Apprentice Engineer Checking Component in Manufacturing Plant.jpgIn business, it’s often said that your biggest asset is your people.

But how do employees factor into manufacturing?

In the manufacturing arena, your employees may very well be more valuable than ever. Technology and automation may have phased out some people-filled roles, but those that remain have more responsibilities than ever.

Before you place an employee in charge of running a multi-million dollar piece of equipment, you need to make sure that they are properly trained in the usage of sophisticated machines. This takes an employee who has patience and an overall appetite to yield value for the company.

Employees: What Stage Are They In?

Employees are individuals, and should be treated as such. To lump all employees into the same category doesn’t do justice to those who are highly skilled, highly educated with a great work ethic.

A highly qualified long-term employee should be treated as a valuable asset, whereas a new and untested employee may better be viewed as an investment. There are also intangible qualities that your best people may have: driven to reach goals, eager to learn and perform, offers ideas for improvement, assists management and is generally a good element to have around.

Other employees may simply show up to collect a paycheck.

Fostering Their Skills

Recognizing the various qualities of an employee is good and ultimately necessary. But what can business leaders do to improve the people they currently have?

Recognizing an employee's qualities is good but what can business leaders do to improve the people they have?

Create an encouraging environment.

While a work environment that isn’t supportive may still yield a certain amount of productivity, employees who are comfortable tend to be more productive, creative, open to improvement, feels free to ask necessary questions and more. An encouraging environment more easily converts employees as investments to employees as assets.

Get out of the shop for a day.

It’s amazing just how much an environment determines one’s mental state. Taking a day to meet outside of work can transform a team’s dynamic, get them to interact differently and encourage them to open up in different ways. How could operations improve? What might be incentivizing? What’s the one thing the makes the job the most challenging? A change of scenery may get your less-vocal folks to speak up.

Spotlight priorities.

Everyone loves a job perfectly done, but sometimes it’s better to get a task done in a timely manner than in a perfect one. Encourage efficiency while maintaining standards while keeping in mind what matters most to the consumer.

Emphasize the big picture.

While work can be fulfilling and can help build character, it’s also a challenge to bring your best effort every day. Find ways to keep your employees motivated and fresh. Encourage discussion about their family and other aspects of their personal life that they value. And, consistently remind them that the end goal of their work is to add as much value to the consumer as possible.

Be honest.

People value honesty, especially when it comes to money and one’s livelihood. An honest boss can engender trust and an overall honest effort. What’s the status of the company? Where are you right now and where would you like to be? When you’re honest, it gets a team in alignment and pulling for the same cause.

Your company is as good as your people are willing and able to perform. Rather than waiting for the initiative to reveal itself, management should also be proactive and encourage an initiative-fostering environment.

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