GroundProbe’s Head of Supply Chain & Quality Systems, Neil Cordon
At GroundProbe, we believe in the value of building a positive and supportive work environment. If you want to know how we did it, please read on.
We understand individual basic needs
As humans, we are complex individuals, but our basic needs are fundamentally the same. In his 1954 book “Motivation and Personality,” Psychologist Abraham Maslow described how we all share a hierarchy of needs, regardless of age, gender, or cultural background. This concept describes the journey from our basic physiological need for food, water and shelter to achieving our full potential, or self-actualisation.
When it comes to creating a productive work environment and achieving individual employee success, we believe employers must provide opportunities beyond the basic second tier of this pyramid.
Love and Belonging
As head of Supply Chain and Quality Systems here at GroundProbe, I am proud to have helped build a positive and supportive work environment for our production and supply team. But this success didn’t come overnight – it has taken continuous focus and effort.
How did we do it?
- Celebrating birthdays, the birth of children, work anniversaries, academic achievements, training milestones, fitness challenges, etc. We also enjoy regular morning teas for no other reason than to say ‘thank you.’ These celebrations are about genuinely caring for the individual, their families and their achievements, not about hitting corporate targets
- Having as much fun as possible. Work can be pressured and serious, so we take every opportunity to lighten the mood with humour by including a little ‘playability.’ By including visual management tools or ‘in-jokes’ to lighten the frustrating nature of some daily challenges, we positively contribute to our continuous improvement process
- We follow the ‘Fish! Philosophy’ by creating happy individuals, focusing on four central ideas: choose your attitude, play, make their day and the present moment. We also reinforce key messages such as fixing issues rather than complaining, supporting each other in times of need, etc.
- Creating a supportive, safe psychological space to express thoughts and feelings without fear of judgement. Because we care for each other, we often ask one another: “How are you out of 10 today.” By asking for a rating out of 10, authentic conversations are had. Try it; it works!
- Enabling flexible working arrangements to suit the complex needs of individuals.
By understanding the need to prioritise mental health and well-being, we have created a safe, non-judgemental work environment where individuals are free to talk about issues, feelings and personal challenges.
How did we do it?
- Two onsite trained mental health first-aiders
- Providing access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
- Celebrating individual and group achievements, weekly pets in the workplace, team building games, etc.
- Celebrating yearly RUOK? (Are You OK?) Days to focus on mental health and conversation. The day includes group painting classes, yoga and meditation, cuddling puppies, etc.
To get to the top of the pyramid and ‘self-actualisation,’ we have implemented our ‘continuous improvement program’ – providing each individual with an opportunity to show how they can contribute to the team’s success.
How did we do it?
- By encouraging team members to spend two hours per week submitting ideas focussed on improving our safety, quality, efficiency and sustainability practices. This time is crucial to providing a platform for our team to express their creativity, voice their ideas and concerns, and learn to work alongside one another to solve problems together. Although it may feel counter-intuitive to stop for two hours when you are busy, when you consider it is only 5% of the week and we are spending it on improving the other 95%, it’s not so radical after all
- Providing training to see opportunities and solve problems as a dynamic team. As a driver and idea generator, rewards are offered, such as donating to an agreed charity.
This is just a snippet of what we have done to build a positive and supportive work environment here at GroundProbe. If you would like to know more, please don’t hesitate to contact me.