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Why is Employee Engagement in Manufacturing Important?

Communicating with your employees is essential, but effective communication is only step 1. Are you engaging your employees? That’s step 2, and if we’re being honest, the most important.

Learn how you can create effective employee engagement in manufacturing.

But, before going any further, let’s define employee engagement.

Employee Engagement: Engaged employees as those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.

On the contrary, disengaged employees feel no connection to their jobs and tend to do the bare minimum. In this blog, we’ll explain why disengaged employees can cost your business in the long run and how to create a culture of better communication and employee engagement.

The chart below details the differences between the two categories:

employee engagement in manufacturing society for human resources

To learn more about employee engagement in the workplace, the Society for Human Resource Management has an in-depth article with additional resources. (Source: Society for Human Resource Management)

Why Does it Matter if Manufacturers are Engaging Employees?

It’s not just about communications, it’s about engagement. As executives and managers, we have unlimited choices for communicating with employees, but we don’t always take advantage of those choices or opportunities to their full potential to create an engaged workforce.

“My employees are doing their jobs, why does it matter if they’re engaged?”, you ask.

When employees are unengaged, that equals lost sales, lost production, low productivity, and high attrition rates. How do we know this? Every year in the United States, $450-550 billion in losses is caused by disengaged employees.

Let that sink in for a moment. $450-500 BILLION lost by unengaged employees.

Think about that statistic and then realize that only 15% of employees are engaged and enthusiastic about the work they’re doing, according to a Gallup poll.

“Based on over 50 years of employee engagement research, Gallup knows that engaged employees produce better business outcomes than other employees – across industry, company size, and nationality, and in good economic times and bad.”

For the other 85% of the workforce that is completely unengaged on the job, therein lies an abundance of opportunities for companies. If you could decrease that number by just 7%, that would be a huge increase in productivity and sales for your company.

Given the statistics, it’s likely that there’s an opportunity for you to improve employee communication and engagement.

5 Things Communications Tools Should Do Well

You know there is a need to engage employees, but how?

To truly engage employees, we need to optimize happiness and satisfaction, two metrics not usually talked about in the world of manufacturing. Typically, these metrics are confined to the HR space, but they shouldn’t be.

To optimize happiness and satisfaction effectively, manufacturers need more than the average communication tool, and ideally, a tool that takes into account the challenges manufacturers often face. At Mingo, we realized the need for such a tool and as a result, centered the foundation of our platform on effective communication and the ability to deliver real business results to manufacturers.

Essentially there are five things a communication platform should do well:

1. Get feedback from employees
2. Engage the right users with the right content, at the right time
3. Measure feedback and simplify it so everyone can understand
4. Integrate data with best business practices to improve future employee communication
5. Gain insights into the big picture, fast (essentially, in real-time)

By doing those five things, companies can ensure employees will understand quicker, better, and feel as though they are a part of the process – an essential part of keeping employees happy and satisfied.

But the key is to also keep it simple. You don’t want to take away from employees’ jobs. There is a delicate balance between the job employees have to do every day and the communication that will keep them engaged.

“What’s the Benefit of Better Communication in the Plant?”

What do you do with that communication once it’s established?

Well, first, you use the data collected, from a platform like Mingo, to reengage employees. Then, you apply the insights gathered from the people on the production floor to future projects.

Why not apply the insights of the executives in this case? In reality, the employees on the floor are the ones involved in production every day, day in and day out, so when you take the data they’ve collected and reengage them in the process of making decisions, you’ll see engagement rise fast. This is primarily because the data they’ve gathered and the inputs they’ve given are now being taken into consideration and being used to make decisions.

The point is to see the workforce for the efforts they contribute and engage them.

Time for an example to really show what we’re talking about. Let’s say Judy and Johnny are operators on the floor and they saw a problem occur on the line. They not only record the problem within the communication software but mention it to their floor manager. Now, it’s become a real conversation that not only involves the manager but Judy and Johnny. The conversation may go even further to include the plant operations manager.

