Manufacturers Must Recognize and Consistently Award Employee Loyalty

Each month, Hytrol Conveyors, based in Jonesboro, AR, announces the cumulative years of worker anniversaries being celebrated each month. The company with approximately 800 employees, celebrates 300+ years of work each month. Employees who have served the company for 40 years are nearing 100 plant floor employees. It is admirable.

Kara Simon shared in tips for increasing productivity through employee recognition and rewards. When manufacturing operations get behind and deliverables fail to meet the schedule, it impacts every internal and external department from assembly line to warehouse to transportation, and so on. Supply chains are only as good as the people in charge of keeping the promised delivery dates. It is just as important for manufacturers to keep equipment in great shape as it is for them to keep people in great shape by showing meaningful appreciation on a day-to-day basis. Many manufacturing executives may believe saying “thank you” is enough, but according to Simon the reality is that words only work when combined with a whole lot more.

Simon warned that to truly drive behavior and reinforce performance, recognition requires more than a few nice words. In manufacturing, supervisors, managers, department heads, and team leaders need to connect the gratitude (saying thank you) with the purpose (driving behavior). True power influences behavior that will increase morale and lead to improved productivity.

She also suggested that there are best practices to bring employee recognition and rewards to a manufacturing workforce.

1. Make recognition personal. With multiple generations in the workforce, a manufacturing staff is comprised of individuals with very distinct personalities, likes, and dislikes. Some may prefer recognition in private while others will be energized by the limelight. Taking upfront time asking the staff their preferences and then use that information to recognize them in a personal way.

2. Make rewards meaningful. Just like recognition preferences, reward preferences vary from person to person. Each individual has their own sense of what is memorable and motivating. It is ineffective to pick a single reward and hope that all employees will value it. Instead, each employee must choose their own award. By offering a variety, robust rewards selection from top-selling gift cards to music/movie/book downloads to event tickets or charitable offerings, all employees will be able to find something they want and can use regardless of generation or lifestyle. This positive emotion and goodwill for the rewards will transfer to the organization.

3. Link recognition with performance goals. The key is to promote behavior that will lead to better attitudes and improved performance. Every plant manager must know how to tie recognition with individual goals and the company objectives. If safety is a corporate goal, individuals must be rewarded for avoiding accidents or coming up with a new system to prevent them by making safety a priority. Connecting the recognition and a specific behavior helps drive future performance; playing a key part in achieving those corporate goals.

4. Celebrate team successes. Recognition programs should be set up for both individuals and teams. While individual performance is important, the efforts of a team can deliver exponential results. When it is a group success, recognition needs to be public to let other staffers know their achievements do matter. Manufacturers must never wait until the end of the year to celebrate everything, treat each success as its own special accomplishment. When groups are rewarded for their collective success, it creates a sense of unity and fosters an environment of stronger teamwork.

5. Make work fun. Whether it is through elaborate employee appreciation events or surprises during various work-breaks, an employee will remember the fun times when having a rough day. By creating social gatherings where employees can enjoy each other’s company and bond, it will help energize each workforce group and reinforce how their efforts are tied to a much bigger picture.

Employee recognition and reward programs can make a difference in any manufacturing organization. From supervisors to assembly line workers to executive leadership, all company employees can benefit from recognition. When managers demonstrate regular recognition with a thoughtful reward program, employees will feel more committed, embrace their initiatives and responsibility with true purpose, and develop a keener sense of loyalty. All of this will influence production levels, speed, engagement, and commitment to supply chain deliverable schedules.

People Driven Performance knows that this recognition process must be planned, scheduled, and most importantly consistent. Rewards and acknowledgements that are periodic or worse yet, one-time occurrences can actually be more detrimental and damage employee engagement. PDP Solutions sets up on-going mechanisms and processes so the longevity, commitment, and engagement of each employee is treated as the most important value of the organization.

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