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Build a People-First Work Culture  Recognition and appreciation are the foundation of healthy work environments. Learn More
All companies struggle with employee engagement. No matter the industry. High turnover and employee disengagement are common issues that leaders and human resources representatives must tackle regularly.

Research shows that one of the best ways to mitigate these issues is to effectively recognize and reward employees for positive behaviours and hard work.

When adequately undertaken, these efforts almost always result in a productivity boost and overall lower employee turnover rates.

While every sector of the economy is concerned, the manufacturing industry has been experiencing skills shortages that are only expected to grow as the population ages. For this reason, Canadian employers are looking for effective ways to reduce their employee turnover—but this exercise can be rather tricky, especially for companies working on a limited budget.

In this article, we will look at why it's so important to recognize employees in the manufacturing industry. In addition, we will outline some of the critical drivers of employee engagement specific to the manufacturing industry.

Let’s get started!

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Effective Strategies to Drive Employee Engagement for Manufacturing Workers

1. Make sure employees feel appreciated and recognized

The positive impact and importance of recognition are undeniable. Taking the time to highlight small wins each week will build happiness and morale among your team.

Countless studies back up this claim.

For example, a recent 2021 study of manufacturing workers showed that workers who felt valued were more than four times as likely to report high levels of work engagement (59% vs.13%) and less likely to say they feel stressed out on a typical workday (16% vs. 66%). That's huge!

Generally, people want to feel like this significant investment of time is valued by their employers. In short, they don't want to be taken for granted or feel replaceable. People want to feel as if their particular skills and even personality are bringing something to the team.

So, never forget to acknowledge that your employee’s presence is valued. Whether it is for unique skills or their knack at cracking jokes and keeping team spirit up, the goal is to ensure everyone’s unique contribution is seen and highlighted regularly.

2. Frequently reward positive behaviours and successes, small or big

Implementing an engagement and rewards program fosters an environment of trust and satisfaction. Workplaces that boast a positive atmosphere based on mutual respect and trust are shown to be more productive and profitable.

Moreover, focusing time and effort on employee recognition shows your employees that their work is valued daily. Means of employee recognition and staff appreciation can be as simple as sending them a handwritten thank you note or a public announcement about one of their achievements.

3. Be creative in your use of incentives

Controlled scientific studies have shown that employees even prefer non-cash incentives and rewards.

People remember non-monetary incentives and rewards more than monetary ones, and ultimately, the former has a more significant impact on employee engagement and retention. You don't need a huge budget to implement a rewards program. Cost-effective incentive solutions can be found!

For example, implementing a web-based employee reward and recognition program like Applauz Recognition that is personalized and adapted to your workforce. Web-based reward programs like this work by providing your teams with an online personalized reward catalogue in which they can browse a wide selection of gifts they will actually appreciate and use.

4. Listen to employee’s ideas

When it comes to the manufacturing industry, workers and operators have the most hands-on experience and a real-time view of what going on the factory floor.

It should, therefore, be intuitive to assume that their feedback is extremely valuable, especially when considering improvements and fixes to current processes. Letting employees know that you are open to hearing their ideas instills trust and respect.

5. Make a recognition program available to all employees

Not only management or employees who are already your best performers. By doing so, you are encouraging everyone in your company to perform at their best and set personal goals for themselves. If you effectively reward positive behaviours, you will only encourage more of them among your staff.

6. Create opportunities for socializing

Creating opportunities for employees to socialize and get to know each other as people (not just colleagues) will help build relationships across all levels and will likely have a positive impact on collaboration and productivity.

7. Connect your recognition program with a health and safety program

The word “training” rarely inspires much excitement. However, you know how crucial it is to reduce the hazards related to the operation of industrial machines and ensure health and safety on the job. A recognition program can help you motivate workers with immediate motivators and potential payoffs. Incentivize your employees and make them better at their job.

The manufacturing sector is facing high skills shortage rates. However, employers have ways to counter that. Manufacturing companies need to stay up to date with modern recognition strategies and provide people with a high-quality program that genuinely engages current employees and attracts potential future ones.

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Final Thoughts

Manufacturing employees need to be recognized and rewarded regularly just as much as any employee in another industry.

Manufacturing skill shortage is a real issue for the Canadian work market. So employers should spend extra time and resources to ensure employees are satisfied and engaged at work.

As a result of this effort, retention rates should remain as high as possible. By implementing some of the strategies and tips above, you will be putting in place valuable safeguards against employee churn, and you will be demonstrating to your staff that employee satisfaction is a top priority.

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