You might think of your neighborhood, family members, or those in your friend groups when you consider your community, but you’re also a part of another important community. It’s your workplace, and when you help foster a sense of togetherness with your co-workers, you build respect, value, and belonging. When you and your co-workers come together as a community, you support one another and create shared ownership of tasks — and success.
How can you, as a plant manager, inspire your co-workers and yourself to come together and reap these benefits? It’s as easy as a few simple steps and plenty of repetition.
- Get everyone on the same page. This may seem like a given, but it’s often easy to ask individuals on the team to do just their parts, rather than inform them on how their parts fit into the whole. This doesn’t mean you can’t set individual or group goals. In fact, you should! These inspire individuals to work to their full potentials to meet group and overall needs, plus, group work inspires members to work together. The singular overall goal unites your budding community.
- Get everyone’s input. As you’re planning and setting goals, invite employees and co-workers to submit suggestions or have company meetings where they can give feedback. These people are valuable members of the company, and giving them the opportunity to speak up shows them you respect them and their expertise. In addition, you could receive valuable input and advice from the folks on your plant floor every day.
This encompasses daily feedback, too, and not just from you, the manager, to them, your employees. Create an environment where they can assist one another and offer suggestions — even to you. Not only can this help build camaraderie, but it can also help keep you and co-workers safer and more compliant with accident prevention standards. If you receive a suggestion, act on it to let employees know you value them and you’re willing and able to meet their needs. And don’t forget that positive feedback can make a strong impact.
- Help everyone belong. Not everyone is always eager to join a new community. This can be for a variety of reasons, but you can often help with gentle reminders or offerings. If you’re planning a company gathering this summer — volunteering at a community event, hosting a picnic or planning a lunchtime meal for your staff, heading to a sporting event, or just holding Friday morning’s meeting in the break room with coffee and donuts — don’t forget to invite everyone. If you can, offer personalized invitations to special events like these to ensure nobody is left out. Encouraging communication at team-building and social events can help foster community growth on the plant floor.
No matter what you do to begin building your workplace community, the most important thing is to keep it going. Stay positive and recognize those in your community who are doing well, giving credit where it’s due. Finally, keep in mind that you need to welcome the right people into your community by finding and hiring highly skilled manufacturing professionals to join your company in the first place.