Employee Engagement In Indian Manufacturing Sector

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on January 10, 2014

Today we cheer success of some companies like Google and look with suspicion on some of the work practices followed by some other companies. What is that thing which makes Google so different from other companies? One thing we will clearly notice is the nature of work .But does that mean it is impossible to harness great levels of productivity from your employees if you are working on shop floor of a manufacturing company?

To say no to this question would be too idealistic but neither the answer is yes. It is difficult and many manufacturing companies are working in this area from long. Richard Branson in his book take the concept of respect from his Japanese counterparts and explain it beautifully .our inner character or real self is more prevalent when we are talking to people lower than us in some respect .This concept is what really needs to be applied by HR of a manufacturing company at shop floor to realize what they are trying for. During my sting with two of the manufacturing companies in three years of my career I have seen teams which work exceptionally well without even a single phone call from their in charge, and I have seen team leader getting smashed in meetings in spite of being excessively busy in their conduct of the team. Where is the catch?

Image Courtesy: freedigitalphotos.net, scottchan

Catch is present in the conduct of a leader. Conduct of a leader defines the employee engagement levels of the shop floor .But million dollar question is how would you define that your employees are engaged when your targets keep on escalating month after month ,how will you keep up the motivation of employee when they know “more work done now ,means more work for coming months “.This is a typical dilemma I faced in my conduct .Employees have their pre-defined targets in mind ,which a leader is sometimes not aware of .Thus employee engagement can be defined in a way a self feel responsible for the company ,how much he is able to relate to the company as his own company .I have seen employees destructing the processes of their own company at the end of their shift. Now this is crazy ,don’t they have little wisdom to understand that they are making their own work tougher by doing such things .They have ,but the level of disengaged in them have reached such heights that they got pleasure by doing so .

In a study by Gallup research, it turns out that only 30-40 % of employees are currently engaged, and if you consider subset of shop-floor employees this figure is going to drop further .There is a lot of unharnessed productivity out there. We calculate ROA, and call our people biggest asset but irony is we don’t include our people in asset that defines ROA.

A national representative sample of 1,500 employees was surveyed, which revealed that although there are many factors that impact employee engagement, there are three key drivers:

• Relationship with immediate supervisor

• Belief in senior leadership

• Pride in working for the company

Employees said that it is the personal relationship with their immediate supervisor that is the key. This puts an utmost responsibility on front line managers of India to ensure they are getting the best ROP i. e return on people. Off lately many companies have started with employee engagement but either the full enthusiasm is missing or they are implementing in parts. Any improvement requires 3 must steps

I. Assess and Gauge

II. Decide and Do

III. Measure and Motivate.

For me third part is the most important as it define the course of actions to follow and also motivate the management to put more thrust on such programs. We don’t do that that is the reason why most companies lose their way after coming half way, and leave a legacy of failure for others to see no hope.

Customizing employee engagement

Creating an environment of employee engagement is by far the toughest challenge I can imagine in management .How would you make somebody feel like the owner of a firm when in actual he is not .Sure there are some ways-stock option is popular .But can you do them at each level ,specially at shop floor level .Answer is no .Then how would you do that .One way to view this is to see each employee as an important part of tour value chain ,giving him the respect of being there for your company and hanging there when required .Respect pays more wonders than stocks can ,I personally has experienced that in my tenure .Second is the inclusion,-inclusion of each employee in vision and mission of company .Any small variation from the mission he should be able to feel the pain and reflect upon it .It is the responsibility of management and front line soldiers to create such a system that a bit of information trickle down to bottom of the ship. Third is recognition, recognize as soon as possible,ideal would be to reward on the spot .This is a way you make the culture contagious .In my experience I have seen people waiting for their Employee of the month certificate ,for the reason even they don’t remember and when it deliver to department employee is on leave .So speed up your system of rewarding ,and reward with a clear reason ,make it known to every other employee.

This article has been authored by Chandan Khanduja from Great Lakes Institute of Management Chennai

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