Gaining Insights for a More Engaged Workforce

People | David Rea| July 23, 2020

As workplaces continue adjusting to new ways of operating, concerns around employee engagement are at an all-time high for our region’s small and mid-sized manufacturers. 

Workplace engagement has always been a high priority. However, it is no longer as easy to maintain high employee engagement levels when working at home or maintaining social distancing. Your manufacturing workforce is your company’s greatest asset. That means your manufacturing enterprise is at a tremendous disadvantage in productivity, outputs, and workforce attraction and retention if your employees aren’t engaged and equipped with the right resources and tools for success. 

How Employee Engagement Impacts the Manufacturing Workplace

Employee engagement impacts nearly every facet of your organization, from efficiency and productivity to retention. Here are the three factors to keep in mind when assessing or re-assessing your employee engagement strategy. 

Productivity: Employee engagement is key to creating a high-performance company culture. When employees feel valued and respected, it shows in their performance. Organizations that connect with their employees through consistent communication and technology see a 20-25% improvement in productivity. 

Performance: Employees who feel engaged in their work are 27% more likely to report “excellent” performance in their annual review. They have the motivation and support they need to feel valuable, be successful, and feel rewarded for their work and contributions.

Retention: Employees are more likely to stay for the long run, or several years, if they feel connected and supported by their employer. When employee engagement is low, it costs the organization. It costs $4,129 on average to hire new talent and around $986 for onboarding. Each time your organization loses an employee, you are losing money, talent, and valuable institutional knowledge.  

Keeping Employees Engaged in a Post-COVID World

Though the new normal leaves little room for face-to-face or personal contact, technology and communication are crucial tools in remaining connected. Here are some tactics your manufacturing organization can utilize to keep employees engaged while maintaining their distance. 

Video: Encourage all team members to turn their cameras on during meetings, if possible. It’s as close as you can get to face-to-face conversation. Seeing body language and social cues are essential for fully bonding with co-workers. Consider relaxing the tone of video meetings. For example, everyone could also use an occasional laugh when the cat walks across the keyboard, or when one of the kids makes an appearance in the background. Ensure your employees don’t feel stressed or shamed about integrating their work and home lives.

Home Setup: It can be assumed that most employees in your organization have more distractions at home than in the office. Ensure each team member has the tools they need to perform their job to the utmost of their abilities—including laptop and monitor, a stable Wi-Fi connection, and any other resources or office supplies they may need. Create a culture that allows and enables your employees to ask for what they need. 

Communicate the plan: Your employees need to know the exact protocol for how your organization is handling the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s also essential to evaluate how each team member feels and be accommodating to all comfort levels. Provide the plan in writing, ensure leadership is available for questions and clarifications, and offer the resources and support they need during these challenging times.

You Don’t Have to Do It Alone

The COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed the majority of manufacturing workplaces, even the strongest of leaders. We understand the challenges that the manufacturing industry is facing, which is why we’re committed to leveraging our vast network of resources to provide small and mid-sized regional manufactures with the tools they need to move forward.

Catalyst Connection recently partnered with Rhabit Analytics to provide manufacturing talent leaders with the ability to understand and engage with employees, gather and address continuous concerns, questions, and feedback, and incorporate that feedback into data-driven strategies for action and growth. 

Rhabit’s free COVID-19 Pulse survey offers leadership the ability to take their workforces’ pulse in a timely and impactful way. Gain critical insights on how your employees feel, utilize Rhabit’s real-time data and analysis paired with Catalyst Connection’s expertise, and take action to improve morale.  

Learn more about the COVID-19 Pulse Survey here. For questions, to discuss new and emerging challenges, or for the strategic partnership to advance your manufacturing workforce and environment, please reach out to our team of manufacturing experts.