Engaging Manufacturing

Disengaged people don’t walk around wearing purple spots and pink stripes, it’s just not that not that easy to spot them!  And that’s never more true than when in a factory or a manufacturing environment.

At a recent HR forum that People Gauge took part in, through the The Advanced Manufacturers Forum, we considered and discussed the strong role HR has in ensuring Employee Engagement is high on any manufacturers’ agenda.

In a manufacturing environment, you’ll have a huge workforce, often dispersed between different plants and perhaps different countries – or have a site that is so big, the teams are dispersed hugely throughout one site.  How do you then ensure a consistent and cohesive engagement programme is put into place and how do you measure it?

This is where the power of an employee engagement survey such as People Gauge steps in, it can act as a barometer throughout the year and provide the insight needed to ensure you’re on track for higher levels of productivity through having an engaged workforce.

As we’ve explored within previous blogs, unlocking the magic in your managers (hyperlink), is where this often sits.  Dispersed teams and differing management style throughout different teams can have a very negative effect.  Often when we work with manufacturing companies, we’ll identify that whilst they might feel like they have a strong sense of ‘love and belonging’ – the yellow part of our pyramid – meaning they’ll have a good team spirt amongst their peers, they’re registering quite low for the ‘safety’ aspect – i.e. they’re not getting the right feedback, support or communication from their Manager. They’ve lost respect for whoever is leading their team and indeed their productivity.

FACT: a negatively engaged workforce is dire for your productivity levels and your bottom line.

So how do we address this? And how do we get the levels of employee engagement up within our manufacturing community; and the levels of productivity increasing as part of the overall quest of the UK – as our friends at Engage for Success are driving towards.

We need to get back to basics and remember that people are essentially driving your business.  Whether they’re site managers, packers, cleaners, engineers, operators or the person in the canteen that serves up their hot meals!  They all matter and they all drive your business.

Businesses need to put an employee engagement agenda in place – that means, testing the water through a survey, interpreting the results and then working with the relevant teams to get to the root cause of any disengagement.

Areas to explore about when you’re wanting to drive engagement levels:-

  • Do your workers get a chance to communicate, get feedback and have 1:1 sessions with their managers? Is this something you can easily put into place to open the lines of communication
  • Are you providing the support they need to work around their life – i.e. are you offering any work/life balance solutions?
  • Are all teams treated fairly? Is there something you can look at here to ensure fairness throughout the company?
  • Are your workers recognised when they do go over and above their duties – for when they are consistently doing a good job and working towards a greater cause?
  • Hand on heart, do you think your People Managers have had the right leadership and management training? Do they know and understand how to treat their workforce or are they just copying bad management styles from their leaders?

If any of the above points set off alarm bells and get you wondering about how engaged your workforce is, then there are easy steps you can take to learn more about the difference employee engagement makes and how to get some quick wins and effective programmes working.

Of course, measurement is key to seeing what a positive difference you can make to your business and People Gauge is ideal to measure this in a manufacturing environment.

1: it’s really simple and short, so takes on average less than 5 minutes to complete

2: it’s cloud based so your staff can access it from just about anywhere (smart phones, tablets/ home pc) at any time to suit them,  which means you don’t have the challenge of taking people off production lines or project teams  to complete them.

So what are you waiting for?  Let’s get the UK manufacturing workforce actively engaged!