How can you keep your production line workers safe and happy while also making sure they maximize productivity during every hour on the job? A few simple moves can help you keep things running at top speed without increasing the risk of injuries, mistakes, or turnover.
Keep these in mind as you look for ways to optimize your performance as a manager or supervisor.
Praise and Reward
Praise and reward the employees who you hope to position as role models in the eyes of others. Never underestimate the power of peer influence, and respect the fact that as much as your employees want to impress you and stay in your good graces, most of them (like all of us) pursue the good graces of their peers even more. If you have someone on your team who’s always in a good mood, who shrugs off minor hassles like boredom, repetition, or mild discomfort, who’s kind to others and lends a hand when needed, who’s encouraging, who’s indefatigable, friendly, energetic, and simply makes “work” feel fun and purposeful, make sure that person recognizes her enormous contributions to the company.
Establish Meaningful Incentives
It might seem economical, from the company’s perspective, to offer cheap, easy incentives for performance like half-price coupons at a local ice cream shop or five minutes added to a ten-minute break. But most of your employees are adults with complex and demanding lives, and as much as they might like half-price ice cream treats, they value two things above all others: time and money. Provide meaningful bonuses and raises that can help them pay their bills, and provide meaningful time off, which means full days of no-strings-attached PTO.
Allow Small Concessions
If your employees would like a new couch in the break room, control over the radio that plays while they work the line, or some other small thing that costs you very little but helps them relax and focus as they work, don’t resist. Even a show of mild resistance can send the wrong message. Don’t let your employees get the idea that your feel entitled to things they own, including their time, money, comfort, or attention. Negotiating too hard, or haggling over small concessions can imply that you and your employees are adversaries, both of you in the game to gain as much as possible at the expense of the other. This is not a winning proposition for the company in the long run; employees can always find other jobs, but you can’t easily replace high-performing employees.
For more on how to frame your employee relationships and shape your company culture to maximize productivity, talk to the experts at PSU.