How to conduct employee engagement activity in the manufacturing industry?
From India , Vijayawada
Dear V Srinu Babu,

When you say "employee engagement", what activities are in your mind and what will be the budget for those activities? You could have explained it.

As far as India is concerned, employee engagement is restricted to conducting a few short-duration games at the workplace. However, research is not available that shows:

a) Whether the employee engagement activities improved employee productivity?
b) Whether the employee engagement activities reduced employee attrition?
c) Whether the employee engagement activities reduced absenteeism?
d) Whether the employee engagement activities improved customer satisfaction?
e) Whether the employee engagement activities fostered innovative ideas at the workplace?
f) What is the ROI on the employee engagement activities? Who measured it and how was it measured?

Without this research, the games and engagement activities are conducted with the assumption that these work well. Occasionally, it is just the fancy of HR professionals.

Notwithstanding the above, it does not mean that the employees should not be engaged. Yes, they should have intellectual and emotional affiliation with the company. However, conducting workplace games is easy in the IT/BPO industry. Their nature of work is flexible. But then this is not the case with the manufacturing sector. It is not possible to stop the assembly line and spend time in the engagement activities. The line-stoppage cost is too high. Going further, the manufacturing is done across the world, and Japanese companies are known to produce 100% defect-free products? Do they conduct any engagement activities? Of course not!

Nevertheless, you may make efforts to improve the interpersonal environment in the company. Talk to your management and identify means to create a culture of respect. The second thing that can be done is to plan the career of the employees. A career plan for the employees is the No 1 motivating factor for the employees. Thirdly, you may arrange productivity improvement training programmes. If you do this, it will go a long way!

All the best!

Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore

Let us not confuse employee engagement with a few sporadic games or other activities with or without an external resource person. Such activities may produce some +ve results immediately but a sustained impact will come when the management philosophy is seen as employee-friendly, both in precept and practice. The HR approach in the manufacturing sector has to be particularly employee-centric and this would make a lot of difference.
From India, Mumbai

Employee engagement is a very broader term. Is need not be any activity or gaming activity. Anything which engages personnel in whatever they are doing is an engagement activity.
The methodology may change but the principle shall remain the same.

Amol Nakve

From India, Mumbai
The above discussion stirred my curiosity and I wanted to check if Japanese companies employed any engagement activities. I found the info at very surprising.
From United Kingdom
Dear colleague,

I would like to share my views on Employee engagement':

* HR need to understand clearly what it means and why, how and when it brings value to the organisation.

* This embraces all activities and approaches an employer chooses to make an employee feel emotionally attached to his job, company's products and goals .

* The activities that are chosen to be undertaken must be grounded in specific felt needs and customized around them. Just lifting anything from some other organisation where it has worked successfully, and planting it won't yield desirable results. No cookie- cutter approach in the choice of activities is advised.

* Generally, it is believed that the employee engagement means some activities like picnics, get-togethers and playing games etc which certainly have ' feel good' impact but does not last long.

* The activities which have high degree of successs focus on :
- Encourage free flow of upward and downward communication.
- Keeping employees informed about Company's performance.
-Providing regular feedback
- Making employees feel valued and respected
- Making them feel their ideas are heard and understood
-Making their work meaningful, appreciated and backed by their supervisor.
- Making them feel responsible for company's success.

HR 's imagination need to work overtime in devising activities centered around achieving above which are dynamic, focused on felt need and innovative. One should avoid temptations of ready made approach but inject ever new tailor made activities aimed at creating engaged employees who show high level of enthusiasm and dedication and are seen to be super productive, high performing and identify with Company's success .

Such engaged employees will then consistently speak positively about the employer to coworkers, customers, job candidates and everyone. They will display strong desire to stay with the organisation through thick and thin and despite having other opportunities.


Vinayak Nagarkar
HR and Employee Relations Consultant

From India, Mumbai

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