Employee engagement has long been an issue in the Canadian manufacturing industry, but it has become particularly pronounced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As businesses continue adapting to hybrid work models and uncertain societal occurrences weigh heavily on each worker’s mind, it can be difficult for employers to command the complete attention of their labour force. Manufacturers are responsible for keeping their employees focused, though — as their organization’s leaders, they need to ensure that they are providing their workers with appealing, dynamic opportunities, implementing effective engagement strategies to stave off tedium, and promoting a comfortable, beneficial work environment. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all method of securing employee engagement. Instead, leaders must understand how to maintain their workforce’s morale through constant communication, proper implementation, and an unwavering dedication to their corporate values.
A common misconception is that securing employee engagement is a difficult, expensive, or time-consuming process. While it is true that workers can respond poorly to certain forms of participatory activities, it is the duty of the employer to implement interesting, entertaining programs that can generate motivation in a productive manner. A wide variety of these programs are immediately available to employers free of charge, and can be accessed by their workforce inexpensively and conveniently. Consider Kahoot, for example — this platform allows leaders or employees to create, distribute, and enjoy fast, simple quiz games free of charge, and can easily provide a burst of quick fun and energy to a typical workday. Leaders looking to facilitate communication throughout their teams might also try Google Jamboard, a collaborative digital whiteboard-like space that allows employees to share their ideas immediately over any smart device, and which is similarly available without payment. Digital engagement platforms are a major asset to management in the modern workplace, and are a timely, gripping, and cost-effective way to energize or inspire employees.
Incentives, monetary or otherwise, have long been used to spur engagement and activity in a company’s labour force. By offering one’s employees a desirable reward in exchange for strong performance, loyalty, or adherence to company values, employers can motivate their workforce into increased productivity, and reap the benefits of good-natured competition. Use of incentives is not a replacement for a detailed engagement strategy, through, and poor implementation can lead to worker apathy or manipulation of the reward structure, putting a strain on team relationships. Non-monetary incentives provide a convenient fix to this problem. Employees that receive acknowledgement of their efforts through awards, certificates, or simple day-to-day recognition understand that their work is valued, and strive to uphold their reputation and output. Employee recognition is essential to stoking and maintaining morale, and is an integral component of long-term labour retainment. Financial incentives are useful in certain contexts, but genuine displays of gratitude are always worthwhile.
Engagement is one of the most important tools that manufacturers have access to when combatting labour shortages and employee disillusionment. By utilizing modern participation platforms and frequent employee recognition, leaders in the manufacturing industry will find that motivating and energizing their workforce is an expedient, inexpensive, and crucial task. Leaders in this space must also remember that employees learn by example, and should take efforts to follow the same corporate values they expect their workers to display.
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