Food industry manufacturers that are good at safety excel in everything they do. When organizations engage people in safety, workers become better at their jobs, teamwork becomes more fluid and a natural part of the workday, production ticks up, and quality control measures align with consumer and leader expectations. Here are three ways Food manufactures are getting people committed to safety improvement:
1. Provide information and feedback about the organization’s systems and efforts
Workers have a unique relationship to the work being done. They have first-hand knowledge of the effectiveness of the various procedures and rules the organization implements. Employees can tell us if these systems are generating greater efficiency and what issues prevent their successful execution.
In order to tap worker’s experience and knowledge, we need to create an environment where people feel their concerns are welcome and appreciated by leaders. Employees must believe that organizational leaders are taking their concerns seriously and will actually act on the information they provide. Leaders can do this by actively listening, thanking individuals for their input, and following through on promises.
2. Support measurement and management of exposure
Perhaps the greatest opportunity for engagement is empowering workers to measure the level of exposure present in their work. With management and supervisor support, an observation and feedback system can build stronger workgroup relations and teamwork. When Food industry employees are encouraged to talk to one another about safety, they build more resilient teams, support safe behaviors, and speak up to one another about safety concerns.
3. Partner with employees in identifying solutions to safety problems
Most organizations already have enough problem identifiers. What’s needed are people willing to tackle the challenges. Workers are operating the equipment, handling the product, and working the systems—and, therefore, are ideally positioned to help identify solutions. Employees are more likely to support changes in which they, or their co-workers, have had a say.
In many organizations, engaging employees in identifying solutions offers an important opportunity for cross-functional and cross-level collaboration. It also helps build management credibility in the eyes of workers. Workers’ perceptions of leaders’ judgment, honesty, consistency, fairness, and openness directly influence the degree to which employees are willing to reciprocate and commit to the company’s objectives.
Get your safety team on track! Download our free ebook The Food Safety Checklist: 10 Essentials to Get Your Program Started.