Motivation, Workplace

What can I do to keep my team together?

These days, manufacturing job candidates’ offer is not enough for the demand. Lose experience is critical for the plant operation. The continuous improvement journey is affected as well. Many experienced employees started to retire, which makes retention more important than ever. Whatever happened during their first ninety days can determine how long they stay. What we have to do to keep our team minds away from thinking about getting a new job? A good pay rate and benefits are important but they are not everything.

Employees are looking for a workplace where they are treated with respect, where their ideas and needs matter. A place where they have the tools they need to do their work without safety issues or hassles.

Many new hires are millennials. What are they looking for in their workplace? They want to have a meaningful job, a place where they can make a difference. They also want to grow, learn and feel other people care about them. Millennials want to have a peer, mentor, or somebody who helps and advice not just train them. They are looking for companies that commit to their development the same way they will commit to the company.

What is common to everybody is the need to feel good, respected and that their leaders care about them. People appreciate working in a positive environment where they feel trusted and listened to. They want to feel the trust to talk about what affects their work performance.

This trust does not appear out of the blue, it is built over time. When somebody from the team is struggling, let’s remember them that all of us have bad times. Encourage them to overcome those issues, do not try to diminish them. Listened and let them the chance to vent. Treat employees like people, not a commodity.

Training during onboarding is a great chance to start showing that you care. For some high skill, critical positions it is easy for new hires to feel overwhelmed. There is too much to learn in a short period. High levels of stress can hurt performance. This is a perfect time to encourage communication. Reassure them to ask not just about procedures and policies but about how they feel as human beings.

The supervisor has the burden of making the employee feels appreciated, but the manager plays an important role. A small chat with new employees to say hello and welcome them to the team is enough to establish a relationship. Do not stop there, during the next couple of days or weeks talk with them again. This time ask how they feel, and what they need. Clarify what the job priorities are. It is important to clarify that nobody expects them to know everything. Encourage them to make questions, and clarify doubts.

Onboarding is not the only time for this kind of conversation. You already build the foundation for a respectful relationship with your employees. A relationship based on trust, do not stop listening or caring about their needs or concerns. Stopping will means the end of it.

There is no guarantee that this will incline the scale towards a stay in the company vs. leaving. But, it will help to keep them on the job rather than leaving. Do you want to keep your team together? Start by listening and being sensitive to their needs.


Is your job making you sick?

Unless you won the big lottery prize or are insanely millionaire, you have to go to work every day.  A few people are lucky and have a job that they love.  My grandpa uses to say, make a living doing something you love and then you don’t have to work the rest of your life.  Easier said than done!

Most people have an ok job, they don’t love it but they are content with it, good salary, not a big hassle, stable.  There are others that wish every day to have a different job.  If they don’t like it, then what keeps them from walking out?  Most of the time, their responsibilities like family and/or debts convinced them to keep going.

When the daily struggle is so bad that you feel you hate your job, most probably your health is suffering either from the lack of good rest or from complications from it.  Not enough sleep can cause headaches, migraine, weight gain, mood swings, irritability, tummy problems, poor vision, and others.  We all know that stress is a source of hypertension, depression, and anxiety.

As leaders, we are responsible for the well-being of our employees, not just to provide a safe workplace.  What are we doing wrong that people just hate to go to work every day?  That is a question you need to ask yourself, a deep analysis of our daily practices, how we treat our employees.  Are we supporting and helping them to be successful in their jobs?  Do we show respect?  Do we care to listen to their concerns and treat them as human beings and not just commodities?

Every day when you wake up, your first thought should not be “I don’t want to go to work”.   If it is, maybe you have to try harder to get out of there because you are letting yourself to be trapped in a toxic situation that is making you sick.

Training Program

Why a job description is important?

Whenever you are evaluating if you are a good fit for that position posted on the bulletin board or you have been promoted, the job description is your best ally to learn the primary functions of the job, required qualifications including physical, work conditions and relationship with other positions.  This document plays an important role in your onboarding process and provides the basis for future performance appraisals.

If you are the hiring manager, the job description (JD) will be a great tool to communicate all the critical information regarding the position.  Clear and complete information detailing the responsibilities and expectations of the job are very important to minimize or eliminate confusion and the feeling of not knowing the expectations.  A  JD is also a legal document, you want a well written JD to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) or in case an employee files a lawsuit.

To ensure the job description is aligned with the company goals and culture, I like to incorporate it into the training program, being the spine of the training program design.  In a continuous improvement or lean culture, the job description includes the skills and requirements to support the activities associated with it.  Every task needs to be covered during training, this is a good way to ensure the onboarding is successful and show respect by establishing a good foundation for the employee’s success.  Nothing better for a good employee-employer relationship than to start with a well-designed training created with the employee on the mind.

Continuous Improvement, Motivation

To lead your team so they can led you

It happens time after time, I feel down and our employees cheer me up!

As leaders, we are responsible for the lives of our employees but yet many of us don’t understand that important piece of our job.  When I started to work as a team leader, my father told me a couple of rules that he always followed himself.  His first rule was to always respect the people, never ask them to do something you are not willing to do yourself.  The second rule was to never forget that you are responsible for them, their security, their learning, and their success.

Over the years I kept these rules as my north, nothing like practice to learn day by day how to be a better leader.  Through the years I learned that employees look up to their supervisors until they don’t.  When the supervisor shows no respect or care, people stop respecting them and after that their commitment and motivation are gone too.

I make a conscious effort every day to respect. lead, motivate, develop, recognize the good, teach the right way and never get complacent using continuous improvement as the road map to success.  Some days are better than others, but something of this is working because I have seen many of my employees to grow up to become great leaders.  I can tell the difference between employees that enjoy their jobs and those who do not.  When you find those employees on your way, their passion and attitude towards their work cheer you up.

Our job as leaders is to exercise our responsibility and keep working to positively affect the lives of our employees.  Motivation, positivism, and commitment are contagious, let’s spread it!