The most important factor is that Judy and Johnny are involved in the conversation from beginning to end and are able to provide valuable insights that not only provide a meaningful benefit to the company but make the operators feel valued.

“But What if…. I’m Not at the Plant?”

What does effective employee communication look like during a big interruption, like Coronavirus when employees must work remotely?

Despite the circumstances, effective communication must continue, and there is still an opportunity to create valuable employee engagement in manufacturing from that communication.

There has to be a way to maintain communications with employees who are working on the floor and those who are not at the plant. In this case, a mobile app and push notifications come in handy.

The mobile app provides insight into what’s happening, in real-time. And push notifications go one step further by instantly alerting employees of events such as machine downtime. Both not only allow you to get insight into what’s going on but share those insights with other members of the company. It gives you the ability to work remotely, whatever the circumstances might be, but still maintain real communication.

These key benefits help you, and your team, feel connected with what’s happening in the plant and will encourage employee engagement in manufacturing by not feeling “cut off” from the rest of the company.

The ability to communicate with the company is important now more than ever.

“What is Effective Communication and Employee Engagement in Manufacturing?”

Pandemic, economic crisis, whatever the event may be, the goal of keeping employees happy and satisfied is accomplished through effective communication.

It’s important for leadership teams to communicate throughout any event by providing updates and insight on a number of things.

  1. What are the current conditions on the floor?

2. What does the company’s production look like now, and in the future?

3. What’s the general outlook of your particular industry?

4. How does manufacturing look in general? Nationwide? Worldwide?

This is one of the reasons we’ve invested in new technologies, such as Subscription as a Service (SaaS) to provide manufacturers the ability to not only monitor performance but effectively communicate with their employees.

The Hard Truth, Most Employees Aren’t Engaged

The hard truth is that most employees are unengaged.  “Why is this important to us,” you ask?

It’s not a topic we shy away from talking about because there is a dire need to create new, innovative ways to engage employees.

Referencing back to the statistic we mentioned early in this blog, companies lose between $450-550 billion per year because of unengaged employees. We want to help companies recuperate those losses by learning how to effectively engage their employees.

We cannot stress enough – employee engagement is vital to a company’s success. When employees are unengaged, that hinders performance, harms the company culture, and in the end, costs you money.

“How Can Mingo Increase Employee Engagement in Manufacturing?”

With Mingo, or really any SaaS software, you can expect to boost company engagement, employee engagement, and enjoy the real benefits of better business results.

But, with Mingo, you don’t just get a tool to track production. You get a complete communication and engagement platform that includes strategic advice, customized recommendations, flawless implementations, and ongoing service that not only supports the success of your company but also your employees, long term.

The other thing that we help you do is encourage employee engagement in manufacturing by ensuring the tactics and strategies you employ on the production floor are aligned with the overall employee engagement strategy. That’s one topic we could go on and on about so we will save that for a future blog, stay tuned.

The goal is to use Mingo to not only accomplish your production floor goals but marry that strategy with your employee engagement strategy.

When you take those strategies and apply them effectively, you will create a unique opportunity to scale the program as employee engagement increases. This is the total philosophy Mingo supports with its software and communication capabilities.

With that philosophy, you’ll see improved employee productivity, high employee satisfaction, increase retention, decrease attrition, lower costs, and higher ROI for employee engagement programs.


Gallup: What Is Employee Engagement and How Do You Improve It?

Society for Human Resource Management

Picture of Bryan Sapot
Bryan Sapot
Bryan Sapot is a lifelong entrepreneur, speaker, CEO, and founder of Mingo. With more than 24 years of experience in manufacturing technology, Bryan is known for his deep manufacturing industry insights. Throughout his career, he’s built products and started companies that leveraged technology to solve problems to make the lives of manufacturers easier. Follow Bryan on LinkedIn here.