Tips for a Happy Warehouse or Factory
On the surface the word ‘happy’ might seem a little airy fairy to associate with the booming world of business and profits. But beneath its shiny, smiling surface the word ‘happy’ offers all kinds of positive corporate connotations and permutations: better production, better safety, and better attendance. Happy workers work harder because they appreciate their workplace and want to contribute. Happy workers have fewer accidents because they’re more focussed. And happy workers are far less likely to throw ‘sickies’ or, worse, leave. On the contrary, investing in worker happiness is an investment in a long term, stable workforce.
So what can you do to get some of that ‘happy’ vibe permeating every square metre of your site? Here are a few tips.
Keep your situations occupied
Any ‘situation vacant’ is opening the door to unrest, unease and drops in productivity. Any new person starting the uncomfortable journey that is merging into an existing culture takes time to bed down, so to speak. Inevitably areas humming along just fine will slow down or stall completely while your new person gets up to speed. So make it as hard as you can for anyone to leave. Create a culture people want to work in and stay in. It’s much easier to retain people than to keep retraining new ones.
Praise the laud
In other words praise those who praise others. Make it company policy to promote an environment intent on spotting good work, not ratting on bad. Create an atmosphere where workers who excel know their achievements won’t go unnoticed. Make it every manager’s job to spot good work and praise it publicly.
Sell the sizzle, not the sausage
A job description describes the nuts and bolts of a role. A job journey describes the milestones that turn that job into a career with a clear path and plenty to look forward to. Even if your worker is doing a repetitive, supposedly menial process on a production line, explain why their role is important to the company. Show them the end product, who buys it and why. Tell them things they wouldn’t normally hear about growth and enjoyment and work culture. Make them feel included, confided in; make them feel that their job path could take them places if they do a great job and show potential.
Manage from the floor
Private offices are great places to do paperwork, answer phone calls and conduct meetings. They’re also great places to lose touch with your enterprise if you set anchor in them. The best way to see how your business is going is to go and see how your business is running. That means getting in amongst it on the warehouse or factory floor, talking to the process workers, packers, drivers, assemblers, and anyone else you can find. It means mucking in with the office workers and asking them where things are going right and wrong. Encourage honesty and keep the praise coming whenever someone has gone even slightly beyond the call of duty.