One of my biggest frustrations in the mining industry is this common practice of treating workers as numbers rather than people. It’s a short-term mindset that really costs a lot in the long run, in terms of absenteeism, staff turnover and general degradation of company culture. Ultimately, it’s not good for the worker, it’s not good for the team around them and it’s not good for business.
My recent guest on the Full Production podcast, Cameron Knight, is very much on the same wavelength. As a mining human resources specialist and consultant, his thoughts on setting a bigger picture goal for an organisation, and ensuring all employees are part of that strategy, is a great step toward beating the people versus numbers mentality.
Equipping Leaders To Lead
Cameron’s methodology is all about including everyone, right down to the cleaner, in the organisational goal. His focus is teaching and equipping leaders to be able to bring that strategy into the daily work lives of all employees, at all levels.
It’s About Getting Smart About Mental Fitness
Cameron uses the term ‘mental fitness’ when he talks about equipping managers with the tools to manage their respective teams. He describes it best himself: “I’m not talking about massages in the office and being able to call a psychologist on your time off. I’m talking about understanding that everyone in an organisation is different. They all have their challenges and problems. Sometimes your best employees have the most challenging personal lives, and leaders need to be equipped to deal with that to make sure your workforce keeps rolling along.”
Let’s Get Working Together: The Two Keys
A lot of this comes back to a concept I bring up often; bringing emotional intelligence to the workplace. In this context, it’s about marrying commercial goals with employee relationships to bring the best out of people.
Cameron breaks it down to the basics. “Outside of all the setup and all of the things you have to have in place, there are two main things you need to have to get people working towards a goal: A commercial vision that’s delivered by the executive team that everyone understands, down to the cleaner, and that is linked to commercial realities.” he continues “and you need to make sure that your people understand the commercial realities. The second component is having leaders that understand everyone is different and that the mental fitness of your workforce is really important,” he says.
For traditional-thinking miners, managers and mining companies in general, some of these ideas might seem a bit out there. However, it’s only through challenging the numbers versus people mentality through ideas like this that the Australian industry is going to attract the talent it needs to grow, compete and succeed.
Listen to my entire conversation with Cameron here.