The High AQ of the CLAC Construction Workforce
CLAC’s highly skilled members working in the construction industry have absorbed additional COVID-19 safe work procedures largely in stride
By Nathan Koslowsky, Representative
The ratification meeting took place outside. The day was bright, windy, and cold. The group stood in a large circle, spaced six feet apart. The mood was up, eyes were bright above mask-covered noses and mouths.
I stood there with the bunch of pens I’d just grabbed with my bare hand from out of the duffle bag on the ground beside me. I wanted to pass the pens around so that these construction workers could each sign in and eventually mark a ballot.
I stood there for a moment unsure of how to proceed. I said somewhat ruefully that I wasn’t sure how to hand the pens out to the group.
Someone responded quickly, “That’s okay. We’ve got hand sanitizer in the trailer and can use that after we’re done.”
I handed out the pens along with copies of the collective agreement. They voted unanimously to accept.
Although this is only a minor example, I’ve been impressed by the capacity of CLAC members to adapt over the past few months to more significant and rapid change due to COVID-19 restrictions. Sure, there has been some grumbling, but this has been the exception rather than the norm.
The vast majority of front-line construction workers I’ve talked to over the past weeks and months get it—the interrelated dynamics of productivity and safety. And why wouldn’t they?
These workers are familiar with completing job hazard analysis and field-level risk assessments on a daily basis. They understand the situational nature of safety and are experienced at adapting safe work procedures to specific applications—often in demanding conditions.
And so, these highly skilled workers have absorbed additional COVID-19 safe work procedures largely in stride. More than that, I’ve witnessed our stewards and health and safety committee members take an active role in shaping the response of their employer in helpful, positive ways.
These workplace leaders have been tracking public health notices along with their employers. They have been taking the initiative to translate changing restrictions into reasonable workplace practices.
The adaptability quotient (AQ) of the CLAC construction workforce is impressive. And it has the potential to be good for business too.
“Organizational AQ is a natural by-product of individual AQ, and by encouraging and empowering their employees to adapt, companies can increase their own adaptability and ability to compete,” writes Chris Powell in a blog about why AQ will be critical for the future of work.
I like the sound of that. An important nexus between the cultivation of a robust safety program, the nurturing of both individual and organizational adaptability quotient as knock-on effect, and the potential for resultant competitive advantage within the industry.