Work in the manufacturing sector can be very demanding physically. Employees in manufacturing are often working on the same work process and the same machinery, which makes it monotonous. The pandemic has raised the pressure to increase productivity while the industry is still struggling with employee engagement. With higher demand, the industry has to work at a limited capacity to ensure safety through social distancing.
Productivity and employee engagement go hand in hand. The manufacturing industry needs to work on employee engagement activity at their firm to survive the changes and meet the demands. Employee engagement activities in manufacturing industry, such as communication and employee appreciation, improve engagement. In this blog, we are going to discuss a few such employee engagement activities.
Also Read: HR Challenges in the Manufacturing Industry and Solutions
Importance of Employee Engagement in Manufacturing
The manufacturing industry is struggling with multiple challenges. Finding the right and skilled candidates for the company and retaining talented and experienced employees are among the top challenges. The high attrition rate in the industry lowers productivity as well as increases the cost of hiring. Employee engagement is a solution that the industry should focus on as it increases retention, employee loyalty as well as productivity of the organization.
Listed below are a few employee engagement activities that will help the manufacturing industry to get more engaged employees.
The manufacturing industry needs to ensure that there are open lines of communication in the company. Managers and supervisors should ensure that employees see them as approachable and share their work challenges as and when they arise. The managers start building open communication by having regular conversations with the employees. The conversation can be an inquiry about the work or just casually asking about their well-being. When employees consider their superiors approachable, they feel more engaged with their work.
The manufacturing industry should also indulge in weekly or monthly team meetings. This can help in idea generation as well as make employees feel valued when they are encouraged to speak and share their concerns. Having an anonymous suggestion box can be another way to make employees in the manufacturing industry feel comfortable while expressing their opinion.
Manufacturing companies can also ask their workers for regular feedback on the work environment and safety issues. You can also ask employees for suggestions for the improvement of various work processes. Listening to the employees is important as that makes them feel more valued, and employee engagement increases.
Focus on Training and Development
The manufacturing industry needs to provide personal and professional growth opportunities to employees. The prospect of career growth is very important for employee engagement in the manufacturing sector. That provides employees with the necessary excitement for the work as most of the nature of work becomes monotonous, and people lose interest in their daily activities due to repetitiveness.
You can offer them different training courses to improve employee engagement and provide growth opportunities to the employees. These courses can be related to the newer technology that the company is planning to implement, personal development, workplace safety, and much more.
The absence of the career growth aspect is one of the major reasons for the lack of employee engagement in the manufacturing industry. Your employees want to be advancing in their careers with the company. For that, it’s crucial that the company gives an employee opportunity to get greater responsibility and position in the firm.
The managers in the manufacturing industry can mentor their employees on growth opportunities according to their skillset and the right career trajectory. That increases employee engagement in manufacturing, and the employees are likely to put more effort into their work to achieve their career goals faster.
One of the top challenges for manufacturing employees is the lack of work-life balance. Companies in the industry often follow multiple shift scheduling to increase the productivity of the organization. Managers and floor superiors can ask employees for their input while making shift schedules whenever possible.
The manufacturing sector can not always offer flexible work schedules to the employees but allowing some amount of flexibility is likely to help to increase employee engagement in manufacturing.
Manufacturing companies need to use the latest leave management and scheduling tools to streamline the management. You have to ensure that your employees get flexibility when they need it. Providing employees access to the tools where they can request leave or changes in shifts can improve employee engagement in manufacturing industry.
Having some sense of flexibility and control over their schedule makes them feel valued. It also says that they are being considered a crucial part of the company, which is essential to increase employee engagement in manufacturing companies.
There is no secret in the fact that human beings like to be appreciated for the effort they put into their work. Giving your employees positive feedback on their work keeps them motivated and encourages them to perform better. Appreciation is crucial to employee engagement as that lead to a sense of connection with the work and the company.
The appreciation does not always have to be a grand gesture. Simple words such as ‘good work’ and ‘thank you’ can help a lot. Verbal appreciation improves employee engagement and pushes them to work harder. You also don’t need to wait for a huge opportunity to appreciate and encourage your employees. Nor does it always has to be for the achievement of targets.
In the manufacturing industry, you can appreciate your employees for their positive and effective behavior, such as helping their colleagues, staying compliant with safety guidelines, various work-related initiatives, and much more.
Manufacturing employees can feel more engaged and motivated if the company has a weekly or monthly appreciation program. A small gesture of recognition can have a huge impact when done at the right time. If you have an appreciation program, it is likely to give you more engaged employees in manufacturing work.
Manufacturing is very monotonous and repetitive in nature, and that is a major reason for the lack of employee engagement in companies. Monotonous work can also be psychologically tiring, and they are likely to be working just to get their salary.
The psychological drain also makes any moderately high-paying opportunity lucrative enough to leave their current job. Employee engagement is not the only reason for higher retention it also leads to better productivity.
Engaged employees are more likely to take the initiative for the growth of the organization. Give your employees a dedicated time to experiment and innovate at work. The brainstorming and cross-training initiatives can be a breath of fresh air for your employees.
Provide employees with a certain amount of autonomy and a greater amount of control over the work process. As they are working on the same and aware of all the constraints, they are more likely to come up the ideas that can streamline the process.
Encouraging your employees to innovate will not only lead to better employee engagement but also can lead to some innovative product ideas.
Give Fair Treatment and Respect
Employee engagement is highly affected by how you treat your employees. How to improve employee engagement in manufacturing can start with how to make employees feel that they are respected and get fair treatment. When companies treat their employees in manufacturing and corporate offices differently, engagement is likely to go down.
For example, if you are organizing some events and workplace celebrations, it is essential to treat manufacturing employees the same as corporate office staff. Employee engagement will go down if you exclude some of your employees from company events. That makes excluded employees see it as unfair treatment. This is also seen as a sign of disrespect. When an employee is not satisfied, they do not like to work in such firms, and their productivity decreases.
Connect to Bigger Goal
Having a target is not enough for an employee engagement. Show people how their work contributes to the company’s goals and vision. Let your employee know the value of their contribution for employees to feel more engaged in their work. This is the way for employees to build emotional connection and loyalty toward the company otherwise, they might feel disconnected from their work.
Emotional investment toward the greater goal keeps an employee engaged in their work. When people feel directionless or absent of purpose, they get disconnected and dissatisfied with their work. While employees know that they are working towards something more significant, they put in more effort and take the initiative to achieve company goals.
The manufacturing industry needs to improve employee engagement to overcome the challenge of high product demand and high employee turnover rates. An employee who is engaged in the company is less likely to leave the company and be more productive. Manufacturing companies need to strategize and implement effective employee engagement activities to ensure the achievement of goals and overcome challenges.