Engaging the Frontline – Best Practices from Human History

13 Nov 2020

Engaging the Frontline – Best Practices from Human History

The presentation is a story of how our innate human fears and psychological conditions formed tens of thousands of years ago now create huge challenges to changing behaviours and creating strong safety cultures.

For most of human history we lived in small groups, and it was critical we could trust those around us. Our brains are built to only trust those we know well, and only in recent times have we had to adapt to living with total strangers (i.e. most people we interact with on a daily basis). This modern environment is comparatively short in terms of human history, and our brains have not yet adjusted.

Many organisations are focused on improving ‘psychological safety’ to improve workforce engagement, but are finding it to be an uphill battle against our natural human state. The presentation illustrates why this is, with stories and research on traditional and historic cultures, and examples of real life safety incidents I have investigated where these psychological flaws have played out.

The presentation then explores how very modern-day factors – continuous states of distraction from the ‘technology tsunami’, far more worries and mental health concerns leaving people struggling for focus, and the increase in micro-laziness in the workplace due to a lack of care – are creating even more challenges for organisations seeking to improve performance.

The presentation uses detailed true stories from historic societies, modern day scientific research, and real case studies from Australian businesses (Spotless, Newcrest, etc) to educate the audience on the challenges we face in developing psychological safety in the workplace, and show them actual proven solutions for overcoming the challenges.

It effectively paints a timeline of human history, highlighting how this now manifests itself in the challenges H&S professionals face. And also providing the audience with usable take-away ideas.