Riccardo Dovera, Tenaris’s Senior Director of Health and Safety, believes “we need to bring about a change in people’s mindset regarding health and well-being.” In this Q&A, Dovera discusses the way Tenaris is promoting a culture of well-being for its employees.
How has the pandemic changed the way we think about health at work?
It’s changed a lot of things. Before the pandemic, when we talked about health and safety, the focus was on safety, on making sure people don’t get hurt at our industrial facilities. Now, health is coming to the fore. It’s clear that after the pandemic, people started to adopt new self-care habits, paying more attention to their mental and physical health, watching what they ate, doing more exercise and finding other ways of looking after themselves. This was reflected in what the company did as well, not only making sure our people go home safely, but also ensuring that they’re physically and mentally well. Today we are going one step further: embracing issues affecting people’s well-being.
What other things, besides physical health, should we be working on to achieve general employee well-being?
Well-being is much broader than just doing medical checkups. It is a vast, highly personalized task that involves all areas of the company. For example, it’s essential to look after people’s mental health, preventing stress and burnout. Each manager needs to be able to relate to their people, to understand not only the professional aspects, but also the personal issues of each person on his or her team. In my opinion, the phrase that best describes this is "One size doesn't fit all.“ Each employee needs his or her customized plan.
How can managers help promote well-being?
We have to develop managers’ skills and capabilities so they can identify the key things to address with each team member. Especially after COVID-19, because several major issues came up at once, such as remote working and the consequential lack of social interaction, which made it more difficult to know how each person was doing on a personal level. We cannot lose the face-to-face quality of in-person relationships, to really understand and listen to our people in order to ensure their well-being. It’s vital because it’s the basis for performance and motivation.
Do you think that other industrial companies are starting to care more about employee health and well-being?
Yes, absolutely. We are seeing a global trend. For example, mental health part is something that is being discussed throughout the industry. Tenaris is part of worldsteel, and the subject is on the table there, with different member companies sharing new insights and best practices. As this is a new approach, it has to cascade down from our senior managers to reach as many people as possible, with an emphasis on listening and treating each case individually.