Behavioural Science for Leadership in Safety

LondonEnergy Case Study

LondonEnergy operates the second largest waste contract in the UK, handling and treating nearly 750,000 tonnes of London’s waste and recyclables and generating enough electricity to power more than 80,000 homes and businesses every year.

They divert more than 90% of waste away from landfill saving nearly 300,000 tonnes of CO2e every year. Their vision is to see no waste from their sites sent to landfill.

They also operate Reuse and Recycling Centres for household materials. Anything collected in their recycling centres that can be repaired, recycled or reused will be sold – with all funds going back into the community.

LondonEnergy employ around 350 people across sites in North London.

Interview with Jacques Samama
– Head of People

Safety is one of our key values – we have three, Be Safe, Have Trust and Own it. I would say we’ve focused our safety training on being very practical previously. We are now teaching the basics internally but, we wanted to drive behaviour changes and make sure safety is even more embedded in the culture of our organisation. We also wanted to make sure that our training was certified. That’s why we chose this training program. To move safety forwards, focusing on behaviour and performance is the critical ingredient – it’s way more than reporting. All of our department heads, managers and supervisors have been through this program, which is around 64 people. The feedback has been phenomenal and is manifesting into real tangible results.

The conversations that our leadership team is having with their own teams, are now quite different. Before the training with Darren, our narrative would be centred around our daily safety reports. Now we centre them around positive safety conversations, rather than negative ones. So, it’s more about encouraging and engaging people and sharing best practices. Now, we start each day talking about a solution someone has discovered – and how we solved that problem. It’s about switching on to good initiatives and praising employees for good practice, rather than questioning why they haven’t reported on something. There’s an enormous difference and that’s what this program draws out.

That’s what our managers are putting into practice right now. They’re nudging in positive ways. Something which is working very well is gathering our managerial and supervisory teams to present their safety project proposals to the leadership team. The senior team leadership team will then select a few of them to be implemented. What we’re really saying, is you’ve had the training, you’re equipped with the knowledge how are you going to implement it from a safety perspective?

This Behavioural Science program isn’t just about safety – it’s about communication and explaining more about the Why, rather than blaming people for not respecting the rules. Why are we doing this? Why is it important? It’s significant for us right now, especially as we’re going through a massive transformation – we’re building a brand-new plant around us, whilst still working from our current site. So, helping our people to understand the individual role they play in the bigger picture is critical to the business. This program makes you think. Darren made it relevant to LondonEnergy – he takes you on a journey where you come out the other side looking at safety through a completely different lens. We’re happy to invest in our people. 80% of our workforce live in north London, so we provide employment and training to the people who are our neighbours. More than 70% of our managers and supervisors are coming from internal promotion. This IOSH accredited program has been a game-changer for us and is totally different to anything we’ve experienced before.

What LondonEnergy said about the program

‘As we are coming to the end of the Safety Leadership course, I thought I would send you some feedback and a note of thanks.

The course has, without doubt, been one of the most well received training courses I have ever been involved with – the feedback from those attending has been incredibly positive, with many people commenting on how “it changes how you think”.

It is particularly pleasing to see how the course has changed not only how people are thinking, but some of the behaviours as well, LondonEnergy staff are busy thinking about how to apply the learning and engaging with each other on the content.

Thanks again for delivering such an excellent course – the greatest compliment I can give is that you have undoubtedly made LondonEnergy a safer place to work’.

Jim Kendall, Managing Director

Our Perspective

We really enjoyed working with LondonEnergy on this project. It involved taking all of their leaders, managers and supervisors through our IOSH Certificated Behavioural Science for Leadership in Safety Program.

From the outset and our initial conversations, it was clear that this organisation already took safety and health very seriously and they were already seeing good performance in lots of areas. BUT they wanted to get even better still. That’s exactly the kind of organisation that we designed this program for!

Every leader within this organisation completed the online program which was also supported by additional live/virtual sessions with groups of 8-12 people. In these sessions, we discussed what they had learned from each module and explored HOW they could start to practically apply their learning to their daily activities.

Each group were asked to identify key areas that they felt could be improved and they were tasked to apply the principles of behavioural science to find real time solutions to these key areas. Their ideas were listened to and fully embraced quickly and effectively.

There were many factors that contributed to the success of this program over a 3–4-month period. Including the fact that the program itself was driven and attended by the senior leaders within the company. The head of HR, Safety, PR and even the FD and MD all made major contributions within the live sessions. There was also active engagement and commitment from all who attended with real energy, curiosity and a great passion to become better at driving performance rather than focusing on results.

In short, it was evident that there was a real culture of care here, rather than just compliance and a determination to drive continuous improvement via deliberate and specific actions.

Darren Sutton, Behavioural Safety Services Training

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