Enhancing Employee Engagement in Manufacturing: Challenges and Strategies
The US employs just under 12 million manufacturing workers; with frontline workers comprising nearly 80% of the global workforce, it's important to anticipate the bottom-line impact of disengagement. Learn the top five challenges manufacturing floors face when it comes to employee engagement and what HR leaders can do to keep their workforce connected.
Manufacturing workers are much more positive than average regarding social connections, yet have much lower than average scores in managing energy, work pressure, and wellbeing culture.
These insights are from Culture Amp; collected from employees in over 300 manufacturing organizations in the 12-month period to 31 December 2022.
The report highlighted some surprising findings. For example, while 75% of manufacturing employees claim to be engaged at work – in the top 45% relative to other industries – the average eNPS score for manufacturing organizations is in the bottom 17%.
Manufacturing workers (the US employs just under 12 million) quite literally keep the lights on, and the bottom-line impact of disengagement or even small dips in productivity and retention are significant.
So why does the disengagement problem exist, and what can HR leaders do to keep their frontline workforce connected?
Engagement Challenges Among Manufacturing Workers
- Monotonous work: Manufacturing jobs often require employees to perform the same task repeatedly, leading to boredom and low motivation.
- Physical demands: The physical demands of manufacturing work, such as standing for long hours, operating heavy machinery, or working in extreme temperatures, can lead to fatigue, stress, and injuries.
- Limited autonomy: Manufacturing jobs often involve following strict procedures and guidelines, leaving employees with limited autonomy and control over their work.
- Shift work: Manufacturing companies often operate around the clock, requiring employees to work different shifts, including night shifts or weekends. This can disrupt their work-life balance, especially when taking time off or getting shifts covered is difficult.
- Safety concerns: Safety is a top priority in manufacturing companies. However, strict safety protocols and equipment can make employees feel burdened, or disconnected from their work.
Of course, while the nature of the work itself is something HR and Communications leaders have minimal control over; there are plenty of things in the People team’s remit that can improve employee experience.
Strategies for Engagement Among Manufacturing Workers
- Create a positive work culture: A positive work culture that values employees' contributions, recognizes their efforts, and encourages open communication can enhance employee engagement. HR leaders can foster a positive work culture by promoting teamwork, diversity and inclusion, and ethical conduct.
- Offer career development opportunities: Providing career development opportunities, such as training programs, coaching, and mentorship, can help employees improve their skills, knowledge, and job satisfaction. Career development opportunities can also increase employee loyalty and retention.
- Implement employee recognition programs: Employee recognition programs, such as employee of the month, spot awards, or peer recognition, can acknowledge and reward employees' hard work, dedication, and achievements. Employee recognition programs can increase employee engagement, motivation, and retention.
- Provide flexibility: Offering flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting, flexible schedules, or job sharing, can help employees balance their work and personal responsibilities, leading to higher job satisfaction, engagement, and retention.
- Empower employees: empowering employees by involving them in decision-making processes, encouraging their suggestions and feedback, or delegating responsibilities, can enhance their sense of ownership and engagement in their work. Empowering employees can also increase their motivation, creativity, and job satisfaction.
- Deploy the right technology: Leveraging fit-for-purpose tech and automation can build connection, culture and community and bridge the gap between head office and factory floor. From employee apps to digital signage for deskless workforces, technology, when leveraged properly, makes a huge difference to engagement on the frontline.
Digital signage for manufacturing
On the manufacturing floor, workers are often ‘digitally detached’. They lack access to the laptops, company email accounts, intranets, and communication and collaboration apps knowledge workers typically enjoy, and/or personal digital devices on the clock.
Relying on noticeboards, posters/flyers, and managers to pass on the message is unscalable and time- and resource-intensive. So; how can you make sure your internal communications are reaching your frontline?
The screens, TVs or monitors on the walls of most factories, break rooms, cloak rooms and cafeterias are a powerful comms channel, able to communicate visually, dynamically and at scale.
Enhancing employee engagement in manufacturing requires a holistic approach that addresses the unique challenges of the industry, prioritizes leveling the playing field between frontline and knowledge workers, and uses the right technology in the right way.
ScreenCloud helps teams in 9,000+ organizations around the world communicate with those who matter most, using the screens on their walls and the content in their systems.
ScreenCloud’s digital signage can inform employees on information like social media feeds, data visualizations, emergency alerts, and live broadcasts – or even simply the news, sport and weather.
Sign up for a free demo to see what your orgnanization can achieve with digital signage.