Trends In Workforce Motivation For The Manufacturing Industry

With millennials comprising more than 50 percent of the workforce by 2020 — along with many baby boomers staying in their jobs — it is imperative to design motivation programs to appeal to a multi-gen workforce.

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David ReisnerDavid Reisner

The business of motivation is always changing, but the last few years have been an especially exciting time. There are two key trends: engaging the latest technology, and incorporating just the right blend of motivators. With millennials comprising more than 50 percent of the workforce by 2020 — along with many baby boomers staying in their jobs — it is imperative to design motivation programs to appeal to a multi-gen workforce.

Your employee incentive program should be crafted to motivate through mission and purpose. It should present enough options to incentivize a workforce that is diverse in both age and values. Then it must present a range of options in an engaging, user-friendly, consolidated platform. Technology with a personalized interface will ensure that the program truly engages and motivates your employees to excel.

Motivation Software: Consolidated, Focused, Customizable

Collaboration, HRCMs and gamification have merged together, and, in doing so, have brought a fresh approach to the traditional business of motivating a manufacturing company’s sales and support teams.

But all of that new technology has created a wide variety of choices of tools — and each one brings different benefits. And, once you’ve picked it, you have hundreds of apps that go alongside it. Each promises increased adoption, performance and value with your workforce. It can be confusing and even frustrating, right? To ease these headaches when picking the right software for your manufacturing business, consider these key traits of a powerful, cloud-based workforce motivation software.

So, you’ve got your tool selected. The dashboards are built and workflows are redefined for marketing, sales and operations. You’ve got the world on a string — until the complexities slow everything down. Consolidating all of your data and people into one platform is the best way to remove those speed bumps. With a centralized platform ready for native applications, you will be fully prepared to leverage your investment. If you’re looking for some help with this, consider a partner who brings an agnostic approach to integration and make sure they’re capable of leveraging their technology wherever your people are.

With the sheer volume of content online, effective communication needs to be short and focused. If you've made the investment into any software platform, an outside motivational layer that competes for your team’s attention can cause problems.

Integrate your motivation solution right inside your tools, from communications to awards and experiences for a job well done. Don’t force them to switch between tools, losing valuable time and attention.

Technology is great, but it’s not a cure-all. And it’s not a universal, one-size-fits-all solution.

Each business has its own specific challenges when it comes to segmenting and motivating its workforce. That’s why you need a technology partner that handles more than the creation of an app and seat licenses.

You need a partner with the experience to understand your objectives — someone to recommend the right mix of products and services to achieve those desired results, all within your budget.

The New Generation of Motivation Programs

The new paradigm of motivation programs is to provide choices. The manufacturing workforce is now multi-generational, as well as culturally diverse. Your program has to present a wide range of recognition and rewards that will appeal to the cross-section of your workforce.

To maximize impact, a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators needs to be built into the engagement program. Intrinsic motivators are: purpose, belonging, status, social contact, mastery, drive and learning. Extrinsic motivators include: competition, praise, tangible rewards, money and benefits.

Finding the right blend of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators entails a holistic approach that effectively mirrors the interest of your multi-gen workforce. Give employees a dozen or more doors to walk through with excitement and promise — and your incentive program will truly motivate.

The Holistic Approach

The holistic approach to motivation focuses on pride instead of prize, encompassing these key elements:

  • Performance. Incentivize sales goals and productivity goals.
  • Career. Tenure awards, training and other endeavors that lead to deep-rooted efficacy.
  • Wellness. Creating a well-balanced life — physical, financial, spiritual and emotional balance.
  • Social. Peer-to-peer awards, spot nomination, above-and-beyond recognition and more.
  • Community. Appreciate your employees for the ways they improve the community.

What’s the best reward for a peak player on your team? Is it $500, an airline ticket, or an awesome pair of headphones? The answer is that it might be any of the above. The secret to making the rewards truly rewarding is to provide choice.

Point pooling is another powerful technique. The motivational principle behind cumulative points is tied to the ability to choose awards, rather than a “one-size-fits-all” award. The more points gained, the greater number of items participants can choose from. Employees who set their sights on a high-end award are more likely to be involved in a program as they strive to earn enough points to achieve their desired prize.

Consolidating into a complete, integrated ecosystem of objectives, goals and awards also allows your HR team to gather critical data about what’s working with the incentive program and what isn’t. A dynamic, scalable platform will help you glean all the information you can and quantify the ROI of your motivation program. You can use this information to keep adapting and improving the program as your business and workforce grows.

David Reisner is a director for the ITA Group.

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