All entries for June 2013
June 10, 2013
After concentrating on health and safety management (and KM) for so long, one cannot help but formulate an opinion. Since this opinion is formed after reflecting on what I have read, I feel it is important to share it with you all.
I came across a report from the health and safety executive which stated that about 70% of work-related accidents are caused by management deficiencies. This is a staggering amount when you consider that on average, 2 people die everyday from an accident at work. This is a terrible loss, and the real tragedy is that it is preventable. Hence, I passionately believe that it's about time management shows more responsibility for the safety of their people. In order to change this sorry culture, they have to address this problem at the highest level. I will finish this by sharing a quote from the Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission. It is safe to say that I share his view.
"As far as I am concerned, those who cannot manage health and safety, cannot manage. We need to create a positive health and safety culture which sees business go beyond doing the statutory minimum."- Bill Callaghan, Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission
June 09, 2013
It is widely believed that the success of KM initiatives is ultimately predicated on having employees who are willing and prepared to share their knowledge. This is why, in my opinion, I feel it is very important to identify the factors that affect the willingness or reluctance of employees to share their insights.
After reflecting on this issue for a while, I believe one of the major factors is the level of commitment that employees feel towards their organization. If they are highly commited to their jobs, they will be more likely to share their knowledge with others. In contrast, if they are not commited, they will not have any motivation to share their expertise. Hence, it is very important for companies to increase the overall employee satisfaction and commitment. They must ensure that they have a strong psychological contract with their workers. Although, this does not give a definitive answer as to why some employees choose to share their knowledge and others don't, this information can help me in the future to appreciate the knowledge-sharing attitudes and behaviours of people.
In my opinion, there are two obvious scenerios where having a knowledge management program will make an instant difference:
1) High rate of voluntary employee turnover: This is a critical issue for many companies. Employees quitting their jobs can cost an organization millions of pounds. This is because when they quit, they take away their knowledge with them. This loss can be clearly minimized by having a knowledge management system.
2) Mergers and Acquisitions: This is again a common occurence in the business world. Huge deals happen fairly regularly now as companies are taken over and others are merged. Each company almost always has a different way of doing things. However, effective knowledge management can mean that lessons are combined and learned. During my internship at Metro, I was lucky enough to experience how knowledge sharing can help ease the post-acquisition period. Metro, which was already the largest cash and carry business in the world, acquired Makro shortly before I started my internship. I noticed how both sets of employees would often talk to each other about their experiences from before the acquisition. I believe this was a good practice regardless of whether they knew what they were doing or not.
I believe innovation is great since it helps organizations generate value. In order to grow, companies have to break out of a vicious cycle of doing the same old stuff. Not only that, Innovation helps change people's lives for the better. It allows people to hope and realize their dreams, and in my opinion you cannot put a price on that.
This is one of the reasons why I believe having an effective KM program is imperative for organizations today. A work place with a free flow of ideas will encourage collaborative work between employees and foster innovation. This will help create new products, new opportunities and more efficient processes. Knowledge management is sometimes quite rightly claimed as a means to an end and not an end in itself. In this case, it is believed to be enabling innovation that ultimately leads to increased revenue generation. One of my goals in life is to start up my own innovative business. In order to fully develop the innovation capability of my company, I will make sure that an effective KM practice is in place and that ideas are shared freely across all levels.
June 08, 2013
I don't know if you guys have noticed it but studying MBE has definitely made us more process-oriented. This is hardly surprising if one reflects on the fact that during this academic year, we have often come across terms such as the PDCA cycle. The PIUSS module was entirely about improving PROCESSES; similarly the PEUSS module was about designing defect free PROCESSES; and RDM was about improving the decision making PROCESS.
In true MBE style then, I have come up with my very own process for health and safety management. The only difference is that instead of Shewhart's PDCA, my cycle is called Plan-Deliver-Monitor-Review (PDMR).
I feel that planning is critical for health and safety management. Hazards and risks have to be correctly identified at the earliest possible stage.
Deliver is about the actual improvement of health and safety within the workforce. For this to be done effectively, I feel that the plan has to be easily understood and readily available. In the future, I will make sure that any such implementation plan is displayed where it can be easily seen by everyone. I will also ensure that everyone knows their responsibilities.
The third stage, i.e. monitor, is crucial too. This is because without a formal record, corrective and prevention measures will be very difficult to implement.
Finally, the fourth stage involves reviewing the health and safety performance of the organization. This will help identify any gaps that still exist. These could be further improved through some more planning and the whole cycle repeats itself as the organization continuously improves it health and safety practice.
June 07, 2013
Learning theory is good, but the actual application of that knowledge is what separates a postgraduate from an undergraduate. In this sense, I have really enjoyed working on this assignment. The fact that it is asking us to be more practical in our approach has made it that much more interesting.
The overriding feeling I have had while working on this pma is that somehow this is preparing us for the professional world. This is because organizations often have to create implementation plans. One thing that I will do well to remember is that plans are only as good as the execution. At the end of the day, your best assets i.e. your people are going to be the ones who implement the plan. Hence, if it is to have any value at all, it has to be a working document which employees can easily relate and refer to. I feel that it is absolutely critical for the plan to be easily understandable.
And so I have tried to keep it simple for this assignment, but much more importantly, I would like to keep it as simple as possible in the future too when I may be doing this for real. Put another way, I would hate to make the plan any longer than it needs to be, as I really do believe that over-the-top jargon will not add any value whatsoever.
After reading a bit more about all the different aspects of asset management, I decided to go with Health and Safety. Although we don’t have to justify why we chose a particular branch of asset management in the PMA question, there are many reasons why I personally chose Health and Safety Management. One of the main reasons is that the health and safety of my employees is something I would never compromise on. In that sense, it will be very high on my priority list when I become a manager.
However, not everyone is the same and others might not view health and safety initiatives in such a humanitarian way. Zoe Chilton raised an important point in her CSR talk. She said that senior managers often only understand the language of money. She told us how she had to convey the economic benefits of CSR to her boss. I believe this holds true for health and safety management as well. This is why I feel this assignment is really useful as I have learned how effective management of health and safety can have a positive impact on the bottom line of an organization. The simple fact that badly managed health and safety can cost an organization a lot of money is not only provable but will also appeal to how some board members think. If it comes to it, I can use this information in the future to convince senior management why health and safety management is a great idea.