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5 ways to improve employee engagement in the manufacturing industry

Employee engagement is essential for any successful organisation, and the manufacturing industry is no different. It helps create a positive working environment and aligns employees’ goals with those of the organisation, amongst other benefits:

  • It helps attract talent - Outlined in our Making Manufacturing an Employee Destination Industry eBook, Manufacturing still has an image problem and an outdated portrayal of what it's like working in the industry. HR leaders can help change the narrative by identifying and promoting what it's like to work in the modern manufacturing industry.

  • It can predict employee retention issues - Employees leave jobs; it's an immutable fact of life. In 2021, an estimated  Americans quit their jobs, a double-digit increase on the pre-pandemic figure of 42.1 million in 2019. WorkBuzz’s extensive data has modelled multiple industries - including the manufacturing sector - using employee engagement metrics. This has revealed warning signs of an employee intending to leave up to a year before their departure. Employee engagement is one of the best ways to predict employee turnover as it is a real-time reflection of their work life. Exit interviews inform future retention policies and procedures to prevent ‘regrettable churn’ of high-performing 
 and high-potential employees.

  • It can improve productivity and performance - When it comes to business success and profitability, employee engagement is a fundamental factor. Companies with a highly engaged workforce are  profitable than those with disengaged staff. Undoubtedly, engaged employees are more productive because they are happy and satisfied with their jobs. They also tend to be more diligent, motivated, and passionate. When employees are satisfied with their job responsibilities, they put extra effort into their work and improve their overall performance. 

Fortunately, there are several practical strategies that can be implemented by employers in the manufacturing industry to solve employee engagement challenges. From leveraging technology to introducing employee surveys, here are five ways to help increase employee motivation, satisfaction, and engagement.

1. Leverage technology to foster collaboration and communication

Leveraging technology is an important part of improving employee engagement in manufacturing organisations. Technology can be used to foster collaboration and communication between employees, helping them stay connected and engaged with their work – while also reducing costs associated with manual processes.

For example, HR professionals can use online tools such as videoconferencing or instant messaging to facilitate virtual meetings or discussions. Additionally, they can create digital workspaces where employees can share ideas and collaborate on projects in real-time. This will help strengthen relationships between team members and improve overall morale among workers.

Automated systems can also be used for tasks such as payroll processing or task tracking, so employees aren’t burdened by tedious paperwork but instead have more time to focus on their jobs.

2. Create a positive working environment

Creating a positive working environment is essential for any successful organisation, especially in the manufacturing industry. HR professionals have an important role to play in this regard as they are responsible for setting expectations and creating an atmosphere that empowers employees to be engaged with their work.

This can be done by providing clear guidelines on job roles and responsibilities, offering rewards or recognition when goals are met, and ensuring there is open communication between employees and management.

Organisations should strive for a workplace culture that values collaboration, creativity, innovation, and feedback from all levels of the organisation. Fostering these qualities within the workforce through activities such as team building events or group discussions will help build trust among workers which leads to higher employee engagement overall.

3. Align employees’ goals with those of the organisation

Aligning employees’ goals with those of the organisation is key to improving employee engagement. HR professionals can ensure this alignment by clearly communicating organisational objectives and expectations to all levels of the workforce.

This includes providing a clear understanding of job roles and responsibilities as well as setting measurable performance targets that are achievable yet challenging. Additionally, they should strive to create an environment where everyone feels valued and respected, so that employees feel motivated to contribute their best efforts towards achieving organisational goals.

It’s also important to provide feedback on a regular basis so that employees know how they are performing relative to their peers and can adjust accordingly if needed.

4. Measure employee engagement

Measuring employee engagement is a critical aspect of any successful organisation, and HR professionals have an important role to play in this regard. One of the most effective tools available to them is using surveys to gauge the satisfaction and engagement levels of employees.

The best surveys allow for anonymous responses, allowing employees to be honest without fear of repercussions. Additionally, surveys can provide HR professionals with valuable insights into how employees feel about their job roles and responsibilities as well as any potential areas for improvement which can then be addressed accordingly.

Data can also be collected from other sources such as performance reviews or feedback from managers in order to get a comprehensive understanding of employee engagement in the organisation.

5. Take action

Failing to act on feedback can have a negative impact on employee engagement, retention figures and overall customer experience. Employee surveys help deskless workers to be heard, but this should be more than just a box ticking exercise.

Surveys should be used as a means for gathering insights and data over time – and these insights should be aligned to your organisation’s KPIs, providing detail on key issues and highlighting opportunities for change and innovation.

Tailoring your surveys to your deskless workforce – as covered in our article about how to reach and engage your employees – means you’ll get better response rates and more actionable insights that can ensure fair and inclusive decisions for all your workforce, regardless of their schedules and locations.

Engaging your deskless workforce is essential if you want your manufacturing organisation to provide the best customer experiences. To build better engagement, employee listening needs to be a constant activity within organisations, it helps leaders to identify what is – or isn’t – working, to respond to sources of disengagement, and to nurture a healthy culture.


Download our eBook - Making Manufacturing an Employee Destination Industry - which explores how the manufacturing sector is re-inventing itself and why improving employee engagement can make manufacturing a destination for talent who wants to join the industry and, most importantly, stay, here.

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