As we dive into 2024, companies are feeling more optimistic about achieving growth goals compared to years past, hoping by year-end a better story can be told. But wait – there's a bit of a twist in the tale!

While the corporate forecasts paint a rosy picture, the vibe among employees seems to be taking a detour. In our latest infographic, "The Sky Isn’t Falling in Manufacturing, but Beware of the Workforce Fall Out!", we unveil a surprising reality within the manufacturing sector that may catch many employers off guard. Our recent research exposes a fascinating disparity between the optimistic financial outlook for the year and the somewhat contrasting sentiment among the workforce. Here’s the good news, while 68% of companies predict growth, a remarkable 65% of employees share in this optimism on company health. Yet, there's a nuanced twist—from an employee satisfaction standpoint, 63% of employees are experiencing a negative feeling. The revelation of this outlier is crucial for employers to understand and make changes that will keep both employee mood and company growth on an upward trajectory.  Without employee confidence AND satisfaction, companies will be bound for disappointing productivity and financial growth.

4 questions to ask yourself about the connection between strong company health and employee satisfaction

  1. Does a thriving company naturally contribute to retaining employees?
    While it's a common belief that a healthy company to an employee means stability, it is important to note that there are various factors that influence an individual's decision to stay with a company. A thriving organization should provide a positive work environment, opportunities for career growth, competitive compensation, and a sense of job security, all of which can contribute to higher employee satisfaction and retention. However, individual preferences, work-life balance, company culture, management style, and personal career goals also play significant roles in an employee's decision to stay with a particular organization. It's not a one-size-fits-all situation, and employees may have different priorities and values. Employers must instill not only a holistic approach to employee satisfaction and engagement but also a personal approach that will contribute to long-term retention.

  2. Do my leaders, including front-line managers, communicate enough about company performance and health?
    According to the survey findings, 65% of employees perceive the company's growth as positive, but 35% express concerns about its health, indicating a notable portion of the workforce questioning the security of their jobs. Leadership plays a crucial role in ensuring transparency into company performance as well as shaping the overall work environment, employee morale, and organizational culture.  In companies with ineffective or poor leadership, employees may perceive a lack of direction, transparency, and support. Front-line managers, as direct supervisors, have a significant impact on the day-to-day experiences of employees. If these managers are not providing clear and continuous communication, guidance, or addressing concerns, it can contribute to a negative perception of the company's health. Employees in turn may feel less connected to company objectives, less motivated, and insecure in their jobs, increasing the likelihood of employees seeking other employment opportunities.  If doubt is present in the minds of even a small percentage of your employees, it can cause a ripple effect of negativity to the broader workforce.

    Employers must ask themselves, “are we communicating enough?”  Don’t assume - go right to the source and ask your employees what they think.  You may be surprised by their answer.

  3. Can absence of leader communication shape a culture that can be detrimental to company performance?
    A strong company culture yields numerous benefits for both employers and employees, as highlighted by career experts at Zippia. Their findings confirm that highly engaged employees, a byproduct of a healthy company culture, demonstrate 17% higher productivity, fostering an environment where overall performance is significantly improved. This heightened performance, according to their research, leads to an impressive average increase of 21% in profitability. But when leaders begin to pull back on continuous and impactful communications with their employees, it can quickly derail workplace culture causing overall company performance to take a nosedive.  Why? Job satisfaction begins to suffer due to diminished trust in leaders and a lack of clarity regarding roles and the company's direction, and overall organizational health. This uncertainty creates anxiety among employees, making them more open to exploring alternative employment opportunities at companies with positive reputations regarding financial performance and culture.

    According to an assessment published by Gallup, front-line managers play a pivotal role, accounting for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores. Given the close working relationship between employees and their direct supervisors, the communication styles, motivational efforts, and overall support provided by leaders significantly influence employee engagement. A disconnect between employees and their leaders can result in disengagement, absenteeism and the emergence of silent quitters who are all likely to leave the organization. This, in turn, escalates hiring and training costs while diminishing overall productivity and cutting into profitability.

  4. At what point does negative employee attitude begin to impact individual and company performance?
    When your employees stop talking to each other or their managers, it’s time to throw up a red flag. Negative employee satisfaction has detrimental effects on individual work performance that ultimately has a direct impact on company performance and growth. There is a snowball effect that happens that if not caught early can cause significant disruption.  First, when employees are dissatisfied they begin not to care, they stay quiet instead of voicing concerns in an effort to drive improvement. Then motivation dwindles, leading to decreased productivity and a diminished commitment to tasks. This lack of enthusiasm often results in lower quality work, missed deadlines, a higher risk of absenteeism and seeking alternative employment, contributing to turnover and disrupting team dynamics. Team relationships within the workplace become strained, damaging collaborations, and hindering the creative and innovative contributions of individuals. Customer deadlines are missed, and relationships suffer causing customers to look elsewhere.

    Understand the root cause of employee disgruntlement and quickly identify those opportunities to fix the roadblocks that will drive both employee and company success.

Your Company’s Future and Growth are Defined By Your People

It is an exciting time for the manufacturing industry, teeming with potential for transformation and growth. But this cannot happen unless resilient people strategies and effective leadership come together to propel productivity and performance. Everyone says people are their most valuable asset, what are you doing to invest in them? . Implement innovative strategies that enhance job satisfaction, career development, nurture a positive workplace culture, and facilitate open communication not only distinguish your company from competitors but also contribute to attracting, retaining, and motivating employees. This, in turn, fosters a sense of contribution to broader company goals, leading to a substantial positive impact on productivity, financial health, and overall growth.