September 1, 2022

How To Increase Productivity & Profits With Company Culture

by Mike O'Neill

If you’re confused about why you’re constantly understaffed – you’ve come to the right place. Perhaps you’re frustrated with your production output . Or maybe you’re wondering if it’s just you or if everyone is feeling the squeeze on finding the right people. Trust me – I’ve been there.

I can assure you, it’s not just you, and you’re not alone. Manufacturing companies everywhere are having the same challenges. Few, however, are actually getting at the root of the problem with the right plan of attack. 

Before you waste another meeting spitballing ideas on lowering costs, restructuring resources, or loosening standards, start by taking stock of your company culture. If you aren’t sure about the quality of the culture you have, that’s a surefire indicator that you could probably use some improvement.  

If boosting productivity and profits are at the top of your list, stick around because I’m sharing four practical approaches your company can use right now that will improve company culture and get the results you want. 

Company Culture Is the Basis for Productivity & Profit 

A company that supports its employees first, reaps the benefits. Remember, your growth is tied to your team's output. If employees aren’t supported and don’t feel included, helping you succeed is probably low on their list. As a result, your company won’t grow at the pace you’d hoped. 

Instead, focus on the transformation of a positive and growth-centered company culture to:

  • Attract more of the right type of employees.
  • Help your employees be productive with their time.
  • Reduce your turnover costs and improve profits.
  • Empower employees to find more solutions themselves.

The tactics I’m going to share are practical for anyone. Keep in mind that putting company culture first doesn’t typically jive with traditional wisdom, and you might get some strange looks in the boardroom. In the 40 years I’ve worked with manufacturing companies, the traditional approach is throwing every strategy in the book at a problem, no matter the specifics. No more!

You can have whole files full of the best leadership strategies for increasing productivity and boosting profits, but “culture will eat strategy for breakfast” every. single. time. The secret is to invest in what matters most - your employees. 

1. Promote Company Culture To Attract Top Talent 

“Top Talent” are employees you don’t just let pass you by. They have the expertise, experience, and passion that make a significant impact in literally any role that you put them in — and your company culture can help you seal the deal IF it’s attractive. 

Have you ever heard the phrase, “a rising tide lifts all boats”?

Top talent are the high performers because they’re the ones that consistently exceed expectations in the roles they’re given, AND they make it a priority to lift other people up with them. Given the opportunity and the proper support, they will become your natural leaders that will help drive growth from within the company.

You can leverage your company culture to attract top talent by:

  • Using social media to reflect your company's mission, values, and culture - increase engagement with clients and promote openings by showcasing your company.
  • Paying attention to the accuracy of online reviews from both clients AND employees - it’s clients that pay the bills, but without top talent, you’ll still struggle to grow.
  • Encouraging employees to leave reviews on sites like Glassdoor or Indeed to provide transparency about their experience (if this terrifies you, we should talk.)
  • Taking a hard look at your job descriptions, including detailed and realistic descriptions - provide details that people want to know before they apply, like salary range

2. Increase Employee Engagement To Boost Productivity

Employee engagement can be as simple as measuring how motivated your employees are to:

  1. Do their job each day.
  2. Help your company grow.

When employees are active within a positive company culture,  they have a much higher sense of value in themselves and what they’re capable of — affirmation fuels their drive and productivity. Engaged employees come to work because they want to be there. For them, there is not only monetary value but also intrinsic benefits with their employment.  As a result, employees that are a part of a positive company culture are less likely to miss work, take unnecessary sick time, or extend breaks to longer than scheduled. 

You can quickly increase engagement by:

  • Giving your employees a chance to be heard by management with an open-door policy. 
  • Creating opportunities for communication between employees in a safe environment.  
  • Have your managers do regular one-on-one check-ins with their direct reports weekly or bi-weekly.
  • Above all, make sure you’re actually listening and taking action when necessary - words matter, but your actions are what shape the culture. They need to know you’re listening and you care.

3. Increase Job Satisfaction and Retention To Boost Profits

A good company culture will increase job satisfaction, reduce turnover, and positively impact your bottom line profits.

If employees aren’t happy, they leave. You take a financial loss every time someone leaves and you have to find and train a replacement. That’s why the percentage of employees that leave within their first 90 days and first year are great numbers to keep a close eye on.

You work hard to find, hire, and train each new employee, and it’s better for everyone if you can keep them. Plus, if too many people leave too quickly, it strains the rest of your team and decreases morale all the way around.

You can measure and increase job satisfaction by:

  • Conducting an employee survey to see how everyone currently feels about their job and the work environment. 
  • Repeating your employee survey regularly to keep a pulse on what’s working and what isn’t as you make improvements.
  • Communicating to employees how their work directly (or indirectly) impacts the company’s goals and mission. They’re less likely to consider other opportunities if they know they’re needed.
  • Let employees know that they are seen, heard, and appreciated. It’s easy to have a conversation when things are going wrong, so you have to be intentional and make time to tell them when things are going right as well.

4. Drive Company-Wide Innovation to Boost Profits

Company-wide innovation is sort of like crowd-sourcing good ideas. You’re allowing your employees to think of and share ideas that can help improve your company.

Your employees are in the trenches of your company every day, and they are on the floor running the machines, talking to customers, and talking to each other.

They naturally see problems and want to find solutions, and they need to feel safe coming to you with suggestions.

You can encourage your employees to create and share their ideas by:

  • Creating an environment where it’s safe to fail. Trying new things won’t always work, and they need to know that it’s ok if things don’t go right the first time.
  • Hosting “idea roundtables” where you create an open forum for suggestions. You should do this regularly to keep new ideas flowing.
  • Involving them when a problem arises or you see a dip in productivity and asking what they suggest could be done to improve it.
  • Bringing in an outside consultant to help facilitate these meetings makes them more comfortable sharing ideas that they’d otherwise might be too nervous about bringing up to their supervisors.

If you have any questions, drop a comment below, and I’m happy to help get you pointed in the right direction.

MANUFACTURING

SUCCESS

How to Make Your People, Processes, and Planning Systems So Strong Your Growth is Inevitable

The only playbook you need to create a game plan for your growing company to achieve high profits, morale, and productivity in the manufacturing sector.

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