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Apr 27, 2023

How to Improve Company Culture In Manufacturing

Explore Topic: Employee Engagement

Having a solid company culture doesn’t mean you need to crack some secret code. Get 10 of our favorite ways to improve company culture within the manufacturing industry.

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Company culture—it’s more than an HR buzzword and bringing in a cake on someone’s birthday. Many manufacturing companies struggle with getting company culture right. It can feel like an uphill battle. People mean well (with the cake), and while that is a nice touch, it surely doesn’t unlock the key to good company culture for all manufacturing sector employees.

Improving company culture takes time, effort, and even buy-in from your leadership team and workers. But don’t worry. The effort and investment are well worth it. Ready to start the journey? We’ll dig into 10 ways to improve company culture within the manufacturing industry, but first, let’s talk about what company culture is.

What is Company Culture?

Culture is like your character. It all comes down to who your company is at its core and what it’s known for. Company culture in the manufacturing departments around the company can vary, and it's important in streamlining things. This is demonstrated through the values, attitudes, and behaviors of both employees and the leadership of manufacturing companies. In a sense, company culture ends up becoming what is both expected and accepted behavior from employees.

Building a company culture you can be proud of takes dedication, intention, and time. But there are plenty of things you can do to make your workplace environment and culture 1% better each day. So choose to put in the effort.

Why Does Company Culture Matter in Manufacturing?

Company culture isn’t just some silly slogan you slap on your hiring page—it’s the energy and focus (or lack of) that flows through your entire organization. But it doesn’t just stop there. The culture of your business dramatically impacts your employee engagement and your bottom line.

Only 32% of full time and part-time employees are engaged at work.1 And according to Gallup, businesses and industries with the highest employee satisfaction and engagement are 23% more profitable than those in other industries with the lowest employee engagement.2

As much as having an amazing company culture benefits your management team, the impact it has on employee retention and your business success overall cannot be underestimated.

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Is Your Company Culture Bad or Good?

You’d be surprised how many companies out there have no idea whether their company culture is a healthy culture or not. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Here are some signs to look out for when figuring out how your company ranks.

Signs of a good company culture within leading manufacturing companies

  • High retention rate
  • Continued development of employees
  • Good working relationships
  • Good employee benefits
  • Open door communication
  • Growth mindset
  • Trust and integrity
  • Opportunities for advancement

Signs of a bad company culture in the manufacturing industry

  • Illegal or unethical behavior
  • High turnover rate
  • Employees don’t feel like they can openly communicate with leadership
  • Pressure to work long hours to prove yourself
  • No work-life balance
  • Employee burnout

How to Improve Company Culture In Manufacturing

Does it feel like businesses with awesome company culture have somehow figured out “the secret?” Having a solid company culture doesn’t mean you need to crack some secret code. Here are 10 of our favorite ways to improve company culture.

1. Identify Your Core Values

If your business doesn’t have a mission statement or a set of company values in place, you should change that ASAP. Your core values will inform the decisions you make, the people you hire, and the culture you create. Spend time thinking critically about what’s most important to your company and use ideas from that to shape your core value set.

Once you have your core values in place, your company culture should reflect those values. If communication is part of your culture transformation and your core values, for example, then consistent 1:1s, town halls, and company staff meetings should be prioritized.

2. Be Transparent and Authentic

Building strong company culture and trust with manufacturing employees is key. A company’s culture moves at the speed of trust. So how do you do that? Develop a company culture of transparent leadership and honesty. Share company success and be candid about challenges (as much as you can). Your team will appreciate your openness and will likely return the favor by being candid towards you too.

And when it comes to looking for a company to join, many employees are searching for this type of positive work environment manufacturing culture and atmosphere. In fact, 81% of surveyed employees would rather join an organization that values open communication.3

3. Value Comradery and Team Unity

Not every co-worker will get along—and that’s okay. If your company’s culture places value on team unity and comradery, those colleagues may be inspired to put their differences aside for the good of the team.

Most employees like to feel as though they belong somewhere, working alongside a team they can trust and rely upon to get the job done. If you strive to create this healthy company culture, your team will take note and take it upon themselves to be the guardians of team unity across the organization.

4. Clearly Communicate Your Mission

What’s your company’s “why?” Employees should come to work every day knowing the company’s mission. Make them feel like their role plays a part in the greater success of the company (because it does). Connect your people to this purpose, and they’ll value the work they do.

On top of that, you need to connect meaning to your company's mission statement. Over half of the U.S. say they have taken a pay cut for a job that gives them meaningful work.4 Manufacturing jobs might not feel like they carry as much weight as an emergency room doctor saving lives, but that’s simply not true. The team working the line or manufacturing floor in your factory is vital to manufacturing and providing products that make their way into homes across the country. That carries great meaning. Be sure your employees know that.

5. Be Flexible

Supporting work-life balance through health and wellness programs is crucial to retaining talent and improving company culture. So be flexible where you can. If your team works mostly shift schedules, offering flex time might not work as well for you as it can for other companies. Still, look for ways you can provide a flexible environment. That might mean unlimited vacation, letting employees adjust their shift to make it to doctor appointments, or just encouraging regular breaks.

Being flexible prevents burnout and pays off in the long run. According to a survey by FlexJobs, 81% of respondents said they would be more loyal to their employer if they had flexible work options.5

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6. Recognize Your Team

There are a ton of ways to recognize and appreciate your team! Your company can go as big as doing annual awards, or as simple as encouraging peer-to-peer employee recognition, through a point system. Whatever you choose to do, make sure appreciating your team becomes part of your company culture. When team members see that showing gratitude toward co-workers is not only appreciated but expected, they’ll work harder to continue keeping up the tradition.

7. Grow Industry Leaders

Like it or not, a bad boss or a good boss can have a huge impact on worker health, the company and positive workplace culture, and on employee morale. And if you’re looking to improve company culture, be sure to see what you can do to improve your team leads and managers first. Invest in your leaders and grow them to be more than just people managers alone. Make sure your leaders support the growth of every team member.

8. Boost Team Morale

Look for moments to surprise and delight your team. Here’s where that breakroom birthday cake comes in again. You can absolutely do kind and thoughtful gestures like that—in fact, you should since it boosts team morale. But be sure you don’t rely on cake alone to create a positive company culture. It takes a lot more than that (although you can never go wrong with food). Schedule time to take part in happy hours, trivia games, and team outings to help boost the mood.

9. Value Your Manufacturing employees

People matter. Your team is the backbone of your company and if you want to improve your company culture, start by making sure your team knows you value them. Teach your managers to become the biggest cheerleaders of your team. Managers should coach team members toward growth and development, but also show appreciation of their talent and their hard work. If your employee is doing a good job—tell them, and tell them often!

10. Give Feedback and Welcome Feedback

Here’s the thing about feedback—everyone needs it. Employees need honest, open feedback to grow and improve, just like your company does. The only problem is, some employees might feel like they can’t be open and honest when the company asks for feedback. Surveys are an awesome way to let your team anonymously rate and comment on what’s happening around them. Just having this option for open employee feedback can go a long way to improve workplace culture and your company culture.

Find Out How Your Manufacturing Culture is Doing

Want to get a pulse on what your team thinks about your company culture? Send out a survey powered by TeamSense’s text technology. Once you get back the information, be sure to look for common themes that stand out, like “poor work-life balance” or “negative work environment.” Your employees are the keepers of your company culture and can give you great insight into what is actually going on with team building.

Improving company culture might sound like a lot of work, and well, that’s because it is. Cultivating an amazing culture doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time and intentionality. But guess what? Spending time investing in the improvement of your company culture is never a bad thing. It is worth the investment.

How

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