Workforce Buy-In: The Key to Sustaining Results

As a Tennessee manufacturer, we know your major priorities include increasing sales to profitably grow your business; and improving efficiencies to reduce costs.

As you know, there are a number of ways to achieve these objectives.  These include developing new products or improving existing products, adopting new technologies that take your production to a new level, developing projects to generate more leads, diversifying your market or implementing new initiatives to become more lean.

Workforce Buy-InAlthough there are different avenues you can pursue to increase sales and reduce costs, they all have one common trait:  your workforce plays a critical role in the success of any company improvement initiative. In an earlier blog post, we highlighted three key ways to fortify your workforce. Ensuring employee buy-in on projects was one of the things we discussed. Employee buy-in is about more than employment engagement – it’s about ensuring sustainability on improvement projects, starting with initial ideation and planning, and working through implementation and evaluation.

When you make changes to become more efficient or grow, it’s critical that your team understands and embraces the importance of those changes. It’s also critical that employees have buy-in from the beginning of your planned improvements. Manufacturers sometimes overlook this step because they don’t want to interrupt productivity. Management may think something along the lines of, “Building a new production line won’t impact person x for a while. I’ll prep person x at a later time so I don’t interrupt his/her productivity right at this moment.

While this thought process is understandable, it’s important to secure employee buy-in on projects early on. Without buy-in, employees don’t fully understand why it’s so important to improve and they may not see the value in changing. This has a “trickle down” effect – down the line when it’s their turn to become a part of the change process, they don’t have the motivation to carry out your plans. They may participate in making improvements because of their assignments, but they may not necessarily fully embrace the projects. This decreases your chances of sustaining results.

If you are planning on making changes to help your company grow this year, there are a number of tools that are especially effective in communicating and expediting organizational change.  One communication methodology called the ADKAR Model,   gives a guide to managers that are looking to bolster employee buy-in.  It consists of the five steps:

  • Awareness – Highlight the issue to convey to your workforce what needs to change. Give them an understanding of why plans are being made.
  • Desire – Give your staff motivation. Make a connection between the improvement initiatives and their jobs.
  • Knowledge – Train your staff on how to make the improvements. This is usually done through the help of professional consultants.
  • Ability – Guide your employees through the changes and assess their actions (and rectify any issues).
  • Reinforcement – Give consistent feedback and signs about the importance of improving.

This year is a pivotal time for Tennessee’s manufacturers. American manufacturing is becoming increasingly stronger, so now is the time to implement initiatives to improve efficiencies and grow sales. Your workforce will play a key role in helping you accomplish your goals. The professionals you enlist to guide your company to growth should understand this. If you would like more information on how to make 2013 an incredible year for your company, click here to see how our Solutions can help you grow and succeed.

Image by Automobile Mag

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About madeintennessee

The goal of the Made in Tennessee Program is to support the Volunteer State’s manufacturing community by raising awareness of their products and providing resources. Join the group to receive updates on the Manufacturing Industry in Tenness ee, as well as news articles, topics of interest and tips for business profitability.
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