Best Practices for Engaging Your Manufacturing Workforce

This week we’re pleased to be publishing a guest blog post written by Alexandra Zamolo at Beekeeper! Beekeeper has expertise in improving internal communication at all types of companies. This is something we’re always striving to improve at PacMoore, so this blog is right up our alley! We hope you find it as helpful as we did.

Employee Communication Best Practices in ManufacturingWhile cracking the code of effective employee engagement in any industry can be challenging, the manufacturing industry faces particular obstacles due to the highly-dispersed nature of manufacturing operations. Working across plant locations, offices, and departments, ensuring everyone feels heard and is sufficiently engaged––all while prioritizing the manufacturing industry’s number one priority, safety––requires a flexible internal communication strategy.

Here are three high-level ideas tailored to the unique needs of manufacturing operations for best engaging your manufacturing workforce as you build your company’s employee communication best practices.

1. Encourage employee feedback with two-way communication to improve safety and the workplace environment.

The best place to start as you develop an effective employee engagement program is to assess your existing employee communication strategy. What mechanisms are in place for leadership and management to reach plant workers and office colleagues, and vice versa? Similarly, it’s important to address if, how, and by what systems your company is asking for, gathering, and following up on employee feedback. As frontline workers, your manufacturing workforce holds invaluable insights as to what could be improved operationally in their daily scope of tasks––but there needs to be an easy, very accessible way for them to share this feedback.

As a mobile and digital solution, a team app is one option to consider because it removes many of the most common barriers to entry or participation, such as having to remember complicated passwords or access to company email that many hourly workers may not have.

Utilizing digital communication tools provides an excellent way to build your culture of safety and to share the following mission-critical manufacturing information:

  • Safety training videos and guidelines
  • Updates to production schedules and processes
  • Plant-specific equipment updates and announcements
  • Worksite notifications such as heat advisories, weather alerts, or project changes
  • Incident reporting and follow-up

2. Commit to regular and sustained employee recognition.

In addition to encouraging your employees to share key insights about the work they do, recognizing their contribution and dedication is just as important. From celebrating birthdays, work anniversaries, and team-specific accomplishments to acknowledging stellar productivity, performance, and modeling safety standards, consistent recognition lets your workforce know leadership is paying attention and that a job well-done won’t go unnoticed.

Kind words and team member shout-outs shouldn’t be limited to management, either. In fact, encouraging your workforce to recognize each other creates a company-wide culture of recognition and accountability.

3. Leadership buy-in is key.

Having a strong example for employee engagement modeled by influential team members and executives is essential when transitioning from brainstorming mode to putting your employee engagement and communication strategies into practice. Leadership-led participation in your chosen communication solution also provides the perfect opportunity to directly align company values and business goals with your manufacturing workforce, and improve operations management.

Instead of simply sending out a memo or new policy and expecting your workforce will read and absorb this information, take the opportunity to turn this into an employee engagement activity. Follow up a quarterly plant update with trivia or a poll that actively engages your workforce to share what they learned, what questions they may have, and to gauge whether or not the information is resonating. Provide incentives for participation, such as a company-sponsored breakfast or outing, for the plant that has the highest response rates, asks the most questions, or answers trivia questions about topics from the meeting correctly.

Regardless of what route you end up taking, implementing a process for two-way communication demonstrates a proactive approach to improving employee engagement with your manufacturing workforce and company culture.

Beekeeper Guest Blog Author Manufacturing WorkforceAlexandra Zamolo

Content Marketing Manager, Beekeeper

Alexandra Zamolo is a master storyteller, brand marketeer, and idiom enthusiast. As Beekeeper’s Content Marketing Manager, she provides insightful content to help educate non-desk workforces about internal communication, employee engagement, AI, cybersecurity, and other challenges facing the hospitality, retail, and manufacturing industries.

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