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Freedom to blow the whistle

A culture of confidence, personal integrity and high quality is the documented effect of trusting our employees on all levels. Solvang allows employees to report incidents without fear of backlash. HR Director Kjetil Meling explains why.

Keeping track of every incident on board a fleet of tankers seems like an overwhelming task. With the impossibility of monitoring every area around the clock through video surveillance, it’s crucial for crew members to proactively submit their reports.

The notion that employees will report every incident, especially when it involves blowing the whistle on their own actions, might appear unrealistic. Yet, Solvang is confident that this is precisely what we’ve accomplished. Mr. Kjetil Meling, HR Director at Solvang, challenges;

“Just ask any long-standing member of Solvang whether they’ve ever seen someone who reported an incident face any kind of backlash.”

Trust is key

Solvang has strategically chosen to prioritize the reporting of incidents over penalizing the individuals involved in the mistake. Receiving a report of an incident provides the organization with valuable information for making enhancements.

“Our approach is based on trust, encompassing everyone from the top manager to the cadet,” Mr. Meling confirms.

Ever since Solvang implemented their HR policy of equally trusting all employees, the company has seen an increase in staff retention rates to between 97-99 % annually. The annual amount of incidents has decreased as well.

“While the high approval from our staff is rewarding, our aim is to continually improve, whether in terms of retention rates or reducing the number of incidents,” Mr. Meling states.

Nothing without you

Outspoken support from the top management makes it easier to handle situations on board the ships. Regularly, every ship holds meetings on safety, encompassing all crew members. In 2023, the crews were trained in Solvang culture, seizing ownership to mutual respect, team spirit and quality as inherent values of the company. The culture opposes values like fear and control, which don’t contribute to quality.

“Motivating people to report an error they made, or to admit that they didn´t perform an obligatory task, that paves the way for compliance,” Mr. Meling remarks.