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ResourceMFG | Manufacturing Workforce Specialists
Workplace culture

Searching for appropriate talent is just the tip of a good hiring strategy. Cultural fits matter too. If the people you take on don't feel rewarded, motivated or inspired by their environment, they'll become less productive over time and look for another job. Knowing that someone is right for your manufacturing business — not just capable — makes your investment in them much more assured.

If you're struggling with employee retention, your current culture could be the problem. It's easy for business owners to lose a sense of how it feels to work on the manufacturing floor every day; to assume that a culture established years ago is still strong and enticing. Read on for some signs that you may need to change your business from the inside out, rather than believing new candidates are the issue.

Concerns aren't addressed until workers leave

Expectations are always going to shift within an industry like manufacturing, which is facing unprecedented potential for automation and big data developments. The question is, do your employees feel they can voice any concerns without fear of reprisal? Furthermore, do they know how to offer their own ideas? EY gives a useful example: "What if there was a new piece of equipment that could save the business serious time and money, but the process for bringing ideas was so risky or heavy that the manager just didn't bother?"

If you're only hearing employee feedback when they're on the way out, something may be wrong with your communication channels. It's worth reviewing how each layer of your hierarchy interacts and discusses solving a challenge in the workplace.

It's difficult to measure company values

While every business has its own set of ethics and principles, they don't always visibly align with performance. It's worth reassessing the cornerstones of your culture and linking them to a metric. Some of these values could have arisen as your manufacturing processes, technologies or environmental commitments have changed over the years. If this is the case, think about any outcomes (productivity, waste targets, career progression, upskilling, etc.) that can be drawn back to your aspirations, before measuring them more effectively.

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) disclosure, for instance, might clarify your sustainability initiatives. Or, if you're focused on empowering workers to take their manufacturing skills to the next level, consider reviewing the number of training programs you conduct every year. The workforce will appreciate seeing its culture manifest in stats and achievements.

Remote or hybrid work remains limited

A 2022 study from Quantum Workplace suggests that 45% of employees who can work from home at least some of the time believe that their company culture has changed for the better. Manufacturing, of course, relies on more site-based work than other industries, but flexible options should be embraced wherever possible. They are strong contenders for helping your business become more inclusive and considerate in a post-pandemic job market.

There are several methods for making remote work more feasible. You can hand supervisors production monitoring tools, checking their facility's status from a screen off-site. When you feed real-time production data into an automated, computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), teams can see what has to be repaired or optimized, collaborating wherever they are. Meanwhile, be sure to ask every employee what they want from remote or hybrid work. Some may prefer more days on site or extra freedom for family responsibilities. Gauge what's best for everyone, then try to shape shift patterns around it.