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Many organizations measure employee satisfaction through surveys. One client realized they had a problem when they saw the results. The scores on their most recent employee survey came in and one of the questions had a very low score. This was a question about whether employees felt that management cared about them. To better understand the reason for the low score they asked a focus group of employees to provide their insights. The answer was simple. When managers came out on the shop floor to solve a problem, they tended to head right back into the office without acknowledging or talking to any of the employees.
Here are three tips to help improve employee perceptions that management cares about them.
#1 The Five-and-Ten Rule
Apply the five-and-ten rule. Anyone within 5 feet of you on the shop floor deserves a greeting and everyone within 10 feet deserves an acknowledgement, perhaps a nod or a wave. Applying this simple rule increased employee morale and the results on their next employee survey. This practice originated in the hospitality industry. In a hotel, when passing a guest, the staff are trained to say good morning and ask how they are doing.
#2 Timely Acknowledgement
One of the sources of frustration for team members is when their issues and concerns aren’t heard, acknowledged, addressed or resolved. With managers being so busy, it’s easy to take too long to get back to employees and that builds resentment. It can even lead to a union drive. Managers need to understand employee concerns and frustrations, ensure they are surfaced by the supervisors and that answers get back to the employees in a timely manner.
#3 Keeping Team Members in the Loop
Most organizations have rumours and gossip about who’s getting transferred where, whether there will be overtime on Saturday or if business is picking up or slowing down.Managers need to keep communication flowing in multiple ways. First, supervisors need to communicate the latest news and information to their teams. Secondly, managers need to be visible to the employees and have conversations one-on-one and in small groups. Finally, the manager can conduct a town hall meeting to cover important information. We helped one of our clients by creating a briefing sheet so that all the managers and supervisors would deliver the same information consistently. It had an immediate impact on employee perceptions that management communicated effectively.
Another example came from a factory supervisor on the shop floor. In the morning production meeting they talked about an important new customer and how it was essential to focus on quality and getting the order out on time. One supervisor went down to his work group and told them about the new order and the importance of focusing on quality and on-time delivery. Other supervisors in the same meeting did not bother communicating any of that information to their team. That’s a missed opportunity. Creating an environment where employees feel that management cares about them is fairly straightforward but it does take time and effort, and is essential even when the manager has a busy agenda. Creating a positive work environment yields better safety, increased operating results and reduced turnover. It’s important that employees feel that management cares about them and a few simple actions can make a big difference.
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