Due to the current political climate including Brexit negotiations, 1 in 5 UK manufacturing jobs could be at risk, with layoffs expected to occur across the board, according to a recent industry study.
Brexit is less than a year away and as a result, manufacturers in the UK are already experiencing a loss of contracts, at around 11%. Manufacturing companies have also noted that they will need to increase prices in order to offset the foreign currency costs or pass costs onto their customers which could result in a loss of business.
The knock-on effect is a reduced quality of workplace culture and morale, due to the expected loss of jobs and an uncertain economy. As a result, leaders in the manufacturing industry will have to ensure that they are able to improve and maintain workplace culture to stay afloat in terms of talent and productivity.
Communication is key to preserving or building a healthy workplace culture. Information always needs to be properly disseminated as it allows the workforce to understand how and why a company follows a certain process.
Open and honest conversations about company processes can improve the performance of a business. These should occur between management and employees but also involving customers, to ensure that they are able to absorb and utilise this information to make positive improvements across the board.
Due to the current political climate in the UK, managers need to ensure that they communicate any and all changes to the workforce, to reduce the risk of hearsay and the resulting negative effects on morale that this can have.
Opportunities to take responsibility
Workplace leaders should aim to inspire employees within the manufacturing industry to want to progress and take responsibility for their work. Offering up some control of the workflow can improve employee morale and by removing a prescriptive approach to management, a business will likely see more natural leaders rise.
Through this, the company can determine who is the best fit for leadership positions in the future whilst also building a culture of trust. This way of working also allows employees to find ways to improve manufacturing processes and demonstrate their capabilities, which can result in improved performance for the business or their department.
The best managers will work alongside employees to demonstrate how they can be accountable for their work. This, when undertaken effectively, can result in a higher engagement from employees. It also offers the opportunity to highlight underperforming employees allowing for management structures to be reassessed to ensure that they are most effectively lending themselves to performance accountability.
Within manufacturing, taking accountability for actions is important to ensuring quality control and consistency within the product creation. Without this, customers and clients can lose faith in the product due to errors, which in turn can lead them to search for an alternative supplier.
Ensuring that your employees feel valued, is the key to creating a hard-working and productive workplace. This isn't always easy for leaders to implement, however, the ability to make every employee feel like they matter can result in a better understanding of how they fit into the company structure and improve the feeling of security.
It is also important to communicate customer or client feedback to employees, in order to support them in understanding how the product or service fits into their lives and the overarching responsibility they have in this important process. With the manufacturing industry relatively uncertain due to Brexit, it is absolutely critical that managers follow these steps to reduce the risk of poor morale affecting productivity.
Availability and engagement
Finally, its important for managers to be engaged and available to their employees. When leaders are not available to their employees, it instantly puts a barrier between them. This results in reduced engagement within employees who are less likely to approach their managers when problems or concerns arise. An approachable manager is also more likely to be open to receiving feedback which can ultimately result in improvements which can be made to the structure and processes within the business and improve employee satisfaction.