Employee Engagement Techniques

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Employee Engagement Techniques - Global Manufacturing Organizations

Failing to recruit, engage and then retain young talent is integral for manufacturers to survive. Manufacturing is already looking at a predicted shortage of 2.4 million workers over the next ten years, according to research from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. Eighty-nine percent of executives agree there is already a talent shortage in the manufacturing sector, with firms struggling to find skilled labor to operate emerging technologies, according to that same report. Two examples of manufacturing organizations, globally, that are engaging and retaining employees are Saint Gobain and Mars. We have included, where available, their company policies, programs, incentives, perks, and/or tools that makes them stand out with respect to employee engagement.


  • One of the globe's biggest building materials companies and manufacturer of cutting edge material solutions is Saint-Gobain. They are taking novel approaches to solving the problem of lack of talent, especially when it comes to rural locations.
  • According to Valerie Gervais, the company’s former senior vice president of human resources, the company is not focusing on the actual geography of a job and instead are talking about how a position with their company can design a career, “invent themselves and reshape the world,”
  • She asserts that "we’re attracting talent in rural areas by rolling out pilot programs that take a holistic approach to people and families, because we know it’s not about making a living, it’s about making a life. In fact, we brought in an anthropologist to understand specific barriers that were impacting our ability to hire in certain areas. As an employer, we look at the whole ecosystem of the family.
  • The Top Employers Institute is a global institution that certifies top organizations for their outstanding employee benefits, policies, programs and incentives. Saint Gobain was awarded the Top Employer North America Certification in 2020 for "providing an exceptional workplace environment" for the fifth year in a row.
  • To attract and retain their employees, Saint-Gobain offers them geographical mobility and promotion opportunities in R&D or in other departments such as marketing or production. Globally, there are around 4,200 executive movements per year. For these movements, 20% surround a change of sector.
  • Saint-Gobain states that "every day, they are changing their management methods to give ever more space to the entrepreneurial spirit, to the acquisition of new skills, to continuous dialogue."
  • Their policy on inclusion and diversity is driven by three complementary levers: "a proactive policy adapted to local contexts that increases the diversity of the teams, internal promotions and managerial integration that promote internal diversity, and equitable remuneration and access to training and promotion that foster equal opportunities."
  • Their inclusion and diversity performance permitted them to be included in the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index for both 2019 and 2020.
  • With regard to compensation, Saint-Gobain companies "establish their compensation policy according to market factors and local living conditions. At the same time, employee share ownership offers employees the opportunity to become shareholders on preferential terms."
  • For 2018, Saint-Gobain's diversity index was 91% (nationality, experience, gender), the ratio between the average basic wage of men and women was 0.91, and 87.7% of their employees had completed at least one training course. Additionally, again for 2018, 7.4% of their shares were held by their employees.


  • As an American global manufacturer of confectionery, pet food, and other food products, Mars is a 100% family-owned business.
  • The employee turnover rate sits at a low 5% in the United States, and the company has whole families who have had multiple generations working for the company, according to research by Fortune.
  • The Five Principles of Mars: quality, responsibility, mutuality, efficiency, freedom, are on every wall of every Mars office and manufacturing site across 80 countries. And as employee Will Turnipseed told Fortune,they’re cult as much as culture,” but “they don’t tattoo them on us or anything like that.”
  • Mars felt that established approaches of employee coaching no longer met the needs of their modern learners, or the increasing size, scale, and diversity of their company. Traditionally at Mars, leadership training was conducted in a classroom and reached under half of first-time leaders globally. This approach limited accessibility and was inconsistent with Mars’s egalitarian culture and principles.
  • In 2019, Summer Davies and the Mars University team reinvented the organizations new people leader training program by launching a fully virtual development program called Great Line Management Experience, or GLMe. GLMe combines digitally delivered content in tandem with on-demand, personalized coaching.
  • The solution created by Mars University was blending virtually delivered leadership development training with an on-demand coaching experience from BetterUp that is convenient, accessible, and impactful while meeting the needs of Mars’s evolving workforce.
  • To date, more than 2,000 new leaders have participated in the program. The design has given new meaning to "blended learning," which no longer means combining inherently limited face-to-face training with online training but is now democratized to include on-demand coaching as well.
  • Forty-two percent of employees in the Mars talent pipeline are women. According to Mars, "there have been great strides to empower women at Mars, but there’s so much more that needs to be done to build a better future for women in business. By creating an inclusive environment today, female associates can rise and reach their full potential."
  • MarsInsiders are "11 Early Talent Associates from all around the world, taking to Instagram and Weibo to show people considering a career with the company, what a Mars Internship, Leadership Experience or direct entry role is really like. Across different business areas and over a period of three months, each Insider will give their own perspective through posts and stories shared on their Insider profile. All to help someone decide which of Mars graduate programs is the perfect match."
  • "The Mars Leadership Experience (MLE) is offered to those interested in a career in business leadership. Experience is provided in managing projects, leading teams, taking on roles with local and international exposure and making decisions with real consequences."
  • Mars also actively "recruits a diverse range of recent graduates who are looking for a leadership career in a specific business area. Called the Mars Functional Leadership Experience, they are currently available across Finance, R&D, Procurement, Engineering, Sales, Supply and Technology. They are designed to enable development of deep technical skills and leadership capabilities."
  • "Mars Internship Experience provides invaluable work experience and opportunities for personal growth. It is designed to test skills and to allow exploration of a range of potential future career paths. Placements vary from 8 weeks to a year and can be combined with studies. A line manager and buddy is assigned to the intern, plus they can connect with the Mars global community of Interns."
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Leadership Communication Techniques - Global Manufacturing Organizations

