Per research by McKinsey, the manufacturing industry contributes approximately 16% of global GDP every year and covers approximately 14% of global employment. The sector is flourishing; however, there’s one thing common among most manufacturing companies in the world — the need for clear and efficient internal communications.
According to another study by Gallup, only 25% of manufacturing employees are engaged, approximately 8% lower than the average employee engagement in the US. Disengaged employees can lead to a negative impact on your manufacturing business. Per the research, disengaged US employees cost the country $483 billion to $605 billion annually in lost productivity. Again, good communication is the key to employee engagement.
Better communication means employees will feel motivated and comfortable talking to one another and their leadership. Therefore, your communication methods can impact your company’s culture. In simpler words, clear and effective communication is a must to build a successful business.
How Poor Communication Can Impact Your Manufacturing Business
Ineffective communication in a manufacturing business can result in the following:
- Issues in employee safety
- Cost mistakes
- Bad customer experience
- Attrition of skilled and talented employees
- Lower productivity
- Demotivated staff
- Lower employee engagement
- Reduced profits
- Possible legal issues
Therefore, establishing open and strong lines of communication can boost employee engagement and motivation, and support your employee retention efforts. Efficient internal communication can greatly impact an employee’s ability to work and help in building a satisfying workplace culture.
Common Communication Issues That Can Lead to Employee Disengagement
As we’ve already seen above, employee disengagement is a direct result of poor communication methods. Here’s a breakdown of communication issues that can lead to more and more disengaged employees:
- Information that lacks clarity when it comes to business goals and objectives
- Excessive information that is unclear and unspecific
- Forced communication-based activities that do not add any value
- Lack of internal communication plans from the leadership
- Critical information is not shared with the employees
- Employees do not have convenient access to managers and the leadership
- Communication is scattered and not targeted toward employees
- Information lacks solutions to employee issues and questions
Impactful Internal Communication Methods
The first step in improving the internal communications of your manufacturing company is understanding what clear and effective communication looks like. This involves assessing and evaluating how your competitors are improving their internal communications efforts.
Here are some important points you can include in your company’s internal communications strategy:
- Clearly defined internal communications standards for your manufacturing business
- Regular and consistent communication of the goals, strategies, and missions of your business to motivate and engage employees
- Development of metrics to measure the improvement of your internal communications efforts
Every individual in your company will play an important role in the internal communications plan. This includes:
- Employee to management communication
- Manager to employee communication
- Peer to peer communication
- Team to team communication
Even if your manufacturing company’s overall internal communications strategy looks good, try to identify company functions or teams that are not contributing enough. For example, a particular team in the finance function or an entire location may not be convinced with your internal communications strategy’s objectives.
Therefore, try to identify weaknesses in your internal communications plan and take immediate measures to remedy them.
As a manufacturing company, you can use multiple internal communications platforms and tools to boost your internal communications efforts. These include:
- Information boards
- Team meetings
- Digital signage
- Desk alerts
Helping leaders understand the issues related to internal communications can help in ensuring quick success with your internal communications plan.
Develop a quick checklist with best practices and tools they can leverage to support the company’s internal communications efforts. The checklist can include:
- A note on the importance of improved internal communications for manufacturing businesses and how it can impact employee engagement.
- A clear outline of what is required from them and how much time they need to dedicate per month/per quarter to the initiative.
- A list of platforms/tools they can leverage to boost internal communications and how to use them.
- Templates for emails, newsletters, social media posts, team meetings, and so on.
Apart from creating internal communications best practices checklists for leaders, we recommended scheduling internal communications training for both leaders and employees on a quarterly or half-yearly cadence.
During this training, your company’s HR experts can explain how effective communication can impact the company’s culture, why they should invest time in improving the company’s internal communications efforts, and so on. You can also organize a quick Q&A session to answer any questions both leaders and employees may have.
Lastly, regular measurement of your internal communications efforts is critical to assess what’s working and what’s not. Consider sending out quarterly surveys to employees to evaluate if your internal communications strategies are bearing fruit.