Most articles about employee appreciation focus on office workers, but as Kara Simon, general manager of 3Cheers Recognition & Rewards writes in “Tips For Increasing Productivity Through Employee Recognition & Rewards,” recognition is just as important for non-office workers. Take manufacturers, for example:
“When manufacturing operations get behind and deliverables don’t meet the schedule, it impacts every internal and external department from assembly line to warehouse to transportation, and so on.
[Tweet “Supply chains are only as good as the people in charge of keeping up with them.”]
“This means that it is just as important for manufacturers to keep equipment in great shape as it is for them to keep people in great shape by showing meaningful appreciation on a day-to-day basis. Many execs believe saying “thank you” is enough but the reality is that words only work when combined with a whole lot more.”
For manufacturers, that means intentionally appreciating employees — not just saying “Thank You.” According to Simon, many employers wrongfully separate grateful words and grateful actions.
“To truly drive behavior and reinforce performance, recognition requires more than a few nice words. In manufacturing, supervisors, managers, department heads, and team leaders need to connect the gratitude (saying thank you) with the purpose (driving behavior).”
Simon offers four ways to recognize and reward a non-office workforce:
- Make recognition personal.
With multiple generations in the workforce, a manufacturing staff is comprised of individuals with very distinct personalities, likes, and dislikes. Some may prefer recognition in private while others will be energized by limelight. Take time to ask your staff about their preferences and use that information to recognize them in a personal way.
- Link recognition with performance goals.
The key is to promote behavior that leads to better attitudes and improved performance. Therefore, every manager must know how to tie recognition with individual goals and company objectives. If safety is a corporate goal, be sure to reward individuals for avoiding accidents or coming up with a new system to prevent them.
- Celebrate team successes.
Recognition programs should be set up for both individuals and teams. While individual performance is important, the efforts of a team can deliver exponential results. When it is a group success, recognition needs to be public to let other staffers know their achievements do matter.
- Make work fun.
Creating social gatherings where employees can enjoy each other’s company and bond will help energize each workforce group and reinforce how their efforts are tied to a much bigger picture.
Above all, make rewards meaningful. Here’s how!
Consistent Employee Appreciation
Manufacturers need to embrace a culture of genuine, consistent, and repeated employee recognition, agrees John Mills, executive vice president of business development at Rideau Recognition Solutions, in “Six Steps Toward an Employee Recognition Program.”
“Indeed, to yield greater productivity, improve delivery times, increase retention, reduce absenteeism and have more committed employees, every manufacturer will need to embrace a culture of genuine, consistent, and repeated employee recognition,” he writes.
Commissions and Bonuses
In “What Types of Rewards Would Motivate Workers in an Organization?” Julie Davoren of Demand Media advises implementing commissions, spot bonuses, output bonuses or suggestion-incentive programs for employees such as those working on factory floors or ground sales teams.
Invite and Implement Suggestions
In “How to Motivate Production Workers,” Demand Media’s Kathryn Hatter reminds us that worker motivation goes beyond pay and benefits. In fact, she suggests involving employees in their own recognition system!
Inviting employees to submit suggestions and ideas, Hatter says, “empowers them and gives them a strong motivation to work harder.”
She advocates that employers incorporate, “as many ideas as you can to demonstrate how you value the innovations, ideas and experience of your production workers.”
In the end, employee appreciation for non-office workers isn’t so different from recognition for office workers. The logistics vary, but they’re equally critical to your bottom line, so make sure you’re doing both.
For an in-depth guide to building a vibrant, everyday culture of workplace gratitude, download our FREE eBook, “Transforming Your Workplace with Gratitude.” You’ll be amazed at how easy it is!
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