Commit and Invest: Engaging and Retaining Today’s Workforce

By Margaret Webb

Ever wish for the “good old days?” Previous generations often worked for one company their entire career. For the next generation, the belief is they will not only work for multiple companies, they will have multiple careers as well. Some of the key ingredients that are absent in today’s work environment are loyalty, investment in people, trust and community. It’s every person for themselves.

GETTING EMPLOYEES INVESTED

Labor shortages are a manufacturing reality, and not just in the glass industry. So how do we engage and retain workers? How do we get them to invest in our industry?

If we want today’s workforce to commit and invest, we must commit and invest in them. Most training focuses on hard skills and takes place on the factory floor which is imminently logical. Who better to train the new guy, than the experienced one? However, this does not necessarily translate into long-term employment. So how do you get plant personnel to stay so companies can derive the full benefit of their training? After all, who wants to train employees for their competitors?

To build an environment where people want to stay and are engaged, they need to be part of the work community. They need to trust their leadership, feel that they are valued, and feel that they are part of a larger team where their contributions are not only valued, but that their knowledge and experience is actively solicited.

Technical skills and capabilities are critical to the successful functioning of any company, but these alone will not guarantee success. The employee washing the glass needs to understand their role in producing quality insulating glass units. Company leaders engage their employees and, while there are some who intuitively have the skills to accomplish this, most need some assistance in understanding how to achieve employee engagement.

DEVELOPING LEADERS

Enter the IGMA Leadership Development Program based on the Coaching2Connect program. It is a team performance model that focuses on leadership, character and communication skills with strategies to get the most out of everyone for a successful team. What’s different about this leadership program?

The program is a custom psychometric character assessment based on the DISC assessment which identifies strengths in personality, emotional intelligence, drive, values and other characteristics. DISC stands for four basic styles of behavior: dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness. The DISC profile identifies an individual’s personal communication and behavior style. The program identifies an individual’s leadership strengths, helps the individual understand how other people’s strengths are different and provides a roadmap to form stronger connections with the team.

The character connection report  helps individuals understand who they are and how they can leverage their strengths to build more self-esteem and confidence. It’s no secret that successful people know their purpose in life. This provides the platform that facilitates communication throughout the entire organization.

Understanding how you and those around you communicate allows you to speak the language of the other, which is essential to team dynamics. This results in better teamwork, avoiding escalating conflicts, improving focus on the work at hand and identification of priorities, goals and potential pitfalls. Understanding your customers’ styles will ensure you are speaking their language and can deliver what they are looking for.

The IGMA Leadership Development Program is targeted to the glass industry but the content is transferable to any environment including family and friends. Oak Moser, an industry veteran, brought the Coaching2Connect program to his manufacturing facility after trying other programs. The results were life altering for Moser and his team. It resulted in a positive work environment that saw an increase in employee engagement, commitment and product productivity. Moser draws on his own work and coaching experience to demonstrate many of the program’s principles.

It’s time to return to some of the values of pervious generations and build a work environment where people have a sense of belonging, invest in the future of the company and strive for success for themselves and the company they work for.

For more information, visit the IGMA website (www.igmaonline.org) or contact the IGMA office.

Margaret Webb is the executive director of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance with offices based in Chicago and Ottawa, Ontario.

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