Contractor Mentorship: A Win-Win All Around

The health and safety (HSE) mentoring of the main contractors at P155 plants started last year, and it is proving to be a great success. As the recommended approach, contractor mentoring helps contractors absorb Rio Tinto’s HSE culture while also bringing them significant gains in several areas of team management.

Each P155 department manager is paired up with a contractor, that is, a company that operates in the manager’s area. Together they set targets and identify opportunities for improvement.

“We drew inspiration from the work that was done a few years ago at Arvida Works, and we added a new component by creating these partnerships between department managers and contractors,” said Stéphanie Gignac, Director of Operations at P155.

Communication and openness are key to the process. “When contractors are asked to join us for discussions, they always show up, and they actively participate in this collaborative process,” Gignac added. “The department managers have formed relationships and built trust with the contractors. There is no big mystery to it—we talk more and so we understand each other better.”

The initiative was enhanced this year with the introduction of cascading coaching. This is a technique that aims to improve the quality of leadership in the field and to create a more positive and stimulating work environment. Gignac explained, “The basic idea is first to recognise good work, what is being done well. We discuss what went well in what we saw. Next, together, we ask ourselves, ‘What could have been better?’ Then we guide the contractors in this direction.”

The mentorship initiated in the Grande-Baie and Laterrière plants will continue, given the gains recorded so far and the very positive feedback from the contractors.

Contractor vox pop

“I had never seen a programme like this on such a large scale. It leads the client to understand our experience on the ground and to contribute their ideas to improve all our issues. It helps a lot.”

Alain Girard, Regional Manager, Moreau Industries

“It brings us closer to our workers/team. It is based on communication and helps build self-confidence. The goal of the programme is to ensure everyone’s safety, but it does so much more than that. Cascade coaching is very effective.”

Manon Lapointe, Controller, Transport RCI

“I really like the approach. It helps to improve interactions with employees. We have introduced the same approach with other clients, and the results are very positive.”

Isabelle Desgagné, Director of Operations/Human Resources, Consultants SL&B