Optimization Series - Five Essential Components for Successful HR Management in Manufacturing

May 21, 2024

Every manufacturing operation relies on teamwork to succeed. And successful teamwork is achieved when every individual is supported and given the tools and resources to contribute to the team. So this month, we’re taking a close look at Human Resources. Whether this role is fulfilled by an entire department or just one person, HR professionals oversee the recruiting, hiring, retention, benefits, compensation, training, and workforce regulatory compliance. It’s a big job!

Here are five key components that HR professionals prioritize in order to provide the tools necessary to succeed.

Safety First! (and always)

Manufacturing involves a number of unique safety concerns. Whether your operation requires using industrial machinery, handling heavy or awkward items, interacting with chemicals, electricity or other environmental hazards, safety is your number one priority. Provide training and PPE for all of your employees, and make sure protocol is in place for handling emergency situations.

Prioritizing safety will ensure compliance with your city, state and federal workforce regulatory bodies, and it will allow you to build and maintain trust with your employees.

Provide Training and Development Programs

Aside from safety training, job skills training and cross-training are essential to strengthening your team. Providing clear instructions, organizing frequent refresher sessions, and scheduling skills development programs are smart ways to ensure that everyone is on the same page. This takes the guesswork out of expectations and allows your team to see clearly what it will take to advance.

Additionally, a cross-trained team is better able to handle planned or unexpected absences and maintain efficiency despite holidays, vacations, and temporary or long-term vacancies. And creative rotational scheduling has been shown to prevent burnout in an industry that can sometimes feel repetitive.

Communicate Clearly and Be Transparent

A workplace that prioritizes communication and transparency creates a culture of accountability, and this is especially true when modeled from the top down. It is paramount that people in leadership roles communicate clearly and truthfully and hold themselves to the same set of standards. Derek Hoffman, Head of Operations at Bizzy Cold Brew, identifies this as one of the foundational reasons for their success. “Leaders must be committed to full process transparency in order to engage the workforce. And it has to be demonstrated and not just talked about. We say, ‘Delegate to elevate!’ and this teamwork mindset really translates to growth,” Hoffman says.

Whether you’re communicating about specific operations, long-range plans, or benefits and compensation, be honest, transparent and consistent. When communication is prioritized, employee engagement, loyalty and productivity all increase.

Integrate Digital Technology

Integrating digital technology into your production and your administrative workflow will streamline your operation and boost your profitability. Digital solutions provide data security and process repeatability, set you up for regulatory compliance, and free up time so that you and your workforce can work on big-picture projects and opportunity expansions. Empower your employees with tools that improve their day-to-day and watch their potential grow. Hoffman reflects on the immediate improvements when Bizzy adopted a digital partner. “Unburdening the team from tedious paperwork simplified daily tasks. It freed up lots of time, and we really got to work, working on our business and not just in our business,” he says.

And when you adopt a cloud-based ERP platform, 100% of your operational data is accessible from anywhere at any time, so your workplace becomes adaptable. Aside from physical machine work, many tasks in a modern manufacturing operation can be done during flexible hours and in virtual spaces. Which leads us to our last component…

Prioritize Employee Wellness

It is universally understood that members of your team are whole people with complex lives outside of work. When people feel supported as individuals, they have more energy for all the things that give back to them — work included. In today’s workplace, flexibility is the name of the game, so whenever possible, meet people where they are. And the good news is that if you’re committed to these first four components, chances are your employees feel seen, safe, and valued. Now it’s time to think outside of the box to see how you can support them as people and retain better employees as a result.

Human Resource professionals are an integral part of manufacturing operations. Because no matter what product you are making, it’s the people on your team who make it happen.

Talk to an expert today and learn how Wherefour can simplify your business and solve your headaches.

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