Most of our clients are manufacturers, printers, and other highly productive companies. They’re focused on efficiency and safety, hitting their metrics with little downtime, and we’re proud to be a part of that. But recent research suggests that there’s one more metric hardworking companies should be paying attention to: happy workers.
Call it engagement
Colette famously said, “Who said you should be happy? Do your work.” That attitude doesn’t sit well with modern workers. Employees today expect satisfying, meaningful work, not to mention positive work-life balance, and many of them are willing to quit — or at least quiet-quit — if they can’t get it.
Yet research from Gartner reports that just 31% of American workers are engaged in their jobs.
Here’s how Gartner defines “engaged”:
- Employees feeling energized.
- Employees finding purpose in their work.
- Employees feeling empowered to do valuable work.
If you’re thinking that it sounds nice but not essential, keep in mind that Gartner found in a 2023 study that feeling engaged led employees to be more productive, more likely to stay with a company, and more likely to make extra efforts. Other research, including a study from Oxford University, quantified this: happy workers are 13% more productive.
What makes workers happy?
Flexibility is one thing that makes workers happier. That could be flexibility in where or when you work — but usually not in a factory. For manufacturers, flexibility is still achievable, but it may have to be in the form of choosing preferred tasks or workmates, not choosing a particular schedule of choosing to work from home.
Other factors include a sense of community, positive human interactions, and fun. These seem like obvious improvements in a tough work environment, but they can be hard to accomplish or even identify. Gathering together in the morning for a rousing cheer with the company name is su[pposed to make people feel like they’re part of a team, but can actually be a hated forced tradition.
Think instead of respect for your workers, ethical and transparent decision making, and working hard alongside your team. These actions can make the biggest difference.
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