We’ve all heard teamwork is important in the workplace, but it’s easy to think that it’s only important in other workplaces. Does teamwork really have a place in a manufacturing environment? The answer is a resounding yes. In fact, workers in manufacturing plants may benefit from teamwork more than employees in other work environments.
Benefits of teamwork
Many mills already operate long hours — some even operate 24 hours a day! So, when it comes to increasing output, lengthening hours simply is not an option. Instead, the only solution is to increase productivity and efficiency. This is where teamwork can really shine.
As the old saying goes, “two heads are better than one.” Using teamwork in the workplace applies all “heads” to the job. But teamwork also benefits workplaces in other ways. For example, teamwork encourages creativity, and allows employees to learn from each other. It builds trust between coworkers, which aids communication. It gives employees hands-on opportunities to learn conflict resolution, and even creates a sense of ownership and pride, which can lead to better job satisfaction.
In fact, one case study shows that increasing training and focusing on teamwork helped decrease waste, increase efficiency, and reduce labor, resulting in increased profitability.
How to encourage teamwork
So how can manufacturers foster teamwork in their plants and reap those rewards? Here are a few ways to create an environment that supports teamwork.
- Ensure employees feel heard. Nobody likes being told how to do their job by someone who doesn’t do that job. To lessen friction between employees and management, it’s important to make sure that employees feel that their input is valued and considered.
- Set time limits and goals. To track progress, it’s important to set a time span during which improvements will be made. Goals should be specific, achievable, and measurable.
- Celebrate achievement. They say that achievement is its own reward, but relying on that could leave employees feeling underappreciated. To encourage improvement, it’s important to recognize and celebrate achievements.
- Get support from leadership. Without buy-in from top management, you may not be able to get the support and resources necessary to make training and teamwork efforts successful.
- Make participation voluntary. Nobody likes being forced into something, and just one negative influence in a team can bring down morale and threaten success.
Creating an environment that fosters teamwork is more than just putting up posters or scheduling a staff meeting — it is a company-wide culture. By integrating the above suggestions into your plant’s culture, you can start empowering employees to increase productivity and efficiency by working together.