When manufacturing operations get behind and deliverables don’t 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 up with them. This means that 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 execs believe saying "thank you" is enough but the reality is that words only work when combined with a whole lot more.
Here’s why. 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 lies to influence behavior that will increase morale and lead to improved productivity lies in this connection.
Below are the top ways 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. So take the time upfront to ask 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. Don’t just pick a single reward and hope that all employees will value it. Instead, let each employee 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 of your 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. Therefore, every manager must know how to tie recognition with individual goals and the company objectives. If safety is a corporate goal, be sure to reward individuals 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 which will play 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. Did the team exceed quarterly goals? Don’t 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. Get going!
Kara Simon, General Manager of 3Cheers Recognition & Rewards, a division of Maritz Motivation Solutions which offers businesses of any size an easy-to-use, points-based motivation platform designed to engage people with meaningful recognition and memorable rewards. She holds a marketing degree from Eastern Illinois University and an MBA from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She can be reached at Kara.Simon@Maritz.com