Why Should Manufacturers Worry About Employee Engagement

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Manufacturers have a lot to worry about from day to day. Talent pools are shrinking, competition is growing, technology is constantly changing production and consumer trends, and the need to monitor and improve results never gets easier. This industry demands a unique level of dedication to stay profitable and productive.

That doesn’t always leave a lot of room to worry about whether or not employees are happy and motivated when they come into work each day. If workers aren’t eager to contribute or feel undervalued in their roll, however, employers will end up paying a high price. That’s why there are many good reasons to make employee engagement a priority, regardless of whether you’re producing metal flat washers or designer textiles.

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According to new findings from The Filson Leadership Group, manufacturers that lack an employee engagement strategy can end up with considerable losses in profit and productivity, as well as greater instances of absenteeism, on-the-job accidents, and other costly company issues. Perceived top-down biases in an organization were found to be another major contributor to employee disengagement.

Per the Filson report “17 Mistakes U.S. Manufacturers Make That Kill Employee Engagement” and survey results from Gallup, when employees feel detached from their company, disengaged from their duties, and undervalued at work, the costs amount to losses between $440 and $550 billion in productivity each year. Some of the most common reasons for disengagement of manufacturing employees included uninteresting tasks, a lack of understanding of employee needs by the employer, company objectives driven toward maintaining the status quo rather than an embrace of new ideas, and a lack of followthrough for making and maintaining changes in company culture.

Manufacturing companies that utilized employee engagement strategies saw a 21% increase in profitability, 70% fewer safety issues, and a 41% reduction in absenteeism. Not all efforts to improve employee engagement necessarily foster these results; sometimes poorly executed strategies end up being ineffective or can actually backfire. Employers that fail to exhibit empathy and recognition for worker performance were some of the biggest causes of disengagement. Micromanagement, unequal or unfair pay, lack of training and insufficient investment in employee skill, and unclear goals also contributed to a sense of disconnect between worker and organization.

It seems that one of the best things manufacturers can do to keep their employees engaged and productive is to communicate and take a human-focused approach to implementing changes. As a third of employees report feeling unhappy on the job, there is a lot of potential for improvement.

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May 31, 2018