Written by: Linn Björklund
When you return to work on Thursday morning, you soon notice that the feed conveyor still hasn’t been fixed. The technicians have a lot on their to-do list, but this is a high-priority matter that must have fallen between the cracks. You start to wonder: “How can I make my team more accountable?”
A culture problem or “just a misunderstanding”?
Everyone strives to be a good team member, but there’s a difference between being an experienced machine operator and taking personal ownership over issues that arise.
If someone lacks accountability, it’s easy to disregard it as their personal trait, but if it’s becoming a problem throughout your business, it’s time to look at your company culture.
Accountability vs Responsibility
Don’t confuse responsibility with accountability. Taking responsibility means ensuring you’ve completed your assigned tasks correctly, but it doesn’t consider the context. Being accountable requires you to take ownership of your work as it impacts the rest of the business.
For a frontline employee, being accountable can be reporting safety hazards before something happens or alerting your plant manager about maintenance issues before a machine breaks.
Changing this behaviour is very difficult; simply asking staff to be more accountable rarely works. So how do you make accountability a core value at your site? We’ve listed four practices that you can implement.
Four ways to drive accountability at your facility
1. Lead by example
Asking staff members to be accountable without being so yourself hurts your credibility and business.
Show the team that you are serious by taking responsibility for your tasks, considering their effects on the team and owning up to mistakes you make along the way. Be on time, stay curious about what’s happening on-site, and take the findings seriously.
2. Give (and ask for) continuous feedback
Creating a healthy feedback culture isn’t easy, but it improves with practice. Continuous feedback shows that your frontline employees’ work matters and that you know their worth. Here are some tips on how you can improve your feedback skills:
- Both positive and negative: Be genuine. No one likes to get too much of one or the other, and it doesn’t help anyone improve.
- Have respect: Getting negative feedback can be pretty tough, so make sure you give it in a safe setting for the employee.
- Keep a set interval: That way, your employees know when to expect follow-ups and how long they have to work on the feedback they received at their last check-in.
And don’t forget to ask for feedback too. By minimising barriers for frontline employees to speak to and report to management, you improve your work processes and manage better.
3. Set goals and make fulfilling them fun with gamification
Everyone needs to know why they are doing what they’re doing. Otherwise, it’s easy to become disengaged.
Setting goals and tracking the progress helps contextualise individual tasks to the company as a whole, and few things are as fulfilling as meeting a goal.
If you’re having trouble making people care about numbers for the sake of numbers, make gamification part of your goals. How will vary depending on the industry and the goal itself, but it can, e.g., be to reduce your waste by X% before your co-worker does the same and win a price.
4. Keep track of your task allocation
Make sure it’s easy to do the right thing. No one should have to send several emails to report one deviation or lose track of the correct routines. A digital maintenance system allows you to create a clear structure for assigning tasks and responsibilities without unnecessary admin while also helping your employees to prioritise.
That way, you prevent things from falling between the cracks and make accountability a core value at your facility.
Would you like other best practices to make the most of your operations? Download our guide 9 keys to maximise the availability of your assets through frontline digitisation to learn more!