Large Manufacturing Company Intranet / Employee Satisfaction Questions

Part
01
of four
Part
01

Employee Engagement

I have found that large companies are using a variety of digital methods with measured success in order to improve employee engagement. These methods include: learning, electronic communication, gamification, social media, sustainability, and benefits portals.

FINDINGS
Research tells us that lack of employee engagement is responsible for 70% of failures of business transformation efforts. For larger companies this figure may account for even 90% of these sorts of failures. These statistics demonstrate the importance of employee engagement to the success of a business.

To begin with, I found that in general, large organizations can utilize digitization to improve employee engagement. This article explains that employees are already bringing their own digital devices into work, and companies should take advantage of this by investing in:

1. Enabling new ways of communicating at work
3. Improving knowledge and learning
4. Improving productivity

Next, I found several examples of large international companies (focusing on manufacturing companies) that have recently worked on employee engagement by implementing some kind of digital application. Where possible I have included hard data about the success of the improvement to employee engagement.

LEARNING
AEP is a US utility company, not a manufacturing company, however I have included it for its unique method to tackling employee engagement. This have just under 20,000 employees, are based in the US, and are number 395 on Forbes' world's biggest public companies list. They have begun improving employee engagement through a learning map. The map is a "90-minute session that helps employees to understand where his or her position sits in the larger scheme of the organization and how they contribute to the broader strategy". The goal of the map is to enable employees to be immersed in the goals and vision of the company, so that they can understand it in order to be a part of it.

ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION
Another way that AEP is promoting employee engagement is by constantly looking for new ways to connect with employees electronically. They believe that "communication is essential to employee engagement".

Siemens also claims to use the following examples of electronic communication to boost employee engagement: online communication, video & blogging, and executive communication. Siemens is a manufacturing company (of electrical goods), with around 372,000 employees worldwide but are based in Germany.

GAMIFICATION
Some large companies are seeking to improve employee engagement through the digital method of gamification. Gamification is the "concept of digital motivation through gaming promises to breathe new engagement into employees". Research shows that gamification can have a huge impact on engagement, and already 40% of the Global 1000 are currently using it.

SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media is being used by many large international companies in or to increase employee engagement, and it has shown to be very successful. The BASF are an international manufacturing company (of chemical products) who are based in Germany. At the end of 2016, BASF had 113,830 employees worldwide. They have been actively encouraging social media experiments within the company. This lead to the creation of the platform connect.BASF. The platform now has 4,500 communities working together on various business topics. The social network has increased project efficiency by up to 25%.

Bosch (an electronics manufacturer who have just under 400,000 mostly in Germany and Asia Pacific) have also used social media successfully to increase employee engagement. This study found that greater the self-reported usage of internal social media was positively linked with levels of self-reported employee engagement. It also found that internal social media usage is associated with the level of employee engagement. L'Oréal is another large international brand using social media to increase employee engagement

SUSTAINABILITY
Unilever is a British-Dutch international consumer goods company who are an example of a large company (172,000 employees worldwide) who have focused on promoting their brand's sustainability with the intention of increasing employee engagement. They use digital methods of communication to share with employees about their truly sustainable business practices. This method has seen Unilever achieve an employee engagement score of 80%, a huge contrast to the average 13%.

BENEFITS PORTAL
Finally, I found the example of PSA (Europe’s second largest car manufacturer, owner of Peugeot & Citroen, with 170,000 employees worldwide) who have had success at increasing employee engagement through the creation of their online benefits portal. PSA created this portal with the intention of increasing employee responses from -5 to +12 for the question “I am happy with the pay and benefits I received in this job”. The online portal that provides employees with a single source of information regarding their range of benefits achieved a heightened level of employee engagement. Showing how transparency, delivered digitally, can have the impact of improving engagement.

CONCLUSION
To sum up, I have found that learning, electronic communication, gamification, social media, sustainability, and benefits portals are digital methods currently being used by large companies in order to improve employee engagement.
Part
02
of four
Part
02

Measuring Employee Engagement

Having committed, focused and energized employees is what makes a team engaged in the company. This isn't just a benefit for the employee, it's a win for the company as well. Companies do this in a variety of ways from paid time off, snacks, stress management training, on-site dentist, doctor, and laundry facilities, theme days, career-growth training, company bucks, handwritten notes or employee discounts and gifts. We've taken a look at several companies that use these methods as well as the companies' employee satisfaction rating.

FINDINGS

Employee engagement isn't just an idea of what to offer employees to make them happy. It's a process that includes several steps to being successful. When employees are energized and engaged, productivity is increased, retention is improved, and performance is enhanced for the companies culture. We have identified proven steps to successful employee engagement.

STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL ENGAGEMENT

1) The first step is to define a goal of employee engagement. In order to identify the best goal, the company needs to decide if the goal is to more effectively manage employees, improve the culture of the company or create a high-performing organization. After a goal is selected, communicate it carefully. Explain the goal and how you plan to measure it. Sometimes goals evolve and the process starts, so be flexible enough to adapt to the changes.

2) Determine how to measure and assess the goal. The goal is going to help you measure engagement within a survey. Three target areas are satisfaction, alignment, and future. This is the time you will plan the survey and what and how you will ask the questions. Rating questions and open-ended questions are the best options.

3) Communicating in an effective manner makes it more transparent. Employees general wonder if it's going to be anonymous and how will the answers be used as well as how it will affect them. Communicating with them reassures them and allows them to ask questions. Making sure all leaders and managers are well-informed on the back end will also alleviate any concern. Continue to communicate after the survey is completed so they know the work is still in process and be sure to let them know why it's happening and what the outcome is. Finally, don't over commit as it can be an exciting process and change doesn't happen overnight.

4) This is the point where there may be roadblocks to overcome. There are always minor conflicts that need to be resolved. Once the survey is completed, make the plan and list any potential problems. It may be resources, time, or empowerment.

5) Now that the survey results are in, it's time to build an action plan. Look back at the goal and the strategy and see if it still matches the survey results. The key now is working quickly and following steps already in place for achieving goals. It's important to listen to feedback as things change to determine if it's effective.

6) Thanking employees for their help in achieving the goal is an important step. This lets them know their opinion is valuable and their hard work is appreciated.

7) The last step is focusing on the long-term progress. A follow-up survey of employees is a reassurance of the goals success or need for additional work. Continuous engagement is the key to a successful company.

Large Company Employee Engagement

Larger companies have a harder time with employee engagement due to the logistics of have a vast and diverse crowd. It's nearly impossible to do your workload, manage your team, know how all of your employees are feeling and follow-up on any actions that have been presented by them. Some steps that companies can focus on are as follows:

1) The first step is to segment the organization. It's important that top, middle, and team managers are also engaged so they can help engage others. Segmenting starts with departments and then breaks down further to teams, projects, and initiatives if there are any. It's important to maintain transparency and this can be done by asking for feedback.

2) The second step is to improve engagement by collecting data. Employees are engrossed in a digital workplace because it's productive and can make the most out of their time. Some ideas for creating a digital workplace are finding new ways to communicate at work, allowing collaboration, enhancing productivity, and increasing knowledge. A great survey tool is a pulse-like survey for the smartphone. This can help improve employee engagement as real-time results can be shared with employees. This also frees up company resources spent developing, reviewing, and reporting survey results.

3) The third and final step is to contract with an HR partner to help increase engagement. While in-house HR departments are key to getting the initial information, external HR partners can analyze and monitor employee engagement. They will look at what will drive engagement up, look at team cohesion, how to improve processes and give you advice on building a strategy for increased engagement.

SUCCESSFUL EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

There are many successful companies that focus heavily on employee engagement. Some of these companies include Facebook, Google, Apple, Johnson & Johnson, SpaceX, Virgin, Nike, Zappos, and LinkedIn. Each of them has very different ideas about employee engagement.

1) Facebook
Industry: Internet
Number of employees: 26 999
Facebook is probably the most successful of those listed. Facebook has a 99% job satisfaction rating and is listed as number 2 on Glassdoor's best places to work. Some employee perks include free snacks, a bike shop, a gym and even dentist and doctor’s offices. Most of their employees are located in the United States of America.

2) Virgin America
Industry: Aviation
Number of employees: 2,223
Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson has a motto of training employees well enough for them to be able to leave, but treating them so good that they don't want to leave. Virgin developed a company social media app that allows employees access from their cell phones during work hours to have access to company announcements and updates. The majority of their employees are situated in the US, more specifically around the San Francisco Bay area (779 employees).

3) Apple
Industry: Consumer electronics
Number of employees: 173,485
Apple has an 81% retention rate and the majority of their workers are in the retail store interacting with consumers. Apple has a "clap out" as employees end their shift and other employees clap as they leave. In addition, they provide employee discounts, gifts, handwritten notes, and access to products being recycled. Over 45% of the current employees of Apple (79,003) work in the United states, most concentrated around the San Francisco Bay area.

4) Full Contact
Industry: Computer Software
Number of employees: 324
Full Contact offers employee money to literally take a paid vacation. Not only do they get paid for being on vacation, but they pay for the actual vacation. While this would be hard for a large company, it could be used as an incentive. Most of their employees are located in India.

5) Southwest Airlines
Industry: Aviation
Number of employees: 25,006
Southwest Airlines allows employees from different departments to come together to design new uniforms. The majority of their employees are situated in the US.

