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Best Workplaces™ for Manufacturing – Moving Forward with Resilience

Best Workplaces™ for Manufacturing – Moving Forward with Resilience

The manufacturing industry in Canada has seen its fair share of challenges recently and predictions are that many of these will continue into 2023 and potentially 2024. Supply chain issues, rising material costs and a shortage of skilled labour all arising from global pressures including the pandemic and geopolitical unrest are having an impact so emerging as one of the Best Workplaces™ for Manufacturing is an enviable feat.  

A common thread within these Best Workplaces’ cultures is resilience – the ability to respond to stresses and challenges with a positive outlook; to shift and adapt and remain nimble in the face of change; and to frame setbacks as opportunities versus catastrophes. Resilience really is the backbone of a successful organization.  In our modern world change is faster paced than ever before and people need tools and support to remain focused and to perform at their best when challenges arise.

  • Resilience allows employees to learn and grow with change.
  • Resilience is a buffer for stress and pressure that can lead to burnout if left unchecked.
  • Resilience is transmissible as resilient people (leaders and team members alike) inspire those around them to be positive problem-solvers instead of negative naysayers.

To build and encourage resilience in your organization it’s important that your people are appropriately challenged, empowered to make decisions that allows them to feel in control, and supported by their leaders and team members. The Best Workplaces for Manufacturing are realizing success in this area and it’s paying off with how their people experience key elements within their culture. Below are some insights.

Reframing Challenges

In resilient workplaces, difficulty is exciting not paralyzing. Employees see difficulty and change and as an exciting part of life. They look at it as an opportunity to grow and learn. And they trust that the organization has a solid set of values and guidelines that will help them rise to the challenge and not buckle under the pressure with the easiest solution. To create this level of trust means being ok with mistakes and it means having well defined values that are practiced as much as they are preached, particularly in the face of adversity. Employees at the organizations on our list overwhelmingly experience both of these conditions:

90% Agree:     My manager recognizes honest mistakes as part of doing business.

90% Agree    Management is honest and ethical in its business practices.

Creating a culture that views mistakes as opportunities is in itself a challenge. No one likes, or wants, to fail but failure does happen and how you deal with it correlates with your level of resilience. When an organization openly accepts mistakes as part of the learning and growing process, employees are much more likely to adopt resilient behaviours including remaining positive and optimistic. They are also better prepared to find solutions on their own knowing they aren’t going to be penalized or harshly judged for having made a mistake.

These attitudes are tightly woven into organizational values and reflected in the day-to-day culture. When employees see leaders making decisions rooted in the organization’s values it instills confidence that if they remain values-focused they too will be successful. It helps them understand the framework necessary to achieve their goals and they are less likely to second-guess their own decisions and act in ways that are contrary to the values.  When faced with challenges, this deep-rooted commitment to values helps ensure the best decisions are made; and whether it ends up being the ‘right’ decision can be dealt with over time.

Empowering Action

Resilient workers are committed to doing the right thing and they have the tools necessary to do so. They are goal oriented and they take ownership of their successes and make corrections as needed. They feel in control and this is what contributes to their resiliency and creates a strong, positive approach to work and to life in general. Trust and empowerment go hand in hand and they are incredibly important to developing and maintaining resiliency.  At the Best Workplaces for Manufacturing employees agree:

89% Agree:     My manager trusts people to do a good job without watching over their shoulders.

88% Agree:     I am given the resources and equipment to do my job.

Allowing people the freedom to own their work by setting their goals and taking responsibility for execution and course correction creates a strong sense of empowerment. Trusting employees to get their work done without being micromanaged is key to this. And to do this well means creating the foundation, establishing solid protocols and guidelines, and then letting people figure it out knowing you are there to provide direction and support as necessary.

Part of this support is providing tools and resources that ensure people feel confident they can achieve their goals. When you actively help people identify and develop their strengths this boosts their self-efficacy and they begin to trust their own abilities. Creating this positive self-affirming cycle means as people achieve success they rightfully attribute it to their own efforts and when they have a setback they know they have the tools to manage it.

Providing Support

Resilience is a team sport. Resilient workplaces know the value of providing support and likewise resilient people have a healthy understanding that when things go wrong their support network is key to helping them bounce back. They are keenly aware that they can only control what is in their sphere of influence and they need to rely on others to help them with circumstances beyond their control. Again, it’s this sense of trust in the people around them that determines success and positive outcomes. The Best Workplaces provide this support by ensuring people can bring their best selves to work and being open and approachable. Employees at the best manufacturing organizations on our list experience this support consistently:

91% Agree:     I can be myself with my team.

90% Agree:     My manager is approachable, easy to talk to.

By letting people be themselves and feel seen for who they are, you communicate unconditional support and trust. You signal that you appreciate them and all they have to offer which is the highest level of support you can give. Employees who feel worthy of your support and trust will weather stresses and setbacks with a healthy dose of reality and are better able to grow and move forward through challenges.

When people know they are supported they are also more likely to ask for assistance and be open to coaching and guidance. This is an important element of developing resilience. Let your people know you are there for them, whenever and for whatever they need. Help them understand your role in their success and that you are as invested in their success as they are. Instill confidence in them by appreciating their skills and outcomes and connecting what they do with the organization’s success.

Resiliency is key to creating a positive, agile workplace that is ready and able to respond to the challenges it faces. By developing this quality in your people you help them thrive during times of change and that will set them up for success in the long term no matter where they land or the challenges they face.

Great Place to Work® makes it easy to survey your employees, uncover actionable insights and get recognized for your great company culture. Clients apply our insights, advice, and tools to fuel the vision, decisions and actions that drive business performance.

 

About Great Place to Work®
Great Place to Work® makes it easy to survey your employees, uncover actionable insights and get recognized for your great company culture. Clients apply our insights, advice, and tools to fuel the vision, decisions and actions that drive business performance. 

Learn more about Great Place to Work Certification.


Nancy Fonseca