Skip to main content

Generation Z & the changing face of Safety

Published on: 18 Mar 2018

James Pomeroy

“Generation Z & the changing face of Safety” – James Pomeroy speaks to Shirley Parsons

I met with James Pomeroy, Group Health, Safety, Environment and Security Director at Lloyd’s Register, along with Shirley Parsons Director Shona Paterson, to explore the changes they are making to engage with employees and the challenge of connecting with the forthcoming generation of workers.

Over the past two years, the HSES programme at LR has been undergoing a significant change. As part of this transformation, James has been considering how demographic changes will create new challenges for safety. At Shirley Parsons, we strive to be experts on industry trends and developments. This helps us to provide a service that places our clients’ and candidates’ needs at the heart of what we do, so we were keen to learn more.

You have been promoting a progressive and future-centric approach to HSES at Lloyds Register. Why is this next generation of the UK workforce of such interest? 

Lloyd’s Register (LR) is a historic organisation that has been around for over 250 years, but in recent years we’ve seen an increasingly rapid pace of change. This change has occurred because the environment we operate within is changing, as is the nature of our work. We are now seeing the deployment of remote technology to conduct inspections that previously required people to access hazardous environments, automation is increasingly being deployed, and 3D-printing and virtual reality are becoming commonplace. This is creating a new set of skills and our engineers may soon be able to conduct many of their hazardous tasks remotely - empiricism itself is changing. These developments represent a significant change for HSE. The hazard profile of our organisation will become very different requiring practitioners to develop new skill sets.

‘We will also need to consider how the workforce of the future will interact with these hazards: what shapes them as a generation and what are the best methods of engaging them to be safe at work? Millennials are already amongst us and the so-called “Gen Zs” will soon be in our workforce. We need to consider their needs and change our approach.’

In order to take into account the needs of ‘Millennials and Generation Z’, what would you say characterises them as workers?

‘This is a generation that has grown up in the digital revolution, and it has affected their understanding of, and exposure to, risk. It has also characterised the next generation of employees. Most obviously, they are significant users of digital technology and social media, but there’s more to it than that and it’s worth reflecting on why.

‘The Gen Zs and Millennials have had much busier childhoods and been raised in more plural family settings, where they have learnt to be more assertive to receive attention. Consequently, as employees, they require different forms of engagement and attention from employers. Generally, they thrive in collaborative relationships, particularly where they are consulted and engaged. This is a consequence of the teaching styles they have received, where students have been encouraged to work in groups, and critically evaluate and engage in their learning. Their familiarity with technology also means that they interpret and process information quickly and respond best to visual forms of learning.

To read the full article click here