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Royal IHC Merwede Silver



In considering IHC Merwede, we see a company that has made very rapid and very strong progress in a comparatively short period of time. Based on many sites, and involved in heavy engineering IHC Merwede through the able leadership of Mike Lie-A-Lien has put in place a robust health and wellbeing programme. Notable strengths include:

  • A corporate commitment to employee health and wellbeing in which promoting employee health is seen as a future proofing investment.
  • Health management remains a very high priority for the company, with the concept of continuous improvement applying equally to manufacturing processes and the health and wellbeing of staff.
  • The management culture is supportive and collaborative in nature with opportunities to be a learning organisation eagerly grasped.
  • A very high priority is placed on the creation of safe working conditions and there is high engagement in this approach from the workforce. Very interesting to see very innovative practice being developed.
  • In this context the safety of those members of staff who travel to clients and customers – sometimes to challenging situations is viewed equally seriously.
  • Staff are listened to and suggestions and concerns acted on – again an example of exemplary practice
  • The support provided to staff experiencing challenges to their mental health and wellbeing is exemplary in nature, particularly in the way in which such support extends to ‘real life’ issues such as family finance issues and debt management.
  • The way in which the sports facilities are available to retired members of staff and the community is hugely commendable. There has been an increase in participation in sport and exercise during the past 12 months. Sporting activities include volleyball, football, cycling and the use of the fitness centres.
  • The occupational health service is actively engaged in protecting employees’ health and promoting their wellbeing.
  • Given the nature of the work undertaken by many employees – shipbuilding – advice and support on the prevention and treatment of MSD, and rehabilitation and return to work following an MSD is widely available and easily accessible to members of staff – again a model of good practice.

My final points is taken from what we were told by employees during the audit process, namely, that members of staff who were spoken to described IHC Merwede as a good place to work. They also mentioned that they felt much more involved and engaged in safety and health interventions, and that the company ‘cared’ for their wellbeing.

  • Why then might you ask is IHC Merwede receiving a silver and not a gold award. Is it because they fall short? Clearly no!
  • Is it because there is insufficient commitment, or too limited a range of activities – absolutely not!

The reason, and the only reason, is that Gold implies that the protection and promotion of employee wellbeing is completely, totally and fully embedded in corporate life and working practice. To achieve this takes time, and as I mentioned in my introductory remarks, IHC Merwede have achieved a great deal in a very short time.

So if there is any disappointment in the room at the moment, and I hope there is not, it should be replaced with a feeling of pride – pride at what has been achieved, pride at enormous progress made, and, in my view, and looking at company wellbeing programmes in many countries, pride at being comparable with the best in Europe.

We look forward to seeing the fantastic progress maintained during the coming months, the very strong platform built on still further and the excellent practice become even more completely embedded in corporate practice than it is now. Gold is on the table, maintain the current approach and it will be yours!

John Grifftis, international auditor iHMQ