Whether it's about retention, attracting new hires or just boosting morale in your manufacturing workforce, one thing is clear: Keeping workers happy on the job is an important task. However, it's also easier said than done.
The bad news is that worker satisfaction will always be a balancing act between what's best for your people and what's best for your bottom line. The good news is that with the right tricks up your sleeve, you can manage that balancing act with stellar results. Here are a few ways to keep manufacturing workers happy on the job:
1) Give them robust teams
According to Plant Services, the manufacturing industry will need 4.6 million new workers by 2028. That's a sign worker shortages are coming, if they haven't already — and that can impact the morale and efficiency of your current teams. To let employees know you're working hard to keep their workloads balanced, stay on top of your hiring processes and make sure teams are as robust as possible.
2) Offer any flexibility you can
Flexibility doesn't have to be perfect to win the loyalty of your manufacturing employees. In fact, just a little change can go a long way, according to Industry Today. Many companies are making positions part-time to give workers a chance to experience the range of options available in the manufacturing industry. For some roles, you can also offer "work from home" days employees schedule with you ahead of time. The idea with this type of flexibility is to give workers options without limiting your company's efficiency or productivity.
3) Treat them like assets
With so much competition in the hiring market, manufacturing workers know they're a valuable commodity — and they want to be treated as such. To keep them happy on the job, find ways to show them just how important they are to your company's success. The key here is to show all employees top-notch treatment, even if that treatment looks different for different roles and individuals. That way, workers in one position don't become jealous of or bitter toward workers in another.
4) Don't expect them to be perfect
Your teams are likely full of hard workers, but that doesn't mean they're perfect. It's your job to create a manufacturing environment where learning is part of everyday work and skills are constantly being sharpened. Of course, you can expect certain things from them — like punctuality or safety on the job — but expecting too much can cause stress and eventual job burnout.
5) Be part of their career
If you want happy manufacturing workers, make sure you're building a career for them — not just a job. The difference is a career offers opportunities for learning, growth and continued success, whereas a job may eventually start to feel repetitive, boring or even like a dead end. This is especially important if your employees are enthusiastic about the manufacturing industry; if you don't find ways to hold on to these promising individuals, they'll still continue their careers — but not with you.