In our last article we looked at some ways to add structure around getting staff managers more involved in the safety culture. There we mentioned the value of making it mandatory, establishing the desired outcome, setting target goals, and using intelligence-gathering questions to reveal genuine employee perception about the culture. Here are a few additional suggestions that will solidify that structure. [content_protector password=”smwgsm” identifier=”smwgsm”]
Treat Floor Visits as a “Trip Report”
Many companies require their employees to complete a trip report if they’ve visited another facility. The goal of writing a trip report is not only to record the activities and discussions that took place during the visit, but also to discuss lessons learned, takeaways, and proposed action items based on those activities and discussions.
A floor visit should be viewed no differently. Asking staff managers to create a “trip report” of their visits on the floor is a great way to capture the discussions they had with floor employees.
Debrief During Staff Meetings
You may be asking yourself, What do we do with these trip reports once we have them? Simply put, they become discussion points during your staff meetings. Have each manager provide a brief summary of their “trip report” that week, and discuss the main takeaways and concerns about safety and the safety culture.
In fact, someone can even whiteboard these in a SWOT analysis while the summaries are being reported. If you’re not familiar with how a SWOT analysis works (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats), simply google it and you will find a wealth of information on how to use it. Use the SWOT analysis to identify how the safety culture is progressing, where it’s becoming strong, what its residual weaknesses are, any opportunities for improvement discovered through it, and what threats remain that could still derail it.
Assign Action Items to Staff Managers
Discussing the trip reports is not an end in itself. It must terminate in concrete action items that are then assigned to staff managers who can address the top-priority concerns. This effectively promotes and distributes ownership for safety-culture improvements among the staff managers. Keep track of the progress of these action items, and be sure there are concrete deadlines in place for accomplishing them.
Report Back to Employees
Nothing will derail an effort to build safety-culture relationships of trust between floor employees and staff managers quicker than failing to follow up on stated concerns. These don’t have to be reported back individually to each employee. Instead, place them in a summary report and communicate them to the collective employee population during plant-wide meetings, on break-room bulletin boards, company newsletters, department meetings, and any other venue available to you. The point is to ensure you let employees know what’s being done with the feedback they are giving you. And if some of that feedback cannot be acted upon (or must be delayed), be sure you are communicating the reasons for inaction!
Rinse and Repeat
The entire process outlined above should become a normal, ongoing effort for staff managers. Build on your momentum, and remove obstacles along the way that might prevent this from becoming sustainable. To underscore a point made in a previous article, be sure the effort is owned and being driven by top facility leadership. They are the ones who should be setting the expectations for their staff managers.
That’s it for this edition of Recordable INSIGHTS. Until next time.