Feedback and accountability are often met with resistance, evoking feelings of discomfort among many individuals. At Helmerich & Payne, these concepts have instead been reframed to Actively C.A.R.E.®, creating an environment built around trust, open communication between managers and employees, and peer-to-peer support.
Building Trust in a New Light
Recognizing the need for a shift in perspective, H&P embarked on a journey in 2015 to reshape its approach to safety and organizational health. This shift highlighted the importance of being proactive and consistent in addressing behaviors, both in the field and office, paving the way for a culture of trust and pursuit of HSE excellence.
The Driving Forces of Employee Behaviors
Employee behaviors are complex and not always easy to comprehend. Yet, at their core, most employees share a common desire: to excel in their roles and contribute to the success of the organization. In their pursuit of these goals, employees sometimes extend themselves beyond established safety norms and standards at times putting themselves in harm’s way. H&P identified three distinct behavior types— enabled, difficult, and non-enabled —to gain a deeper understanding of the conditions and environments that shape employee actions through their own eyes.
The concept of "enabling" the right (and safe) behaviors has emerged as a pivotal point of focus. This concept is an integral part of ensuring that employees are provided with everything they need to perform their duties safely and effectively. To be effective, there must also be a foundation of trust within the organization. Employees must be confident that management is supportive when situations are identified in which the employee is not truly enabled to complete the job safely. By viewing the workplace from this perspective H&P prioritizes empowering employees to excel while fostering a culture of mutual trust.
Fostering Proactive Accountability
After awareness and understanding, creating an enabled environment through accountability is needed. Moving from blame to accountability and responsibility is a self-reflection beginning with managers, supervisors, and then to employees themselves. To foster accountability in the workplace, H&P developed the Accountability Elements model, pictured below. The Accountability Elements model offers a structured approach to empower employees for success, with a systematic approach, commencing with creating a trusting environment to delivering effective feedback. Each element not only clarifies performance expectations but also serves as a foundation for building trust and relationships. This approach encourages employees to engage with every element proactively, ultimately preventing problems from escalating.
Giving Effective Feedback
H&P’s COACH program establishes models for providing feedback that drives positive change. Feedback models — CAR (Content/Action/Result), CAR/AR (Content/Action/Result/Alternative Action/Alternative Result), and COACH (Care/Observe/Approach/Converse/Help) — promote proactive engagement.
By nature, people often tend to focus on negative behaviors and at-risk conditions in the work environment. However, the COACH program encourages the acknowledgment and promotion of safe and desired behaviors through success feedback (CAR), thereby boosting morale. For tackling undesired behaviors, the guidance feedback (CAR/AR) approach invites open conversations between the observer and the individual displaying the behavior. This method empowers employees to construct their own solutions to the issue, significantly increasing the likelihood of behavioral change. For entry level employees, COACH is a simplified model which outlines the necessary steps to deal with various behaviors.
A Paradigm Shift
There is transformative power in embracing feedback and accountability through innovative frameworks and empathy-driven approaches. When feedback and accountability are harnessed thoughtfully, they become catalysts for growth, trust, and a shared commitment to excellence, forging a resilient and thriving work environment.
Download our free Feedback & Accountability One-Pager here to implement effective feedback programs in your own organization.