Inspiring hearts and minds
Today, Robin is responsible for enabling safe behaviours and practices in people across Shell. This means not just making sure people operate safely, but that they think safely, too. This unlocks their potential and inspires people to do the right thing because they want to, not just because they are told to.
With a PhD in Industrial Psychology co-sponsored by Shell from the University of Aberdeen, Robin has a good understanding of how to inspire others to think about operational and process safety. The first step, he says, is to let staff know that their thoughts and feelings on safety are heard.
“People that feel listened to – that feel cared for – perform better. They’re happier, they’re healthier, and best of all, they’re safer,” says Robin.
To facilitate this, he and his team of leading academics and Shell staff developed the Hearts and Minds approach. This incorporates a toolkit of materials including brochures and pamphlets that provide staff with safety knowledge and information about how they can get their colleagues involved in safety on a day-to-day basis.
“An example is providing frontline supervisors with material they can use to spark a conversation around a potentially hazardous topic. Then we can provide them with specific training around that subject,” he says, adding that it’s crucial the tools not only improve safety, but are valuable for the people using them.
“In training, you can’t ask people to do something different. You ask them to do their job, and ask them how they can do it better,” Robin says. The result is that people get better results at work, and make it home to their families every night unharmed.