As supervisors, there are lots of important operating factors we’re responsible for on a daily, hourly, even minute-by-minute basis. Quality, productivity, efficiency, safety, compliance with food safety, USDA, EPA, DOT, and other standards, customer service… all are important. None of them should eclipse the others.
For example, great productivity doesn’t accomplish anything if poor quality leads to customer complaints, efficiency is low, or expensive accidents eat up the profits. Safety deserves no less priority than any of the other operating factors, and then some – it’s the only area which can never take second place to any other.
Supervisors have the responsibility of making sure their employees understand what’s important to their employer, and their roles in supporting those important factors. Put any of these important factors into the blanks below. A really, really good supervisor should be able to read it through without saying anything that isn’t true. Try it with “production”, then try it with “safety” in the blanks. Does it ring true both ways?
“The Supervisor’s Creed”
“As a supervisor, you – my employee – know there are certain things that are important to me. I consider these things to be an essential part of your duties. So much so, doing a great job at these duties can mean recognition or other rewards. So much so neglecting them badly might be the end of your job.
One of them is ___. You and I both know, I pay attention to ___. I make sure every new employee is well aware of ___ before being allowed to work. Some of the training may be done by HR, but it’s not someone from outside my department who has final say over when new people are ready, it’s me.
And you also know that’s just the beginning. I’m always talking about ___, reminding you about ___, checking, monitoring, measuring, and reviewing how we’re doing in ___. When I see you working hard at ___, I let you know I noticed and I was happy to see it. When something goes wrong and I don’t feel we did well enough on ___, we look into it together and don’t stop until we feel we have it fixed so it won’t happen again.
Whenever there’s training on ___, you know I’ll be there, involved, taking a role, being a coach and leader. And I listen to what you and my other people have to say about ___. I know keeping you involved in ___ will make us better and better at it as time goes on. Not just because you can contribute ideas and concerns, but also because the more we talk about ___ together, the more you realize it’s part of everything we do. Maybe just a small part, but a constant part.
Even a mile away you’d know ___ is important to me along with the other important stuff. And because you know I care about ___, you’ll think about it all the time too. That’s when I’ll know I’m doing my job.”
Not to say safety should be the only thing our supervisors and managers supervise and manage, but it should be treated like anything else that’s important. Do it right and you will have the safe workplace and safety culture you need to run an efficient, productive facility.
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