advantage and drive performance to the next level.
What is my company culture?
Not sure what your company culture is? Curious to find out? ...
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To explore similar concepts in more detail, check out my whitepaper on the topic: Company Culture and EHS/Sustainability Performance: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You.