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Cam had the honor of presenting at the CSSE 2018 Conference in Niagra Falls with a few like-minded gentlemen. Allan J Moore, OH&S Group Manager at Wood Environmental Infrastructure Solutions, Paul Chamoun, Sr. Health and Safety Lead at Clifton Associates Ltd, and Cam Mitchell, President of Kasa Consulting conducted a workshop on Safety Leadership For Extraodinary Executives. The findings of the workshop have been published in the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering’s Contact Magazine. The 2019 Spring Contact Magazine features the the trio’s findings on Page 15-20, please clink on the Contact Magazine link and read more about it.
The CSSE is also pleased to welcome them back to present at the 2019 Conference held this year in Winnepeg September 22-25. Be sure to sign up for their workshop this year, Communication for Safety: Understanding and Being Understood. This workshop was developed to highlight “strong communication” as the overwhelming number one choice for a skill or attribute that every safety leader should possess.
Congratulations on being published!
What are your passions?
Tutoring, working with children, anything to do with the Marvel comic book universe
What are your hobbies?
Going to local markets and trying out new restaurants
Three words to describe you?
Friendly, open-minded, productive
What was your first job?
Summer camp counsellor
Fun fact or Talents?
I played the tenor saxophone in high school and was in choir for 11 years
Have you ever met anyone famous?
If you could pick up a new skill in an instant what would it be?
Playing a new sport, like curling
What’s your favorite place you’ve ever visited?
Got any phobias?
If you won the lottery what is the first thing you would buy?
What are your pet peeves?
People who touch my stuff without asking
Sam has a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University, majoring in Strategic Management and concentrating in Organizational Behaviour. She loves meeting new clients and always wanted to go into consulting and was lucky enough to find a space within health and safety. Before entering the health and safety industry, Sam worked with children of all ages as a summer camp counsellor and continues to engage with young minds through math tutoring. In her spare time, Sam enjoys looking up new recipes to try out and browsing local markets. Sam has a high level of technical knowledge, she is very quick to pick up new skills, and is lead on many projects.
Kasa Consulting, a growing full-service health and safety consulting and auditing company, is currently looking for a hardworking, independent, positive individual.
Entry position open: Jr. Administrator. This position requires no health and safety experience, but preference will be given to those with previous health and safety experience. Strong computer and writings skills are a must.
Please forward all resume to info@Kasaconsulting.ca. Only those who are being considered will be contacted.
If you belong to a large company or have worked at a large company, it is likely that you work more closely with some colleagues than others. Divisions, groups or teams need to be created to manage certain tasks, and this is necessary for businesses to operate. However, if these divisions, groups or teams become too entrenched or lack clear leadership, these workers are unlikely to socialize, problem solve or share workplace ideas or priorities with other affected stakeholders. This occurrence has been documented in the business world as the ‘silo effect.’ The silo effect can be seen in companies where divisions, groups, or teams within an organization are not sharing information, knowledge, or goals openly with other divisions, groups or teams within the same company.
A lack of communication between these entities and other affected parties is problematic on many levels. One common example of the problematic nature of silos in the workplace is tension between conflicting leadership styles resulting in poor communication. Health and Safety Management Systems thrive in work environments where there is a culture of open and ongoing conversations between all affected parties in a company. Given that companies with a silo-mentality display characteristics that are the opposite of this, it is clear that workplace silos present a real threat to leading health & safety management systems. Another common example is redundancies that result in management system information (policies, procedures, forms, initiatives), technologies, software’s, and company health & safety resources, resultant from siloed decision making made separate of the greater good or with one’s division, group or team only in mind.
So how can companies ensure that their divisions, groups or teams are not operating within a workplace silo, but instead are part of a cohesive and collaborative workplace? The primary solution lies with the leadership team. Executive teams should work to push a top down management style where workers are expected to buy in to a singular health & safety management system and have associated accountabilities to meet the confines of that management system. Consistent delivery of this expectation will ultimately result in barriers going away, and collaboration resulting. The aim is to change the perception from an us vs. them, to an all for one and one for all!
A collaborative approach will help to ensure that safety is a shared priority. This is important, as a misalignment of ‘bigger picture’ priorities has been documented as a classic indicator of a silo-effected workplaces. Even if numerous teams are involved in the same project, all individuals should have more or less the same priorities. In this case, this means that in order to reduce the existence of a silo-effect, between divisions, groups, or teams, the goal of “everyone goes home safe everyday” must prevail.
To mitigate a workplace with deeply entrenched silo effect; research suggests that positive encounters encourage team-work, foster positive relationships, and encourage open communication. This means that as well as making an effort to work collaboratively with stakeholders from all divisions, groups, or teams to create a culture of strong workplace safety, it is also important that team members make an effort to engage positively in building trust and relationships with team members from all areas in the company to break down barriers. Ultimately, relationships and trust are the most meaningful way to mitigate the barriers associated with silos! All efforts failed, it is vital to challenge and change the perception of team members who are toxic to progress. You are only as strong as your weakest link.
