Over the past several decades, major shifts in the manufacturing environment have occurred that have proven beneficial for domestic manufacturers. Industry statistics show that there is a rise in non-traditional manufacturing operations, especially among small and medium-sized companies. Much of this work continues to require human beings in conjunction with automation. Current trends are seeming to favor small and medium-sized manufacturers.
Regardless of the size of your company, success begins with finding the best workers and then managing them so they maximize their abilities. The following is a list of eight manufacturing workforce development tips that will help your business grow:
One: Create New Training Techniques
Your employees should begin their tenure with your company with the basic skills to do the job. However, it is important that they are still trained on internal policies and procedures. To further develop their skills, it is critical that you identify those areas in which they need training. Therefore, by developing a training program that brings them up to speed quickly, effectively and clearly, you can jump-start their effectiveness as a productive member of the team.
In addition, in most instances, seasoned veterans may need a refresher course in certain areas. Therefore, a training program may help reintroduce the required areas of knowledge so they are up-to-speed on policies and procedures. As policies evolve over time, it is important that veterans continuously develop their skills to better understand the job and company requirements.
Two: Develop your Workforce
Since your workers are your most valuable asset, it is important that they are highly-developed and knowledgeable about their job, the company and trends in the industry. By providing tuition reimbursement programs, advanced equipment training and visits to trade shows, members of your manufacturing workforce will be able to provide their valuable input. This also builds morale and helps them become experts at their job which improves longevity with the company.
Three: Generate a Worker Family
In many situations, your manufacturing workforce does not feel vested in your company or even care about what happens. This often causes disengagement within the ranks. Therefore, it is critical for you to make them feel like they are part of the cause and their contributions and feedback are valued.
This can be accomplished through company events and functions, offering them regular feedback for performance improvement and informing them of future jobs within the company. In other words, make a special effort to connect with your workforce and appreciate them on an individual basis.
Four: Emphasize Communication and Feedback
Employees feel more respected when their opinions are heard and considered. Therefore, they should be able to communicate and provide feedback without retribution. To do so, foster an environment where employees are encouraged to provide input, especially when related to production and operational issues.
Five: Encourage Vacations
Burning out employees often leads to turnover issues. In a 2014 study, Forbes found that Americans do not use all of their vacation days. Unfortunately, what those employees do not realize is that vacations give them the opportunity to recharge and relax. Therefore, flexible vacation schedules can be helpful to your workforce's mental health. If you notice that vacation days are not being used, encourage members of the team to use them.
Six: Implement Employee Incentive Programs
Incentive programs go a long way toward motivating and inspiring your workforce. Programs such as employee-of-the-month, performance rewards and awards for surpassing quotas will improve productivity and ensure longevity. These friendly competitions motivate the workforce to work even harder to meet an objective.
Seven: Provide Positive and Meaningful Feedback
Most workers want to be managed effectively and efficiently. This is why it is essential to provide regular, helpful feedback that is encouraging. For instance, by praising them for a job well done or providing clear communication to correct a mistake; they will respect the company for helping them further their on-the-job skills. This is the foundation for effectively managing a manufacturing workforce. According to Psychology Today, regular verbal recognition is a greater motivator than financial compensation to most employees.
Eight: Support the Workers
Being a flexible company who emphasizes a work/life balance will pay a huge dividend. To do so doesn't necessarily require grandiose gestures. Instead, simple and common-sense solutions, like adjusting an employee's hours to align with the local mass transit schedule, can mean a lot. When management supports their employees during times of need, the workforce will return loyalty and goodwill.
Your workforce wants to feel like they are part of the team, not just mindlessly going through the motions. By implementing these eight tips, you may be able to improve morale and employee retention. The return-on-investment from your greatest asset will be your gift as a proper manager.
This post was first reviewed at the AME Target Online Newsletter. To learn more about this post or other trends in Manufacturing, please contact the LEAN Accountants of McKonly & Asbury.