Plant managers and Human Resource managers that work with large groups of employees have almost certainly learned one clear truth: People don’t like to be told what to do.
Knowing this, at Shiftwork Solutions, we have developed a process of communication and participative employee involvement to help companies through our change process.
Companies typically come to us with a shiftwork issue such as “I need to start running my 5-day operation 24/7.” They expect us to do some math, which we do. They expect us to work out the policies and staffing numbers, which we do. They expect us to examine product flow and create a solution that fits their entire situation, which we do.
But most of all, they expect us to bring the workforce along on the ride.
We accomplish this using the following basic steps:
- We make sure the reason for the change is real and understandable. This is then communicated to the workforce. Instead of saying, “We are changing,” we say “We need to change and this is why.”
- We tell the workforce what their level of involvement will be. While some decisions are the job of upper management, many issues can, and should, be resolved using input from those most affected. For example, the workforce can’t say, “Turn down that customer order because I want the day off.” However, they can say, “I like this amount of overtime and I like my shifts to start at this time and I like longer shifts to give me more days off.” All of these preferences can be managed in such a way as to have no impact on cost structures or productivity. In short, if you can find areas to let the employees have their say, then do it.
- We educate the workforce. This comes down to eliminating the fear of the unknown. People that are unclear on what is happening tend to resist change. They can become angry over a situation that only exists in their mind; where they filled in the blanks because no one else would. They need to know what is possible and not possible. For example, employees prefer you to hire additional crews to work weekends. If you just say no, then the argument still exists. If you say, “No and this is why,” the argument, and thus resistance fades away.
Communication and employee involvement and workforce buy-in are crucial when implementing changes in operation. Will the workforce be along on the ride when your production grows?
Call Us and to help get your workforce involved the next time you need to have your shift schedule reviewed or changed.