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Culture of Trust Leads to Employee Engagement

Posted By Jeff Moad, June 20, 2013 at 5:23 PM, in Category: The Adaptive Organization

As manufacturers attempt to move beyond incremental operational improvement and achieve transformational performance gains, many quickly realize that one constraint is less-than-engaged front line workers. Unengaged workers are typically uninterested in embracing change and may even undermine attempts at transformational change.

Unfortunately, a lot of front-line workers are apparently less than engaged today. According to a recent Gallup poll, 71% of workers aren’t fully engaged in their jobs.

Recently, the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s Operational Excellence Discussion Group addressed the issue of how to create a corporate culture of engaged front-line workers who embrace change. One key, said the manufacturing executives, is to enhance trust between front-line workers and their immediate supervisors. Supervisors who micro-manage and criticize workers for less-than-successful process innovations tend to breed workers who are unengaged and resistant to change. Supervisors who encourage decision-making by front line employees and encourage them to learn from mistakes, on the other hand, engender more trust and more employee engagement, these Council members say.

Sounds simple, but it can take years to change the behaviors of front-line supervisors and to start repeating the rewards of more engaged workers, these executive say.

What’s been your experience? How have you been able to improve the engagement of front-line employees?

Written by Jeff Moad

Jeff Moad is Research Director and Executive Editor with the Manufacturing Leadership Community. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program. Follow our LinkedIn Groups: Manufacturing Leadership Council and Manufacturing Leadership Summit


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