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Global Safety Summit, Dublin
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Tackling the International Deficit for EHS Talent.

  • Publish Date: Posted 6 months ago

​Shirley Parsons Principal Consultant Tom Nicholls offers expert advice at Global Safety Summit.

Principal Consultant at Shirley Parsons,Tom Nicholls was recently invited to EdgeConnex’s Global Safety Summit in Dublin, Ireland to offer expert advice on ‘Tackling the International Deficit for EHS Talent.’

EdgeConnex, a global leader in the development of Data Centres, have an international portfolio across Europe, North America, and Asia. Their Global Safety Summit Ireland, which took place in August, was attended by senior stakeholders and their partnership companies, Microsoft, Winthrop and BCEI.

During the three days, topics explored the different facets of safety and demonstrated EdgeConnex’s commitment to delivering an inclusive safety culture across their Data Centre projects.

International data centre specialists.

Tom Nicholls, who has worked at Shirley Parsons since 2014, has extensive experience across the international data centre market and was able to draw upon his expertise of client EHS personnel and programme management challenges within the industry.

His presentation addressed the current deficit for EHS talent, including the 2023 workplace trends of ‘Quiet Quitting’ and ‘The Great Resignation’, and he identified and discussed the push and pull factors in attracting and retaining EHS professionals internationally.

As a Principal Consultant for Shirley Parsons both in the UK and US, Tom has a unique insight on the differing regional and cultural talent challenges faced by EHS leaders, organisations, and employees.

He said: “It was a pleasure to be invited by EdgeConneX to speak at their Global Safety Summit in Dublin, Ireland and it’s important to discuss international trends regarding EHS talent. Here at Shirley Parsons, we work closely within the data centre space internationally and therefore understand the importance of not only acquiring talent, but also retaining talent in what is a rapidly growing and evolving industry.”

Shirley Parsons Workforce Insights Survey.

Tom was also able to draw upon Shirley Parsons EHS Salary and Workforce Survey as well as his anecdotal international experience of working with both developers and contractors in the data center space, to provide insights into the current EHS market. The presentation demonstrated the importance of providing both personal development opportunities and adopting progressive management styles to keep EHS talent engaged and retained.

“For employers looking to improve employee retention, we found a significant correlation between respondents’ overall job satisfaction and three key areas – EHS culture, direct supervisor and progression and development opportunities.

“72% of professionals who took part in the survey described their workplace EHS culture as ‘satisfactory or above’ and also felt satisfied at work, whereas only 15% felt satisfied if they believed their employer is not trying to improve the EHS culture.”

The insights also showed that professionals prefer different types of leadership depending on industry sector. For example, those who work in technology prefer transformational leadership and leaders who inspire and empower workers by fostering a shared vision and promoting personal growth. Whereas the research sector favours a ‘Laissez-Faire Leadership’ and those who take a hands-off approach and grant employees with a high level of autonomy and independence.

Tom finished his presentation by advising engaged employees deliver results and revealing that highly engaged specialised workers receive 70% fewer safety incidents, 41% lower absenteeism and 40% fewer quality defects.

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