6) Screwfix
Industry: Home Improvement, Retail
Number of employees: 2,531
Screwfix, a U.K. company, in an effort to keep open lines of communication, offers employees an opportunity bi-monthly to freely submit feedback to their managers. Screwfix believes the 360-feedback helps alleviate issues before they become problems. The majority of their employees are located in the United Kingdom.

7) Google
Industry: Internet, Software, and Computer Hardware
Number of employees: 126,485
Google tries to provide a work environment that is fun. They offer free food and even have an on-site laundry service. Everything they do comes with an opportunity for employee feedback. Google's goal is to build employee engagement with core values of transparency, inclusion, and trust. About 50% of their employees (62,415) are located in the US.

8) Stryker
Industry: Medical Devices, manufacturing
Number of employees: 38,685
Stryker is one of the few manufacturing companies that have a good employees engagement and satisfaction. Their ratings on Glassdoor and Indeed are above 4 stars. A key factor in their success is the leadership's commitment to engagement by giving voice to their employees. The company uses Gallup Q12 employee assessment software to inquire and later on address the issues that the company's employees have. It is also reported that the section managers know all of their employees names which helps with familiarization and making the employees feel welcomed. The majority of the employees work in factories situated in the US.

9) SpaceX
Industry: Aerospace, Manufacturing
Number of employees: 5,270
Elon Musk's SpaceX is one of the leaders in employee engagement in the manufacturing industry. A few of the perks that make the company so great include free food, free drinks, and free in-house massage therapy. It was also reported that Elon Musk reserved a whole movie theater for their employees upon the release of "The Martian" and "Gravity". Additionally, Musk regularly sends encouraging emails and gives presentations to its employees. The majority of SpaceX's employees are situated in the US.

Industry: Medical devices, Pharmaceutical, Consumer goods, Manufacturing
Number of Employees: 120,785
Johnson & Johnson is probably the best example of a manufacturing company taking employee engagement to the next level. The company's message of pushing for a healthier workplace since its creation in the 1880s has not changed. The biggest feature of the company is its commitment to keep its employees healthy. In fact their whole Wellness program is centered around providing tips, as well as different fitness and nutritional programs to its employees. The company has also won the "Britain’s healthiest large company" award in 2015. Over one third of their employees are situated in the US.

Activities for Employee Engagement

Every company needs their own idea of how they want to engage their employees. We have further listed some ideas for employee engagement.

1) Create a company culture that shows employees the kind of company it is and the kinds of people the company wants working for them.

2) Send employees feedback surveys and follow through on suggestions so they know they are being taken seriously. The best ideas have come from suggestions.

3) Provide training, mentoring, and career-advancing courses to employees. Let them know how they can advance within the company.

4) Always involve employees when the company is doing updates and ask for their opinions and suggestions on ways to improve customer service or products to introduce.

Conclusion

In summary, there are a number of ways to improve employee engagement. We've given a look at proven steps to successful increases in employee engagement as well as companies who have been successful and what they are doing. The first thing to do is decide on the goal and probably one of the biggest assets is doing an employee survey. Create the survey catered to achieving the goal and make it as employee oriented as you can be. Get their advice and ask for their feedback. Not all employee engagements have to be paid time off, free snacks, or services brought into the company.

Part
03
of four
Part
03

Digital Best Practices - Employee Engagement

Large companies throughout the world often use a combination of different digital methods to communicate with employees and keep them up-to-date on company changes. Some of the methods are used directly by employees, while others are used by executives and engaged with by employees. Below you will find eight of the most commonly used digital practices that have the largest amounts of employee engagement.

Company Examples

Throughout the digital practices detailed below, there are four major companies whose use of the technology will be detailed. Although two of the companies are not large by employee size, their service size and use of digital technology is dramatic, so they are included. This section will provide the name, location(s), industry, and size of the companies.

Siemens
Global Employees: 372,000
North America Employees: 65,000

Industry: Electric utilities
Location: United States
Employees: 17,600
*services 5.4 million customers annually*

Location: United States
Employees: 5,000

Employees: 295,000

Social Media

The use of social media by large companies is among the most popular digital tools to engage with employees in the workplace.

Siemens permits the use of comments on articles to gain an idea of employee understanding, and will use such comments to gather feedback on questions and work-related topics. Siemens also uses Yammer, a social media platform for businesses, to hold conversations between employees and focus on solving work-related issues.

Virgin America, though small, has taken the use of social media for employee engagement to another level within the workplace. Virgin has created their own "mobile-first social intranet" that provides employees with unlimited access to company announcements and updates right from their smartphones.

