Duty of care: the spirit of responsibility

19 May 2015 - To work for BAM! / Interviews / CSR / Organization / International

One of the topics in BAM International’s HR activities these days is ‘duty of care’. It’s the driving force behind a redefinition of the relationship between employer and employee. Intercom (the employee magazine of BAM International) asked HR Manager Henrie Verbunt what this entails.

What is ‘duty of care’?

In essence, it means that BAM International accepts its responsibility to conduct its business in such a way that the health, safety, welfare and security of all persons involved in or affected by our activities are safeguarded. In other words, making sure that at the end of the day everyone goes home safe and satisfied.

But that doesn’t sound very new, does it?

No, that kind of responsibility has always been part of our policy and culture. But recent changes within and around our organisation have meant that the playing field has changed. First of all, we have seen rapid and considerable growth over these past few years. Second, one of the outcomes of the 2013 employee survey was a demand for role clarity. Especially in the climate of growth, people wanted to have a clear picture of the organisation and where they fit in.

What is your response to the changing situation?

This demand for clarity is shared by the company and a lot has been done to improve things like corporate and regional structures, the function tree, and tools like IBpers that help us keep track of where people are in terms of deployment and career development.

Is this something that’s happening within BAM International only?

No, there is a third factor involved: As a Dutch-based organisation, Royal BAM Group is affected by new laws that change the relationship between employer and employee. Basically, these changes put more emphasis on their mutual ‘duty of care’.

Is ‘duty of care’ limited to Dutch employees, then?

Definitely not. Dutch law is only one driver behind our policies. Of course different laws and regulations apply in our various geographical areas, and hence there will be variations. But the spirit of responsibility is the same throughout the organisation.

When will we see results of your work?

Starting with the Dutch part of the organisation, HR has been working on various projects relating to employee health, safety, welfare and security. The majority has been completed now, and from around the second quarter of 2015, similar projects will be rolled out across the areas.