Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Roberts, Louisiana to spend a week at the Shell’s Robert Training and Conference Center (RTCC). This state-of-the-art facility is situated on 35 private acres, surrounded by woods, located in the heart of the Gulf-South region between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana. Every year, thousands of men and women come to the Shell Robert Training Center to prepare themselves for the ever-increasing challenges of working in oil and gas operations. Opened initially to handle training and development for Shell’s domestic operating staff, the Center has long since become an important training resource for the industry on a global scale. It’s labs that are equipped with the same control rooms, electrical panels, instruments, blow out preventers, subsea control system, computer networks, and other drilling and production equipment that students must deal with on the job.
My invitation to this facility had a very different purpose. I was one of thirty women business owners invited to the facility to attend the inaugural Energy Executive Women’s Program underwritten by Shell Oil Company.
The program was a weeklong, immersive executive education experience focusing on the Energy, Oil and Gas industry to drive development of Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) leaders within the Energy Industry supply chain. The WBENC Energy Executive Program focused on increasing the competitive advantage, capabilities and strategy development of women as leaders in the industry. This program supports the evolution of Diversity and Inclusion strategies among major Energy, Oil and Gas companies, and further shows the commitment towards impacting the long-term success of diverse businesses that are critical to the global energy supply chains.
Upon my arrival to the facility, I was presented with my Program Playbook, which was a little intimidating quite honestly. I remember feeling exhausted just thinking about the week ahead. The Playbook included a grueling schedule that started every morning at 8:00am and continued late into the evening every night. I didn’t know how I was going to keep up for the next five days! In addition to my schedule, my Playbook included impressive bios of the panelists and speakers I would have the pleasure of hearing throughout the week. They included executives from the program’s sponsoring companies such as Shell, Exxon Mobil, BP, and Chevron.
Safety culture is a top priority to these industry leaders and being able to track, measure, report, and reward on employee safety behavior is definitely top of mind for all EHS professionals. Their industry knowledge proved to be very thought provoking as to how I could tailor the safety recognition programs my company, Safety Pros, provides the Oil, Gas, and Energy industries.
For over 30 years, my company, Safety Pros, has helped customers achieve their safety goals and create safer, healthier work environments. Our personalized service and dedication to creating and promoting successful safety programs has helped our customers build strong safety cultures within their organizations. Hearing from professionals working in the Oil, Gas, and Energy industries and discussing their challenges and their initiatives was valuable information that can help shape the products and services offered by my company.
At Safety Pros, we help organizations implement safety recognition programs focused on improving safety culture and reducing workplace accidents. Our programs focus on safety behavior and create a collaborative, problem-solving approach involving both management and employees in identifying critical sets of safe and unsafe behaviors. This allows for the creation of incentives for the specific behaviors or sets of behaviors that prevent accidents from occurring in on the job.
The success of a safety recognition program is reliant on its implementation. Occupational health and safety research suggests that safety programs are most effective at increasing safety behaviors long-term and reducing workplace safety incidents if they serve to reinforce an organization’s climate of safety and are designed to proactively recognize and reward desirable safety behaviors. Successful safety recognition programs are built from the following elements:
- Structure- Having a clearly defined safety goals and a plan for reinforcing these goals is pertinent to shaping employee behavior and adopting the safety program from the start.
- Reinforcement- To reinforce safety behaviors and continued progression toward safety goals, feedback is essential. Feedback lets employees know how well they are progressing toward and achieving their safety goals, allowing them to adjust their efforts to meet those goals.
- Recognition and Rewards- Before distributing recognition, prizes, and other rewards, be sure these incentives are paired with a consistent set of behavioral contingencies. Employees should know what is expected of them before a reward can be given. For example, individual-level safety compliance might be rewarded with a small prize or a note card, while unit-level safety compliance might be rewarded with a plaque that is displayed in their department.
- Communication and Promotion- A successful safety recognition program is one that is promoted throughout the organization. Supervisors and human resources personnel should strive to share program goals, highlights, and featured incentives with every department of the organization.
- Program Tracking & Evaluation- All aspects of the safety incentives program should be regularly monitored and evaluated for effectiveness and to ensure program goals are being achieve and to identify possible problem areas that can be improved upon.
I was ecstatic to be among other women who worked in safety and health. There were extensive opportunities to network with peer attendees. Conversations lead to many discussions about joining forces and succeeding together for years to come! Being able to share my ideas and learn more about the Gas, Oil, and Energy industry’s needs was truly eye opening. It was an opportunity to learn how different organizations implement safety recognition programs and share with them how my company is able to help.
In addition to the networking opportunities with executives at the oil and gas companies, we were taught an intensive curriculum by industry experts and professors from the University of Texas, McCombs School of Business. We had the opportunity to learn topics that directly affect the Gas, Oil, and Energy industry. A few of the topics included:
- Business Strategy
- Effective Negotiations
- Introduction to Energy
One of the most exciting parts of the program was the immersive facility tour with hands-on exercises and real-life simulations of oilrig and process operations. All executive topics where based on how they relate to the Energy industry and used Women’s Business Owner’s actual business experience in exercises where applicable. I feel attending and investing in educating myself on this industry will increase my competitive advantage through strategy and offer me the tools for success as a female business owner involved in safety and health.
And at the end of the week I was exhilarated rather than exhausted!