Continuous Improvement, Workplace

Do your work environment and company culture a match?

Recently I have a conversation with a former colleague regarding how well he fits into the culture of his current company, he loves his job. Unfortunately, that is not true for many people, they are not happy at work. The Gallup organization has reported that nearly 70% of employees are actively disengaged. Seventy percent of employees drag themselves to work every day, they work for the weekend and the check of course.
Have you heard the saying:  “People don’t leave companies. They leave bosses”.  I have seen this way too many times, managers and supervisors managing people just like commodities, not caring about human beings, only about the numbers.  This can happen regardless of the company culture.
Even if the company presented itself as people-centric if the leader’s behavior does not support the company values the employees will not feel the love. The company culture becomes then, a nice statement hanging on the wall. Top leaders behavior have to match company values, they have to show medium and entry-level leaders how is done. A very important part of the company culture is the work environment. For me, the work environment, how the employees are treated is the real culture. Let me present you, three examples.
On a meeting, the HR manager is all smiles and bubbly while explaining the Wellness Plan and activities for the year, a wonderful way to show how much the company cares about the employee’s health. Then, how is it possible that there are so many people overweight and with critical health conditions? If people do not have time to participate because they cannot refuse to work overtime, then we are not caring about their wellness.
We have an employee appreciation day, we want all employees to participate and bring their family because family is the most important thing but we have production that day. We cannot stop for a day, even not for a shift so that our people can enjoy and really feels how much we appreciate their job and sacrifices.
You cannot say that you value your employees when you allow managers to get away with making their employees miserable just because they hit their numbers.  If you value your employees, show respect and compassion, become a teacher for your team, develop them, do whatever is at your reach to improve their lives.  Doing anything else would be sending a message about what is important to you.
Now, what is the real culture? The nice words on the company values statement or the reality of how employees are treated day in and day out? I vote for the latter, unfortunately, that is what happens in many places, that is why there are so many bad bosses and that is why people are disengaged. Until we change these behaviors, there is no environment for a real lean manufacturing culture.
Lean Trainings

Are you still thinking that training is not important?

Not much time ago, I visited a packaging plant that used to be the best of all their company facilities.  The plant performance, from quality to on-time delivery, from safety to operating costs was excellent.  This was possible thanks to their workforce stability.  Most of the employees had more than 15 years of experience, very committed to the company and very knowledgeable of their procedures and policies.

One day for reasons out of their control, they lost almost 50% of their hourly team and was necessary to replace them with temporary employees.  The people coming, apparently with no reasons or desire to stay; walk out the door almost as fast as they come in.  The turnover rate grows exponentially from less than 1% to way more than 100%.  Why they leave?

Have you tried to assemble a piece of furniture? You start putting the thing together with great difficulty.  You scream you curse, you are really aggravated, frustrated.  The instructions provided may help or not; most probably every time you read them you become more frustrated.  Out of frustration, you want to quit and most probably you will and let somebody else deal with the problem.  Most probably, that is what happened on the plant I mentioned before.  There is no formal training program, new people come in and start working with some training, after several supervisors intervention for defects or downtime, frustrated employees walk out.

Everything starts with the hiring process, identifying the right candidates, people with values and beliefs that match those of the company.  If the candidate is not a match with these or the company culture, it will not stay long.  But even if the candidate is a match, no training, proper instructions and follow-up can frustrate the person up to a point where it feels neglected.

Training is highly important, especially during the first ninety days.  If things go wrong during the probation period, most probably it will not be any better later.  During this time, companies are also on probation, employees are also checking on how they are treated, how well they like the environment, how they feel being part of it.  Are we giving them any reason to stay or commit to the company?  What are we doing to attract and retain the best employees?  Are we doing anything to understand their needs?  If not, we better start soon, companies can gain or lose World-Class Employees during that time.