DREAM Workplace helps a building materials manufacturer measurably improve employee engagement.
We were asked by a major building materials manufacturer to assist the plant manager of one of their largest production facilities in resolving a Sarbanes–Oxley hotline complaint. While the hotline complaint turned out to be baseless and somewhat frivolous, the issue did highlight significantly low morale and poor employee engagement.
Jack, the plant manager was a very intelligent quick-thinking engineer who frequently exhibited his impatience with anyone who failed to think with the same lightning-speed or arrive at the same superior conclusions as he did. While we knew Jack was a good guy, it was clear that he was constantly coming across to his team as condescending and nearly impossible to please. Jack’s plant superintendent referred to his people skills as diabolical.
Jack’s direct reports exhibited some degree of this same behavior toward the front-line employees whose efforts directly influenced the success or failure of the plant. These employees frequently felt disrespected, unappreciated, and were highly dissatisfied with things at work in general. We conducted an employee engagement survey and found a large percentage of the work force was disengaged or highly disengaged. This was the driving factor influencing the Sarbanes-Oxley complaint.
We began by training the leadership and supervisory staff in the principles of employee engagement and pointing out specific actions which could be taken to influence higher engagement. We encouraged supervisors to invite suggestions for improvement and to act upon the best ideas immediately. Additionally, employees responded enthusiastically to supervisors’ suggestions regarding taking on additional responsibilities, cross-training, and learning more about different jobs within the facility.
We also met with groups of employees. We explained the importance of being fair to leaders within the facility by giving them opportunity to resolve issues at the lowest level possible before escalating complaints higher up through company’s executive ranks or beyond to government hotlines. As a result, within five months engagement scores had measurably improved.