HSSEQ Bulletin: Engaging Conversations – When do they become a distraction?

Here at Kentech, we are strong advocates for engaging conversations that switch people on! But when does it switch from being useful to just a pain in the proverbial? There is a tipping point where they just become a distraction from the work we are here to do.

On worksites, there are the pre-starts, the site inspections, the PTW walkdown and then just as you are about to get started, the safety guy wants a chat to make sure we have considered all risks and hazards. Aaaargh, you just want to get the job started right?!

How do we strike the balance between engaging our people and getting the job done? Once engaging conversations become transactional, they lose their value.

Like any good tool, overuse blunts its effectiveness. Spontaneous engagement is often the best. Being present in the field and building relationships. That way if you do see a situation that twitches your spider senses then your confidence in those relationships will give you an understanding when to intervene.

The key is trust. To build trust you must build rapport and you can’t do that behind a desk or in budget meetings. Get to know your tribe, be it at the office or on project sites. Be curious about them as people and not just resources and don’t let conversations become transactional.