Secrets to Modern Employee Engagement

Introduction to Employee Engagement

Even with North America currently experiencing a record low number of people who are unemployed. Still, companies are finding it difficult to motivate employees and create employee engagement in the workplace.

According to Manufacturing.Net, only 25% of employees are engaged in their daily workload. While 60% of manufacturers report their employees are lacking productivity. This issue seems to stem from the company’s focus in most cases.

Most businesses do not know how to engage manufacturing employees. Manufacturing companies generally aim for speed, quality, and increased productivity with little to no focus on their employees other than their production capability.

Manufacturing.Net reports that when employees are asked what could improve their daily function, 75% of employees believe better technology would improve their output. While 70% think that better communication with management would help them feel more engaged in the process.

Workers need to feel that their individual work is important. It is key to show them how their work fits into the larger picture and why they are so important to your company and process. Employee engagement is a problem for most businesses, but it can be improved if the proper steps are taken.

Reasons for Unmotivated Employees

Although there can be many reasons or factors that contribute to a disengaged workforce, both personal and exterior. It seems that most demotivation is created through the top down mindset of higher productivity with a lower cost. Unfortunately for employees, this is often the mindset of all manufacturing businesses.

Workforce Institute reports that this mindset is often the reason for lower wages and extended hours for workers.

With our currently ageing population, there is and will continue to be a shortage of skilled workers in the manufacturing industry. Which makes it hard for many companies to attract and keep solid employees, due to them being so desirable.

Inward Strategic Consulting reports that 54% of manufacturing workers do not feel as if their daily work is valued. Further, 57% of workers feel as if their workload is much too heavy each day, leading to a never-ending uphill battle.

Meanwhile, 72% believe if a better technology were adapted on the shop floor it would help them feel more engaged.

There are many aspects of employee engagement you can control, but others are personal issues that businesses cannot help. For example, 48% of manufacturing workers find their working life too complicated, this is not a reflection on workload but a busy life in general. It is important to focus on aspects of engagement you are able to control and help with a few small changes.

Improvement suggestions can come from any person in the organization. Employee engagement can often be improved by asking the employees themselves.

Top 8 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement

Certain parts of employee engagement are personal, that cannot be solved by the company employing the person. There are many ways to improve the engagement of employees, most of which are found by asking them. Here are some employees suggested improvements, as well as some proven methods of improvement:

  • Adopt mobile technology that is able to connect everyone on the shop floor with each other and the management team. 
  • Build a positive environment that is:
  1. Safe: including created work schedules and proper training for all personnel. 
  2. Flexible: promote a positive work-life balance.
  3. Be Impact oriented: giving each employee a clear understanding of their individual impact on the process. Help them be their own agent for positive change. 
  4. Fair: consistency with policies and procedures for all employees, regardless of hierarchy. 
  • Install development programs: cross train employees in case of absence or request of job rotation. Change things up to keep employees interested in their tasks. 
  • Be sure employee suggestions and comments are being heard. Their ideas on environment and efficiency should be taken into account so they feel valued and appreciated. 
  • Offer outside of work gatherings and fun events for employees to socialize. People that like others they work with often enjoy their job more and stay there longer. 
  • Bring employees along to trade shows or industry events (either in person or virtually). Show them your invested in them and have employees experience your industry outside of the shop floor. 
  • Do your best to acknowledge positive successes no matter how small or large, and be creative with your incentives. Learn about each employee and what they would appreciate as a possible bonus or reward.
  • Offer promotions or advancement opportunities to current employees first. 

Within the manufacturing industry, employee engagement is an area in need of constant improvement. A good place to begin improving engagement is with the implementation of improved technology. Further, the collection and use of valuable data to improve your process is a notable spot for employee appreciation. The appointment of involved and approachable management will help encourage employee engagement.