As the construction industry grows and transforms, driven by the ever-accelerating wave of technological advancements, change management becomes a critical part of success. It provides the framework for managing the people side of these changes, and safety managers have an integral role to play.
Safety managers excel as change managers because of the intersection of skills and knowledge that both these roles share. Safety managers are certainly invaluable assets in navigating the complexities of transition.
Competency in risk assessment
One of the key skills that safety managers and change managers have in common is their competency in risk assessment. Safety managers are alert to and dedicated to protecting the well-being of workers. They are trained to identify possible hazards and devise strategies to mitigate them. Change managers use similar skills to assess risks and challenges associated with transitioning from the current state to the goal state. Both roles recognise the importance of identifying risks and proactively addressing them.
Attention to detail
Attention to detail is also a key component of both roles. Safety managers need to be meticulous in their approach, ensuring that a project is operating and adhering to all safety standards. This skill is easily transferred to a change management position. Change managers need to be thorough in planning and executing each stage of change so that it is successful.
Emphasis on employee wellbeing
Safety managers are dedicated to employee safety and wellbeing. An excellent safety manager will help foster a culture that places high value on safety and on looking out for others on a project site. This ability to create a foundation of trust can also influence employees to engage with change initiatives.
We know that employees who feel seen and heard are less likely to resist change. When their concerns are heard and addressed, change is likely to occur more quickly and smoothly. So it’s easy to see how a safety manager, who is already attuned to creating a workplace based on trust, can transfer that skill to the role of change manager.
Safety managers understand that the construction industry is dynamic and the unexpected can happen at any moment. This is why they excel at contingency planning. They understand the importance of having back up plans in place to respond to unexpected events. In the context of change management, where transformation often brings about unforseen challenges, this skill is invaluable. Safety managers can identify potential problems during change management, and come up with alternative strategies to minimise disruption.
The presence of well thought out contingency plans also instils a sense of security and assurance among those affected by the change. It fosters a more positive and receptive attitude towards change. When employees see that their organisation is prepared for the unexpected, they’re more likely to embrace change with confidence, knowing that their employer is willing to keep their interests in mind.
Communication and training
Communication is also a key skill of safety managers. In order to ensure that safety procedures and guidelines are understood and followed by employees of all experience levels, they need to be able to communicate clearly. Similarly, effective communication is the key to reducing confusion, fear and resistance in change management. Safety manager can transfer their communication expertise to the role of change manager very effectively.
Safety managers also need to be able to train others so that safety procedures are adopted. This is yet another skill that is used by change managers. Educating employees about the changes that are happening within an organisation is critical to the success of the change adoption. Having knowledge and skills implicitly taught to employees means that change will occur more seamlessly.
Regulatory knowledge and compliance
Safety managers are up to date with safety regulations and best practices. They need to ensure that projects align with industry standards and legal requirements. This is an important, specialised skill that is of great help in change management. Change initiatives involve the alteration of processes, procedures, and systems. A safety manager’s knowledge is invaluable in this space because they can guide changes in a manner that ensures continued compliance. By being aware of legal requirements, they mitigate the risks associated with non-compliance during change, safeguarding the organisation from legal ramifications.
The overall skills and knowledge of safety managers make them the perfect fit for the role of change managers. Indeed, safety managers excel in change management roles because of their skills and knowledge in risk assessment, attention to detail, employee wellbeing, contingency planning, communication, training, regulatory knowledge and compliance.
Learn more about how to become an effective change manager by downloading our free white paper below.