Why is employee engagement important to manufacturers? The answer is simple—to make higher profits, as engaged employees perform better. Moreover, the increasing intensity of competition in today’s global market has presented new challenges for manufacturing organizations. Customers are more aware and require lower priced, good quality, and greater value products. With the looming skills gap and jobs becoming more technologically advanced, the requirement of skilled employees has become one of the most important drivers of improved business performance and profit margin. Manufacturers cannot afford to lose their employees.
According to a report by Gallup, 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged. And most companies are experiencing a crisis of engagement and aren’t even aware of this. On the other hand, companies which have a highly engaged workforce are outperforming their peers by 147% in earnings per share.
The days of the annual engagement survey are over. Employee engagement is not something that can be increased simply by sending out a survey or instituting a program. Measuring and driving high levels of employee commitment and passion requires companies take a more holistic approach to the matter.
Here are a few ways to help increase employee engagement:
Rethinking the employee engagement survey
Companies usually use an engagement survey to collect data that is irrelevant or impossible to act on. Whereas when employees fill out these surveys they expect action to follow. The questions asked in the survey should be unique to the organization and meaningful to the employees who are taking the survey.
Focus on engagement at all organizational levels
To make change at the small group level, where it is often most needed, senior leadership must set the tone from the top. Companies realize the benefits from engagement initiatives when leaders weave employee engagement into performance expectations for managers and enable them to execute on those expectations. Managers and employees must feel empowered to make a significant difference in their immediate environment. Leaders and managers should work with employees to identify barriers to engagement and opportunities to effect positive change.
Select the right managers
Effective managers consistently engage their teams to achieve outstanding performance. They create environments where employees take responsibility for their work and their team. But not everyone can be a great manager. It takes talent to be a great manager, and finding people who have this talent is important. Whether hiring from outside or promoting from within, businesses that scientifically select managers for the unique talent it takes to effectively manage people greatly increases the odds that employees will feel engaged.
Set engagement goals in realistic, everyday terms
To make engagement real, leaders must make engagement goals meaningful to employees’ day-to-day experiences. As per Gallup, “describing what success looks like using powerful descriptions and emotive language helps give meaning to goals and builds commitment within a team”. Additionally, in weekly meetings, action-planning sessions, and one-on-one meetings, managers should reiterate their commitment to employee engagement.
Companies that implement online learning programs within the organization are able to increase engagement and thus increase productivity. Utilizing online learning by giving employees the tools to be involved in making decisions on the subjective issues provides an opportunity for continuous innovation.
Actively engaged employees willingly go the extra mile, work with passion, and feel a profound connection to their company. Most of all, they are happier people who drive innovation and help the company produce better results.
How are you engaging your employees? Let us know.