With the changes recently made by the Alberta government we needed to update our safety program. I was looking for a company that would be able to not only give us the needed direction and documentation but also go step by step with us and roll it out. After phoning many safety consulting companies I found many that were willing to help us with the documentation but none that would take the time to work alongside us to help role it out properly. I stumbled across Kasa Consulting in my search and originally talked to Cam. After I had explained what I was looking for he immediately said they could definitely help us with that. I was a little leery at first because of all the other companies that said they could not do what we needed. They were available the next business day to meet and go over clearly my expectations which again they said they would have no problems doing.
After our meeting they immediately went to work. I have to say that not only did they do what they said they would do but it was organized, ahead of schedule, they were a pleasure to work with and right on budget. I will be happy to use them in the future to keep our safety program up to date and have their help in training our staff when it comes to safety training.
President of The Gentlemen Plumbers
Workers primarily work to pay the bills, right? But research shows that workers who are genuinely engaged in their work are happier, healthier, safer, as well as being more productive and profitable to the companies they work for. Intuitively, there is also a far higher retention rate of employees who report that they find their work engaging. So how should companies go about reducing the ‘clock in, do the minimum and clock out’ mentality, in favour of engaging their workers in a more genuine way?
One important recommendation to assist in engaging workers in their workplaces is to ensure that company goals are transparent. Workers should know what the company is working towards, and should be kept informed on the company’s progress towards these goals. They should understand the scope of their work in terms of what is being achieved on a broader level, rather than just being briefed on their day to day tasks. Open communication between all company levels motivates and engages workers who see the value in their contributions, and can take partial ownership of the positive progress of the company. Joint action towards a shared goal can also assist in creating a unified and cohesive workplace. Even departments who work in vastly different areas of the company can feel a sense of belonging to a larger whole.
Genuine engagement is also closely linked to workers’ relationship to their immediate supervisors. First and foremost, supervisors should try to foster a respectful relationship with workers. It may seem obvious, but people will feel far more connected to a company if they are known on a personal level, rather than feeling like a cog in an immense machine. As well as getting to know individuals in a personal sense, supervisors should make an effort to understand the professional goals of the individuals who work under them. This allows supervisors to try to set up opportunities for growth, personal development and lateral movement where possible. One recommendation for allowing growth and development is to allow frequent opportunities for workers to demonstrate initiative and leadership without the micro-management of a supervisor or owner. This is important, as not allowing workers who are clearly capable to take on more responsibility and independence in their role can leave them feeling stagnant and frustrated.
Welcoming feedback from employees at all levels is another important component of encouraging genuine engagement. Workers are often in a unique position to identify issues in the internal workings of a company. Failing to provide workers with a means to report on these issues, or letting these reports go unnoticed or unaddressed, not only actively discourages worker engagement, but is detrimental to company operations. Some ways of encouraging workers to give feedback include weekly or monthly surveys, skip-level meetings (where leading or senior employees speak directly to workers), or tailgate meetings where worker input is welcomed. Allowing workers to give feedback (and actioning this feedback where possible) lets workers know that their opinions are respected and valued.
By making company goals transparent, encouraging supervisors to get to know those working under them, and encouraging the invaluable feedback which can be provided by workers, leaders can ensure that workers are engaged. And not only are engaged workers more productive, profitable and safe, engaged workers are happier workers!
As someone who has worked in the social services industry for a decade, I have come to appreciate companies who choose to help their community. Hull Services, where I worked assisting children and families, would not have been able to operate without the assistance of many sponsors and volunteers in the Calgary community. Although my career path has taken a turn in recent years, I am still eager to keep community spirit alive. At Kasa Consulting, Cam and I have committed to helping our community in a variety of ways, and look forward do doing more as our company grows and evolves.
One of the ways in which we support our community is through sponsoring sports teams. One of our employees, Alex Entz, plays on a Fernie softball team called Faces Loaded, and with our assistance, they were able to obtain new team jerseys. We also sponsor a basketball team in the Central Alberta Senior Men’s Basketball Association, as a way of showing one of our valued clients – Colter Energy Services – that we support them in more than their health and safety initiatives.
Another way we show our commitment to community is through donating necessary goods for the less fortunate in Calgary and Edmonton. One of our clients, DistributionNOW, spends a considerable amount of time every year collecting donations on behalf of Inn from the Cold. Inn from the Cold is an organization that collects warm clothing, accessories, diapers, and toiletries for those in need, and thanks to DistributionNOW, we have been made aware of this great organization that we have supported for the past few years.
Finally, I am a member of Calgary Women in Energy (CWIE). As part of this group, I have assisted in many of their planned, charitable events. Over the years of my involvement with the CWIE, I have served lunch and dinner at the Calgary Drop-in Centre, participated in a blood drive with Canadian Blood Services, volunteered at a charity golf tournament for the Louise Dean School, a school which allows young mothers, both current and expectant, to complete their education, and taken part in a Stuff-A-Purse drive for women in need.
Volunteering is something the Kasa team does throughout the year. If you would like to participate in any of the initiatives we are currently involved in, or will be involved in, or if you would like to include Kasa in any of your community spirit initiatives, please feel free to call or email me anytime.
403-605-8641 / firstname.lastname@example.org