It’s been said that every generation sees the previous generation’s flaws. And the newest generation of workers is broadcasting their displeasure loud and clear.
Today’s young people are largely uninterested in pursuing money and power and approval from the boss if it means missing out on family life, putting their health at risk, or hating every minute of their extra-long work days.
The pendulum has swung. What is your shop doing to stay in sync?
Company Culture Has Changed, but It’s Not That Complicated
There are three ways every machine shop organization can shape and sustain the kind of company culture that wins and retains excellent workers:
- Know your people
- Appreciate your team
- Stay open-minded
Does that sound too easy? That’s because a healthy work environment doesn’t have to be all that complicated. Here’s what we mean:
1. Know your people
If you know your people, it won’t be that challenging to identify small changes that will make their work experience—and their lives—better. And if you don’t know your people, it’s time to change that!
One of our NTMA team members recalled a job he held earlier in his career. “The CEO knew the names of everyone who worked for him—hundreds of people! I remember how great it felt when he would walk through and say hello to everyone by name.”
Your shop may be small enough that knowing your employees by name is a no-brainer. But how well do they know each other?
Make sure you’re creating regular opportunities for everyone to interact. Something as simple as a monthly pancake breakfast in the shop can give your machine shop organization a chance to build camaraderie and trust, two factors that significantly impact how someone feels about coming to work every day.
2. Appreciate your team
Everyone needs—needs—to feel appreciated. Refusing to acknowledge that fact can cost you more money.
“If my boss had just taken the time to tell me I was doing a good job every now and then, I wouldn’t have cared about making more money,” said one machinist. “But I never felt appreciated, so I wanted more pay. Working where you don’t feel appreciated is stressful, and I wanted compensation for enduring that stress every day.”
Another manufacturing professional shared a much different anecdote about how his shop hosts an annual awards banquet to recognize employees for their tenure at the shop. “For one night every year, I get to feel as important as upper management!”
3. Stay open-minded
Sometimes, the biggest impact is even simpler than you’d imagine. When one CNC business was too strapped to offer pay increases, the owner sent out a survey that asked how else the team’s experience could be improved.
The result? The shop now staffs four 10-hour shifts instead of five 8-hour shifts—and the employees love the change! They spend less time commuting, less money on transportation, and enjoy an extra day off, all thanks to a simple scheduling revision.
Another machine shop organization incorporated a simple personality quiz into their onboarding process. While using personality assessments has been widely debunked for determining an individual’s skill level, many companies use them to better understand how an employee communicates and what motivates them.
Culture Thrives or Fails with the People You Hire
No matter how hard you work to know your people, appreciate your team, and consider ideas with an open mind, you’ll never create a culture strong enough to overcome a toxic employee.
During a recent Campfire Chat for our Emerging Leaders class, an NTMA member shop revealed that they’d once let go of their most experienced machinist. The employee’s inability to work well with colleagues had forged such an unhealthy shop environment that other employees were resigning simply to get away from him. The owner understood that he had to set a precedent that bad behavior would not be tolerated, regardless of an employee’s talent.
“I’d rather get paid a little less but love my job,” stated an employee. “But there isn’t enough money in the world to keep me coming back to a job where everyone is mean and miserable.”
Your company’s culture may not be able to make a toxic employee less toxic, but it can inspire the most valued team members to stay. And with the manufacturing industry facing an ongoing labor shortage, you need people whose presence adds value—to your customers, to your shop floor, and to the team you worked so hard to build.
Join NTMA and connect with like-minded manufacturers everywhere!