Relating Employee Engagement to Manufacturing Success
Let us face it, employee engagement is probably not a priority when evaluating work performance. Most employers may not even know if their employees are engaged or disengaged at work, much less know how to increase their engagement.
It is therefore not a wonder that Gallup’s 2017 Employee Engagement Report states that only 19% of employees in Southeast Asia are engaged.
The definition of engaged in this context is being proficient and actively involved in not only personal areas of responsibilities, but also being actively involved in the bigger responsibility of being an employee of the company.
To put it in more layman terms, to be an engaged employee, you need to feel that you are on the same boat as all the other employees and be willing to help the Deckhand scrub the floors or assist the First Mate in supervising the deck crew when needed.
It is the realization that as an employee, our responsibilities extend beyond our individual roles and that we should be ready to assist our colleagues in their roles when needed.
Perhaps the statistic above is able to answer many questions employers have about undesirable work performance and production output.
The lifeblood of companies are its people, and if your employees are working just for a paycheck then you can be sure that when the company is in trouble, they will be the first to jump ship in search of greener pastures.
The road to creating an engaged workforce is a lot of work, but not having engaged employees may cost you even more in the long run. So let’s explore why employee engagement is critical and what are the benefits to be gained from it.
Operation costs take up a large percentage of the manufacturing process, and it can go even higher if employees are not working efficiently.
However, if you have a highly engaged workforce then operation costs can be lowered, and resources optimized. This will lead to higher profits with the same number of workforce and possibly in lesser time.
Everyone loves to work in an environment teeming with positivity.
When your workforce is motivated and committed to their job, you can be sure of efficient performance from the team.
This positivity will become contagious and it automatically fosters a work environment that’s not only positive but also full of energy.
A positive work environment also lowers turnover rate which means lowering cost for finding new substitutes and training new hires who are replacing experienced but disengaged employees.
This is probably one of the most important aspects for a company to succeed or fail, yet it is often left in the backseat unattended to.
The culture of a company determines how engaged employees will be.
An inclusive and positive company culture ensures that employees feel appreciated for their contribution and motivates them to do more for the betterment of themselves and also the company.
Just as how our muscles need to be pushed to the limit to heal and grow new stronger fibers, it is very similar as well for professional growth.
When employees are working efficiently, they push themselves to the limits, stretching their existing skills to complete challenges.
This results in them gaining new skills and proficiencies, making them grow their experience and qualifications.
This is the culmination of the above points. A positive Company Culture helps to create a positive Work Environment that leads to Employee Growth.
This leads to increased work efficiency among your employees. Highly engaged employees will be more than happy to help your company attain your business goals.
Now that we have discussed the benefits of having an engaged workforce, you may be wondering how you can increase the engagement levels of your employees.
Let’s look at the multiple ways you can use to increase employee engagement.
Provide Regular Feedback
It is easy to underestimate the importance of regular feedback, be it positive or negative in a healthily growing company. Information from feedback is valuable and helps management make important decisions.
Continuous improvement requires feedback from customers, vendors, employees, etc.
The key to getting continuous feedback is to have a structure to keep your employees accountable and a system for them to provide and receive feedback on their performance.
Feedback needs to go both ways, as such when supervisors give employees feedback on their work performance, they should be giving feedback about how the company can help them improve.
Providing constructive criticism will let you gain insights in to your employees needs and what you can do to allow them to work more efficiently. It also encourages a culture of open communication.
Perhaps the most direct and traditional method is to reward and incentivize employees for a job well done.
It has been shown that recognition and rewards for well-performing employees help them feel more appreciated and committed to their job.
You may think that rewards and incentives need to come in the form of monetary value. However, appreciation can be expressed in other ways and may prove to be more engaging than cold hard cash.
Some ideas to show the company’s appreciation for highly engaged employees can be:
The possibilities are endless if you get a bit creative.
Remember that sometimes a simple pat on the back can go a long way in making employees feeling appreciated.
Organize Team Building Activities
Businesses often focus primarily on pleasing their customers and forgetting that their main asset are their employees.
If you want your team to be efficient then each individual needs to be engaged positively with each other.
What better way to increase team communication and team work than organizing team activities. You may find out some hidden conflicts in the process and resolve it quickly too.
Team building activities will help your employees get to know each other better while having fun at the same time. You may opt to hire a professional to plan out team building activities or you may do your own research online and organize it in house.
The choice is yours, but the results will be highly rewarding if done right.
Automate Time Tracking
Traditional methods of time tracking such as punch cards, or time sheets are horrible at improving efficiency, if at all, such traditional methods only serve to make employees feel like they’re not trusted.
Manual methods are also prone to human errors and this results in inefficient HR processes as they would need to audit and correct faulty logs.
Using an automated time tracking system will not only cut-down on human errors, it will also make it much harder to cheat the system.
The major benefit of course is that an automated time tracking system can be integrated to a complete ERP system like MONITOR and allows you to understand how your employees are spending their work time, how they prioritize tasks and their efficiency at work.
With such information at your fingertips, you can easily discover efficiency leaks, and plan out improvement measures to increase overall work efficiency.
Integrate Attendance and Payroll System
Preparing the monthly payroll is a time-consuming process that is prone to errors if you are unable to track attendance accurately.
Just going through attendance logs to determine the number of hours an employee has worked or the number of days they were absent would be a huge undertaking if there are hundreds or thousands of workers in your company.
Having an integrated system that is able to take attendance will save a lot of time in the payroll process and decrease disputes as you can be sure the data captured is accurate.
This will result in higher efficiency rates in HR processes and also among other employees as they are confident that there are no mistakes being made on their individual salary, leave and benefits calculations.
Did you know that MONITOR is able to take the attendance of your production workers easily?
Take Advantage of Technology
We are living in an age that is abundant with technology, and it would be foolish to not take advantage of the many advanced systems available today to help manage your business.
Especially for manufacturing businesses where there are many processes involved such as warehousing, production, material management, logistics arrangements for deliveries etc.
If you are still doing things without a fully integrated system, then it is quite certain that your employees are not being as efficient as they could be.
Imagine a situation where spreadsheets are used for production planning, there may be multiple copies of the same document with conflicting data.
This will create a situation where further confirmation needs to be done between all related departments, thus lowering the overall work efficiency of the company.
If a complete and fully integrated system such as MONITOR ERP was used, such conflicting data will be non-existent as all data from across the company will be synced into one central system.
Employees can be confident that the information they are seeing in the system is accurate and thus their time can be spent more efficiently on progressive work such as production planning instead of trying to trace back the source of an error in a spreadsheet.
Measure and Share Employee Productivity
What good are achievements if nobody knows about it?
If an employee was the best performer of the month, it would be a good idea to share their achievement with the team.
This not only boosts their confidence and morale, it can also spark positive competition between individual employees as well as teams.
Humans are competitive by nature, and if we see someone outperforming our team, we may be inclined to try to beat the competition by putting in more effort.
This in turn also increases employee engagement rates as they would need to communicate better between team members to strategize how they can increase their team’s efficiency and allow them to be the best performing team the next month.
We have gone through the many benefits your business can reap out of increased employee engagement and several methods of doing so.
If we have intrigued you into how you can do the same for your business then you may be interested to read about the experience of our business consultant, Karl Persson.
He has helped numerous companies identify challenges and developed effective solutions to increase overall work efficiency for them.
We believe his experience will be able to spark some brilliant ideas on how you can use a fully integrated ERP system such as MONITOR to make your workforce even more engaged and efficient.
Read about Creating a High-Performing Culture through Employee Engagement to learn more about how our customers are using MONITOR to increase employee engagement and work efficiency.