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How to create an awesome manufacturing workplace

Jan. 1, 2020
Good guidance, clearly defined responsibilities, and a long-term mindset are necessities, according to Tom Moriarty.

Wouldn’t you love to hear people in your organization say that your company is an awesome place to work? If everyone in your company already says that, great; you can move on to read Doc Palmer’s or Sheila Kennedy’s excellent columns. But if you can’t say for certain that your team members feel they work in an awesome place, stick with this column.

About the Author: Tom Moriarty

It’s early in 2020 and the job market remains hot. That means it will continue to be challenging to attract and retain the best people. The simplest solution is to pay people more money, give everyone perks such as a new car every two years, excellent parking spots, or catered lunches every day. What? Your company can’t or won’t do that? I guess you need another plan.

In a hot job market, people will definitely leave for more money and better job situations. If your company doesn’t have deep pockets to entice people with better compensation and conditions, what can you do? You should assess your organization for the things you can do.

Whether you’re a work-center supervisor, a midlevel manager, a senior manager, or an executive, assess the segment of the organization for which you’re responsible. Here are my recommendations of things you should consider:

1.  Is there a policy on leadership? A policy should clearly define what each employee is accountable for. What are the roles and responsibilities with regard to leadership and leadership development?

2.  Do you have a good leadership development program? A leadership development program should be supported by the leadership policy. Conduct a Team Effectiveness and Motivation Survey (TEMS). Link the team leader with team members to identify gaps or areas where the leader can improve. The development program should include identifying the career goals of each person and creating experiences to help them get there.

3.  Is there good guidance (policies, plans, processes, procedures and measures)? People need to know what is expected of them and how they are doing relative to what is expected. Both positive feedback to confirm that they are doing the right things and corrective feedback so that they know what is not aligned with expectations is important. If guidance is not in place, start with high-level policies and then move to plans, core management processes, and procedures.

4.  Are assets that are required to carry out guidance identified and available? When policies, plans, processes and procedures are developed, leaders need to ensure their team members are provided with what they need to execute the guidance. Assets include people, software, tools, equipment, etc. Each required asset needs to be defined by type, quantity, quality and life cycle. Many leaders assume their team members have what they need to execute efficiently and effectively on new guidance when they actually don’t.

5.  Have you provided the right training to enable people to perform to expectations? Training must be sufficient to enable people to carry out guidance with available assets. We can’t convert behaviors into habits or expect people to be proficient when training is insufficient. “Cheaping out” on training costs a lot more in the long run.

6.  Are you, as a leader, spending enough time as a systems thinker and visionary? Leaders need to look down the road identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOTs). Strengths and weaknesses can be identified by looking internally. Opportunities and threats are external. Visionary leaders need to be observant of regulations, macroeconomic, supplier, customer trends and other changes that can affect their team. Have a proactive improvement process to identify SWOTs, assess them, get participation from team members to define and authorize solutions, and implement them properly.

If you’re not doing these things or want more information on to know how to do them, I recommend you get a copy of my book “The Productive Leadership System.” If you prefer, contact me to request a site visit.

With or without help, do your best to create the most awesome leadership environment to show respect to, attract, and retain the best employees.

Human Capital

This article is part of our monthly Human Capital column. Read more from Tom Moriarty.

About the Author

Tom Moriarty | P.E., CMRP, President of Alidade MER, Inc.

Tom Moriarty, P.E., CMRP is president of Alidade MER, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in asset management, reliability engineering, and leadership improvement. He is a member of SMRP (Florida Chapter Board Member and CED Director), a past Chair of ASME’s Canaveral Florida Section, and author of the book “The Productive Leadership System; Maximizing Organizational Reliability”. He has a BSME, an MBA (organizational development), is a licensed professional engineer (PE) in Florida, and a Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP). Contact him at [email protected], (321) 773-3356, or via LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/alidade-mer.

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