Any organization that wants to be effective and successful must find ways to effectively speak to its employees. This starts at the top, and an effective leader of an organization must communicate with their employees regularly to ensure that everyone understands what the organization's business objectives and goals are, but even more importantly, what role the employee themselves have in achieving it. With new and effective ways to communicate being developed every day, businesses must figure our ways to reach their employees in a meaningful way that not only suits them, but resonates with them as authentic. A printed memo is no longer sufficient. Leaders of organizations must now communicate to many generational cohorts of employees at once, many of which expect the instant, fun and globally-accessible aspects of social media in their personal life to carry over to their professional life.
  • All leaders should ask for feedback from their employees. In order to drive employee engagement, productivity and retention, feedback is crucial. Studies have revealed that when employees get little to no feedback, 33% stay actively disengaged.
  • When employees are asked about what motivates them to stay with their employers, 39% revealed that it’s the opportunity for career growth, and 32% say it is the opportunity to develop new skills. This means managers should see feedback as one of the tools to help their employees grow their careers and gain new or improve their current skills.
  • Feedback creates a culture of trust and transparency. "Clear, transparent corporate communication among employees can help boost productivity by as much as 25%", according to McKinsey.
  • Today, employees expect immediate feedback from their leaders. In fact, 43% of highly engaged employees get feedback on a weekly basis.
  • It is tempting to only give feedback when things don't go well. This is a mistake. Gallup‘s research revealed that providing positive feedback in order to build an employees’ strengths is far more effective than focusing on fixing weaknesses. This graphic effectively shows this.
  • Fifty percent of the world's workforce belongs to the Millennial cohort. By 2025, it will swell to seventy-five percent. Millennials are very engaged with mobile content. If a leader wants to engage with this generation of its workforce, they must match their communication efforts with their habits. Bottom line? Leaders need to consider using communication solutions that are mobile-first.
  • Leaders need to understand that Millennials and Generation Z make up the majority of today’s workforce and adjustments need to be made to communication strategies based on their preferences and habits. The same way these two generations expect their social media platforms to deliver information relevant to their interests, they expect workplace communication to do the same; they want important information to find them — they do not want to have to search for it.
  • Leaders should always strive to foster a workplace environment where employees feel like they can speak up and express their point of view. The bad news is that not many employees feel that they can do that. About fifty percent of employees don't feel empowered enough to regularly speak their minds at work.
  • Encouraging employees to engage in two-way conversations should be uppermost in a leader's mind when thinking about effective ways to communicate with their employees. Research reveals that poor relationships with their manager is the main reason employees leave their companies. Only twelve percent of employees who have quit their jobs did so to negotiate higher salaries somewhere else, while a whopping seventy-five percent quit their job because of the bad relationship with their direct supervisor.
  • Leaders at large organizations often use multiple channels to communicate with their employees. This can overload the employee as well as overwhelm them. Between email, intranet, document sharing and private messaging apps often employees can be left confused and overwhelmed. Research shows that important and relevant emails make only 38% of employees’ inboxes. To help solve this issue there are tools like ProofHub, Slack, and Zoom that can help encourage better company communication helping leaders to provide providing a better communication experience.
  • An employee's engagement at a company is directly caused by that persons' manager and the way they communicate. In fact seventy percent of the difference in employee engagement is because their manager is not effectively communicating with them, according to Gallup (free download). "Leaders and their team members can solve many issues surrounding employee engagement by participating in one-on-one meetings. For example, Adobe and GE have both previously made a lot of noise in the press about their determination to get rid of yearly performance reviews." When they finally pulled the trigger on that and stopped doing annual reviews, they switched to having their managers do frequent one-on-one meetings instead. The impact was remarkable for both companies: Adobe “saw a 30 percent reduction in voluntary turnover.” GE was able to “drive a five-fold productivity increase in the past 12 months.”
In summary, effective communication techniques are important to every organization's growth and success. It allows everyone to feel that their ideas are being valued and heard. As outlined in this brief, effective communication starts with using the right communication tools, encouraging two-way communication, telling people what they are doing right, providing specific and descriptive feedback, tailoring communication to the generational cohorts employed, fostering a positive work environment, and one-on-one meetings.

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