General Electric has been known to use LinkedIn to communicate with employees, with the thought that they are providing information where people are already looking for it. They will publish news and changes within the company on LinkedIn, and also use it to communicate with potential job seekers.

Cloud-Based Training

Large companies have begun the use of cloud-based training to teach their employees the ways of the company. With online learning, employees can learn at their own pace, and also can stay up-to-date on changes in policies and initiatives. These programs can sometime be interactive, and will include information relating to job descriptions, document processing, and training activities.

Gamification

Gamification is a way for companies to use technology to involve employees through honing their skill sets in a fun and interactive way. AEP uses gamification by means of "learning maps" to help users understand the company culture. Gamification enables companies to provide stimulating layers to the workplace. Smartphones can be used to track the execution and sales of employees, which adds a sense of competition to the workplace to enhance employee performances.

Performance Analytics

Similar to how gamification can provide data on employee workings, performance analytics can also provide data on how employees are working, in real time. These reports can be shared with anyone at any time, and can also be used to track employee goals within a company over a span of time.

Video and Blogging

The use of videos to inform employees of company information is becoming a vital technology in the workplace. Siemens has worked to produce what they call, "Down and dirty" videos that deliver down-to-earth and easy-to-understand information. Siemens also has stated that their use of posterous.com has helped to provide employees with important information online on a regular basis. Their own CEO has used videos to deliver corporate messages, as well as weekly blogging for company updates. The use of this technology not only works to connect upper and lower ends of the company spectrum, but also can be useful to provide detailed information that employees can follow, building a more confident staff.

Digital Checklists

The use of digital checklists can aid companies by helping employees to prioritize their daily activities. These checklists can be updated and shared with staff throughout the company, in real time, and can be used to set up employees for success.

Polling Systems

Polling systems are in use by both Siemens and AEP. These polls are helpful to measure employee opinions on different subject matters throughout the company, as well as their understanding of the company cultures. Siemens has their staff vote on a social polling system, where they can provide thumbs up/downs on matters, while AEP asks questions about different subject matters.

Conclusion

Some of the largest companies often implement multiple methods of digital employee engagement. The use of social media is the broadest and most widely used form of engagement, as there are many platforms available. Regardless of the method, it is vital that employees are also making the effort to participate in the efforts of digital communication to get the most out of these methods.
Part
04
of four
Part
04

Employee Lifecycle

Employee tenure within the United States is demonstrating a marked decrease. In 2014, the median tenure of employees in the United States was 4.6 years, already a brief commitment considering previous generation's inclination toward working for one company for one's entire career. That number than diminished further in 2016 to 4.2, although the manufacturing industry remains a more extended period, if not by much, at 5.2 years. Digital technology offers routes to increase that average tenure, with the most important being providing digital means of open and direct communication, the top factor for employees regarding job appeal. There also exists an opportunity to track data relevant to tenure, such as the reason employees choose to quit or not quit, to identify patterns and areas for improvement.

Current trends

Although the median tenure decreased between 2014 and 2016, that contradicts the positive trend that has been in evidence for approximately 30 years or more. The 2016 data demonstrated that men, who had a median tenure of 4.7 in 2015, now hit just 4.3, while women dropped from 4.5 to 4.0 years. Employee tenure is generally higher among older employees than younger, such as with 55-64 year old employees, who demonstrate a 10.1 year median tenure.

Manufacturing demonstrated the highest median tenure within the private sector at 5.3 years. A primary explanation for this lies in the age of the employees, generally older within manufacturing than many other industries.

Digital Technology

The use of digital technology in the workplace has been demonstrated as a sure method of increasing employee engagement and thus increasing tenure. By offering a digital means of internal communication, a company appeals to their employees and potential employees by providing what they desire most: direct and open communication. It also can be utilized to appeal to prospective talent, an important factor in today's competitive job market. Specifically within the manufacturing industry, digital technology also has become regarded as the best method to enhance employee engagement. Through constant communication through digital means, engagement and tenure improves.

Tracking employee tenure allows insights to be gleaned by companies regarding the needs of their employees. Through these insights, the turnover rate can be addressed with concrete results through the implementation of initiatives to address what the staff were previously lacking. Buffer demonstrated this in their use of tenure tracking, changing the way they interacted with employees. In the new style, the fact that the employees would eventually leave was openly acknowledged, the focus instead being on creating impact for their future resume. This served to lengthen tenure as the employees were focused on adding value to their career to get the best position possible when they eventually left.

Conclusion

Tenure represents an important element of the employee life cycle that most industries are seeking to improve. Specifically in the manufacturing industry as well as in general, digital communication and tenure tracking offer methods to improve tenure with new technology. Those rates of tenure have decreased from 2014, at 4.6, to 2016, at 4.2.



Sources
Sources