Changing the culture in a manufacturing setting.

tannersoldittannersoldit Posts: 1subscriber
This goes under the category of training and management.  Here`s some background:
My client, a $15M/100+ employee mfg company, wants to change the current culture, one of low employee morale and management distrust, to a customer focused environment. 
My initial research exposed serious communication voids, morale concerns regarding equality/favoritism, evaluations/raises (or not), and threatening discipline policies. 
To date, we have addressed the discipline issue with a much less harsh and flexible attendance program.  Morale improved almost immediately.  Interestingly, the employees have embraced the idea of a positive change, but the company continues to shoot itself in the foot with unexplained or justified bonuses, and favoritism.
The Issue: Connecting them and their work to the customer.  What points should be made; what teaching methods would best illustrate the point; and how would it be reinforced?
The production staff is comprised of well-intentioned hardworking individuals with a HS or less education. Some are on public aid, some are ex-cons.  Work is repetitive and not something most of us would look forward to doing everyday.
Keep in mind that I have a plan, but ownership limits my meeting time to one 1-hour orientation meeting in each department and the rest is up to the managers and lead staff.
Any thoughts?
Ron

Comments

  • DesignCaddyDesignCaddy Posts: 3subscriber

    To date, we have addressed the discipline issue with a much less harsh and flexible attendance program.  Morale improved almost immediately.  Interestingly, the employees have embraced the idea of a positive change, but the company continues to shoot itself in the foot with unexplained or justified bonuses, and favoritism.
    The Issue: Connecting them and their work to the customer.  What points should be made; what teaching methods would best illustrate the point; and how would it be reinforced?

    To transform a disfunctional workgroup into a cohesive team takes some serious commitment by management.  Entire books are written on this subject by folks much smarter than I.  I`ll be happy to give you my two cents though.
    1)  First, and most importantly, make sure you have leaders occupying leadership positions.  If there are trust issues, they may be valid.  True leaders don`t turn on the team to avoid blame, meet a goal, or shift accountability.  If management positions are occupied by people that are not leaders, trust will not exist and the team will never function to its fullest potential.
    2)  Make sure that the connection between the efforts on the front line to the top level company goals is clearly communicated and communicated often.  Nobody should ever wonder how their job affects the success or failure of the company.   
    3)  Establish "Standards of Excellence".  Most people consider themselves to be excellent, but individual standards may vary.  When somebody does something truly excellent, management needs to communicate that the bar has been set.  Charles Schwab once walked into a manufacturing area, said nothing, wrote the production output of the shift in chalk on the floor, and walked out.  He set a standard of excellence.  Subsequent shifts responded by raising the bar until it could no longer be raised with the equipment, processes, and procedures that were in place.  Efficiency was maximized.    
    Good luck.... I would like to hear how this goes.
  • TOCExpertTOCExpert Posts: 3subscriber
    I find that employee morale is less of a problem that needs fixed, but more of a symptom of no clear management plan. If everyone in the company has their own goal, then the orginazation will be pulled apart from the inside out. The goal of a typical manager is to keep their jobs secure (to continue their standard of living), while the goal of the factory worker is to make more money (to improve their standard of living). While everyone will do the best job they can every day, their ultimate priorities are askew with the goal of the company - which is to make a profit. It is managements responsibility to every employee to communicate the goal and have a clear plan to achieve it. When everone is on the same page, morale and trust improve dramatically. It`s easier than it sounds. I would love to have longer, more boring (to most people) converstation with you on this topic if you would like. You can email me at [email protected]</A> if you are interested. Good luck with your project!
  • tannersoldittannersoldit Posts: 1subscriber

    To transform a disfunctional workgroup into a cohesive team takes some serious commitment by management.  Entire books are written on this subject by folks much smarter than I.  I`ll be happy to give you my two cents though.

    Thanks everyone, you are all right on.  Here`s the deal, I have built my training and implementation model around the advice and experience of 4 corporate culture experts.  I recommend Results Rule and Brand from the Inside. Unfortunately, I cannot control the ownership`s lack of commitment, nor his decision to redesign the model to fit his lack of commitment. (If I had only known this at the beginning, I wouldn`t have taken the project.)
    At this point, I am merely trying to provide the staff with some meaningful insight about improving their daily environment and work ethic.  The presentation is shaping up to merely explain what a company is; what it provides to the quality of our lives; why it needs customers; and how their work affects customer loyalty.
    The presentation will consist of 10 discussion questions supported by a PPT with photos illustrating situations that demonstrate poor product presentation and end-user performance vs. superior presentation and performance.  Essentially, I will show them how their job performance influences their customers, and their customer`s customer. (Now, there`s a mouthful.)
    My concern, is there a better way to prove this point?
    What do you think?
    Ron
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