Successfully Managing Changing a Changing Workforce

By Charles A. Soczek, Principal Consultant, DuPont Sustainable Solutions

Many companies around the globe are faced with the difficult challenge of managing workforce change in a time when budgets are tight, pressures to decrease costs and improving productivity are high, and there is still an expectation to maintain safe operations.  This is not a new challenge, but workforce changes are even more complex than in the past.

The Channel Industries Mutual Aid (CIMA) is a cooperative organization of over 100 emergency response agencies in the Texas counties of Harris, Chambers, and Brazoria and industrial fire departments from the petrochemical, chemical, and refining operations.  They were formed in 1955 under the name of Ship Channel Industries Disaster Aid Organization.  They have 60 years’ worth of serious industrial accident records. The head of CIMA believes the single most significant factor in incident increases is when the workforce changes as a result of new processes and major shutdowns.

This paper will explore key characteristics of new employees entering the workforce today and will outline the steps developed at DSS to meet the needs of this new type of employee.  The goal of these changes is to ultimately provide a suitable working environment and improve employee retention which will have the added benefit of improving process safety performance.

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