Why Focusing on Your Team and Future Can Support You Through Tough Times

The mining industry can be a turbulent career path to take. When you’re in, there is no certainty to the security of the market let alone how the dynamics within the workplace will work out. This is why it’s worth looking into a few factors, and considering how you can make your mining career a rich experience.

On a recent episode of Full Production, I was joined by Sean Lavin, the HR guy and host of the mining podcast, Beneath The Surface. We discussed some key mining culture points, here are three that I feel are important.

Invest In a Backup

There’s certainly a culture within mining that once you’re in, you’re in. But, have you ever considered looking outside the industry for options – just as a potential backup plan?

The 2000s saws a big boom for mining – people were heading here, there and everywhere, switching gears into other sects, and trying their hand at different opportunities. While this was great, I think we can all agree there have since been times of great uncertainty within our industry – need I mention the crash in 2012?

So looking to gain experience and qualifications elsewhere can certainly work in your favour. It’s about “having skills outside the industry, that you can then leverage if times go bad,” says Sean – a guy who has worked within different industries and studied for a masters in HR during his downtime. Aim to have a financial and alternative industry nest egg. This means that you have that flexibility to pivot on should things head south.   

The Importance of  Your Mining “Family”

When you really think about it, what is the one thing that you love about your job? More often than not, the answer will be, ‘your workmates.’

This is something that Sean can attest to, particularly after experiencing the industry fall in 2012. Less of the workforce were diverting to other sectors and opted to stay put for job security reasons. Stronger relationships developed between the workers, as there were less nomadic activity and more possibilities for stronger ties.

Comradery is important in your daily working life. “They really are your family when you’re out there on site,” iterates Sean. Having this strong support network around is more important than you think. What can be seen as miner’s banter is actually building bonds and healthy connections between peers.

Being The Good Boss

A good boss is someone who encourages a great culture and brings out the best in people. Unfortunately, the supervisors who are able to do that “are few and far between,” in Sean’s opinion.

Of course, targets need to be met and the right person understands that, but by supporting and looking after the people, and empowering your workers, you’ll end up maintaining a productive work environment. Having emotional intelligence is also significant here. Usually, the supervisors that instil feelings of certainty, safety and confidence are the ones that are invested in by their workers.

When there’s some value given to your workers, you’ll receive it back tenfold.   

The relationships and decisions we make can define our mining experience. Make sure that you are covering your bases, and recognise the importance of your working relationships.

To hear the full episode click here.