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A Conversation with The Adecco Groups National WHS Manager Clayton Anderson on their pursuit of workplace safety

Caption: Clayton Anderson, Anna Moolman and Kelly van Nelson at the RCSA Industry Awards

In one of the many high-rise Melbourne City buildings is The Adecco Group, a global recruitment stalwart. WorkPro caught up with the talent management specialist to chat all things safety as the proud recipient of the 2018 Recruitment Industry Excellence in Safety Award, to share their safety story.

Clayton Anderson is The Adecco Group’s Work Health and Safety Manager. Commencing his safety career at Tip Top Bakeries where his interest in safety was born, he actually started his career with The Adecco group as Branch Manager for Trades in Brisbane in 2007. He then moved to Melbourne into a role in industrial relations, before finally settling into his current safety practitioner role.

The culture throughout the business has been a focus in his time, which has “evolved” throughout his 11-year tenure. “We’ve got some great people that work here – some really experienced people, passionate about their jobs.” By actively working on their culture, The Adecco Group makes sure that they not only attract the best, but retain them.

Culture also includes our attitude to safety. Constructing a robust safety system is obviously key to good safety and risk management, but streamlining the processes for people so it is easy to deliver is critical. If it is too onerous, it becomes a dreaded chore for people. The basis of our safety system is site inspections, ongoing safety observations, hazard reporting and lag indicators such as lost time injury frequency rate. We have a legal obligation to do that, but central to our program is partnering with our clients, giving feedback and getting out in front, being seen at client site. Safety for The Adecco Group is boots on the ground, not policy makers.”

“Over the last 18 months, we’ve removed unnecessary procedures and policies, or combined them across different brands within the Group (Adecco, Modis and Spring). We have found through this that there’s less bloating of the system and the parts are able to effectively operate in unison to deliver a higher standard of safety.”

Ensuring that The Adecco Group’s employees and candidates understand and appreciate basic safety is paramount to keeping everyone safe. “As a talent management agency that places thousands of candidates on client sites every day, they need to be the business’s eyes and ears however, we don’t expect them to be safety experts.”

Clayton outlined that the safety team spend a lot of time in branches, making sure staff are trained and competent in hazard identification and their safety management system.

To achieve this, The Adecco Group partners with WorkPro to deliver base level safety information and instruction. “We have a long, strong history with the WorkPro team and the program has been a consistent part of the business for 10 years. WorkPro’s modules deliver safety information that is critical to ensure our people are equipped with safety knowledge when they go to sites. The fact that we can deliver a safety module that is closely aligned with their role and industry means that the learning and tips can be applied. We need people to be aware of safety hazards when they are working at a host site.”

The Adecco Group’s approach was recently recognised at the 2018 RCSA Industry Awards, which “provide the opportunity to recognise the best of the best in the recruitment and staffing sector”. The Adecco Group won the award for excellence in safety and risk management, as a recognition of all the work they do in not only dealing with safety in the work place, but actively looking to continue being a leader when it comes to work health and safety.

Clayton was excited by the win, and said it was a good reminder of what the Group is getting right. “I think, being in safety, we’re always looking for what’s next. If we’re still injuring people, we’re still saying we’re not good enough.” It’s this mentality that drives his team forward.

“When I was first asked by my Manager to put forward a submission for these awards I was reluctant, as I believed we still had so much to do. She persisted and we put the submission together. Once we saw it in writing, we were able to reflect on our significant achievements.

He believes that what set them apart from the other finalists, who were all worthy applicants in their own right, was simple. “Our focus on continual improvement. We’ve improved a lot in our safety and compliance and we’ve automated most of our reporting and we’ve seen results from that. We’ve seen massive jumps in our compliance rates.”

He believes the ‘Safe2Say’ program was another important reason for their award. “Having that positive engagement where there is a clear channel for providing feedback I believe really assisted our submission.”

“We launched Safe2Say a few years ago; an online portal for candidates and staff to raise safety concerns. We found that candidates in labour hire were worried about speaking up for fear of retribution. Safe2Say provides them a secure place to note concerns for us to know about them and act upon them.”

Safe2Say allows candidates, as well as internal employees, to safely and securely report safety concerns in the workplace. This means that workplaces are held to account for any safety shortcomings, and can address these safety concerns in a way that protects the reporter’s privacy. This, as well as other technological advancements, has allowed The Adecco Group to remain a leader in the recruitment sector.

Caption: Clayton in the Adecco office

The relationship between technology and safety is something that Clayton embraces wholeheartedly. He has a vision for where the future of safety is going, saying “Where we need to get to is almost an augmented reality space. That way, we can put people in front of hazards without exposing them to the risk.” By allowing people to experience risk without the physical danger can better prepare them if they are exposed to it.

However, technology and compliance mustn’t become a singular focus, according to Clayton. “We don’t want to become all about compliance when it comes to safety. It needs to be about training people, getting them on board, making them understand and feel like they can raise concerns.”

The Adecco group senior executive team is focused on making safety a priority.
“We present to the executive team every quarter on safety. We go through our stats, injuries, and the feedback is two way. We present on real life experience and discuss what we can do from a management perspective to fix it. Our Executive team really drive that message.”

From WorkPro’s point of view, partnering with The Adecco Group has taught us a lot, we’ve grown alongside the company. Being linked with an organisation that cares so deeply about compliance and safety inspires us to go further. The Adecco Group have been a leader in their space when it comes to making sure candidates are protected and continue to make advancements that inspire the rest of the participants in the recruitment sector.

“I’ve been in and around the recruitment sector for some 12 years now. I’ve seen and experienced safety evolve from a place where it was all about the compliance stick, bringing people kicking and screaming to be involved, to a position where companies, employees and candidates are really engaged, with the objective quite clearly about building a positive, practical safety program so it blends naturally in to the working environment, rather than sitting out to the side. It’s about ensuring that everyone gets home to their friends and family safe every night”, stated Tania Evans, WorkPro’s Founder.

Congratulations to our friends at The Adecco Group for your award, and for setting a standard across your organisation.

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