Giving Effective Feedback as Part of Manufacturing Safety Training

Part of Performance Solutions by Milliken’s manufacturing safety tips series – click here to learn more

We all thrive on feedback that is the basis for excellent communication and continuous improvement. Two-way communication and interaction are the foundations for engaging with associates at all levels. In Milliken we have learned, both internally and with our partners and clients that ‘just giving feedback’ is not enough. We need to be sensitive and structured in our approach to ensure we give feedback the right way. Giving feedback the right way is powerful, motivational and actionable and prevent situations that people are not listening each other just waiting to talk.
Remembering feedback you have received in the past… ever thought ‘I wish I’d heard that yesterday’ or ‘I’m not really sure what to do next’ or ‘Wow, I just feel like I’ve been chastised…’ – how does that make you feel? Feedback was given but it isn’t helpful! In Milliken our focus is on personal, precise, positive and immediate feedback related to safety which feels like a coaching moment, value adding for both the deliverer and recipient.

Safety Feedback Framework

When giving feedback, particularly in a safety context, certain attributes are emphasized:

  • Personal: Everyone is measured on process compliance / compliance to standard work.
  • Precise: The Red/Green scoring is unambiguous – red, needs a response or action, green calls for recognition.
  • Positive: Safety is not a punitive process, every red is an opportunity to improve, every high risk leads to a focused project and a positive result.
  • Coaching: We learn through dialogue and conversations resisting the urge to command.
  • Immediate: Safety communication is a fundamental part of the daily management system. Every meeting starts with safety, performance is visual, and close to the process

Feedback is also part of celebrating success. An amazing leveler for all associates is the ability to tell stories to each other. Using visual management, story boards and project report outs we encourage high impact, simple ways to share progress, successes and important lessons. Telling about projects or crucial messages with an informal delivery is very effective. Everyone can become a ‘presenter’ and share professionally and personally.

Safety Feedback Styles

It is important to remember that feedback doesn’t always have to be formal. In Milliken we’ve learned to flex our style to ensure we engage all associates. We practice giving feedback the right way, we make leaders accessible, we celebrate each other’s achievements in a safe zone. Essentially, amid all the informal and supportive feedback, we are very clear that we hold each other to account.

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