According to a recent survey of workplace culture carried out by Gallup, manufacturing has the lowest percentage of positive employee engagement in the US; falling well-short of the national average. There’s a reason why our employees are bored, disengaged and unmotivated, so it would be remiss of us to dismiss the importance of excellent management in turning those frowns upside down.
Engagement is the keyword, here. And we can’t expect our employees to engage more if we aren’t prepared to make some changes ourselves. Engagement is a two-way street – so how do we cross that road together?
How do we improve workplace culture to ensure that the front line is at its most productive?
A disengaged workforce is an unmotivated, unproductive one. Disengagement spreads quickly, but, thankfully, we can steer the workforce back onto the rails of engagement.
A good manager is a great observer – looking out for motivation killers and addressing them. Negative colleagues; lack of organization; lack of opportunity poor communication; the feeling of unimportance – all classic downers that can be successfully addressed and balanced.
FreePoint’s black-box technology offers an excellent method of engagement by gauging productivity, but it won’t boost productivity unless your people managers encourage joint ownership of productivity data. Information made available for all to assess their own productivity is empowering.
Almost 80% of the learners/workers say that they would be more productive if their university/institution or work was more game-like.
FreePoint has an array of gamification packages that motivate the workforce by placing them in control of their productivity. Giving an employee ownership over their own assessment, reinforced by positive management, is a great way to engage a worker.
Gamification involves reward-systems, making quantifiable tasks more engaging by focusing an employee’s productivity against norms of their performance, and the performance of their peers. This helps people to recognize where they can improve, giving them a gauge of their progress in the context of the workplace, focusing on progression rather than stagnation.
By putting the worker in control of their productivity, we encourage accountability. Great managers help their teams to homogenize, with the recognition of how each role contributes to collective success. By identifying underperforming employees (and, indeed, managers) and enabling them to take ownership of their development with your support, you can fix broken cogs that prevent the entire factory from turning.
Forty-six percent of employees rarely or never leave a meeting knowing what they’re supposed to do next.
There is nothing more disempowering than expecting everyone on the shop-floor to just get on with it, without providing context. Motivated employees are conscious of the role they play in the bigger picture, and it’s essential that each cog in the wheel is given equal importance and reward – even if that reward is just recognition of a valuable job well done. Without effective communication, the workforce will struggle to meet goals, or even function. Employees should understand the hierarchy and expertise within the company, and who they can contact to voice concerns.
FreePoint’s Shiftworx Standard package provides a central focus for sharing and disseminating business-crucial information in real-time, via a variety of communication strategies including through apps and smart devices.
Make People Feel Important
A motivated workforce is one that recognizes the value of individual contribution. In manufacturing, this is often over-looked, resulting in a culture of disenfranchisement and indifference. We can change this by helping employees recognize that their role is an invaluable part of the complex infrastructure that completes the manufacturing process.
Bring customers to the plant so that they can meet your employees. Share how your product helps the client. And let the client express their appreciation to the people who make things possible. Night shift employees can feel separated from the core of the working community, so try hosting breakfasts, so that the two shifts can meet, amalgamating the work-force along the way.
Making your employees feel valued doesn’t have to cost a lot of money – it’s often down to good management practice, recognizing that everyone counts.
Set standards by having diligent management practicing what they preach – nobody wants to see a lazy manager reaping the benefits of a hard-working team.
Set clear goals and provide feedback
All businesses share a primary goal: Success. Goal settings, aligning and tracking those goals through actions and results are critical to greater business execution…and, as a result, greater success.
Setting reasonable and achievable goals is a great way to focus an employee’s energy on succeeding. But make sure it’s achievable – otherwise, you achieve the adverse, and they’ll feel like they’re failing.
Positive feedback is an essential factor in humanizing your management team – if the focus is on negative feedback, your employees will come to resent your input.
Reward with praise and use gamification so that employees can gauge their progress.
Use technology responsibly
The use of tech doesn’t just mean having computers and an internet connection in the office. It’s about enabling employees with solutions to improve their productivity. You can automate communications to trigger once a milestone has been reached, and collaborate with your staff through discussion forums, such as Asana and Yammer.
Consider whether home-working is appropriate, or teleconferencing can bring down costs where travel is too expensive and time-consuming.
Getting your task-force to respond to their mobile phones, however, isn’t just an excuse to invade their personal time, remember. Other industries are guilty of this, and we should try to avoid it in manufacturing. Respecting each other’s work/life balance is important.
So, there you go – 7 ways in which you can turn a negative working environment into a culture of sharing, rewarding and, most importantly, productivity!