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Transmission Platform

I'm Just Here to Collect a Paycheck

Explore the impact of workplace relationships on productivity and morale. Discover how fostering friendships can transform a manufacturing environment.

"Oh, they don't care about that. They just want to come in, do their jobs and go home." The HR director said to me.

"You seem so sure of that. May I ask why?" I replied.

"Absolutely. They're not here to make friends. They're here to collect a paycheck." She firmly stated.

And I sat there stunned....the FIRST time I heard this comment. In a matter of seconds, my thoughts bounced between a variety of different replies. None of which seemed professional to say aloud to a client. A client with years of experience in human resources. My lack of poker face must have gave way to my thoughts.

She chuckled. "You seem so surprised to hear that...as if I just busted your last balloon. We're in a factory. Most employees have earplugs in all day and only communicate with others during their breaks."

"What's your turn-over?" I blurted out before fully collecting my thoughts.

What's your turnover rate?

"It's high. This isn't a glamorous job." She sighs.

And that was the LAST time I doubted myself. I will never attempt to claim that I know more than anyone else but I will defend my unique perspective on situations. Years in management, marketing & advertising, countless hours of research and multiple case studies have confirmed that employees need to have friends at work. A simple Google search will provide you with pages of independent surveys conducted by any variety of groups or organizations that agree. Fun & friendships may not be two things that come to mind when you think about employees in manufacturing... (Insert skeptical side eye glances from everyone imagining silly string fights over a conveyor belt). Keep reading.

A Gallup poll recently found that:

  • Employees are 7x more likely to be fully engaged if they have friends at work.
  • 70% of employees say friends at work are the most crucial element to a happy working life.
  • 58% of men would refuse a higher-paying job if it meant not getting along with coworkers. 74% of women said the same.
  • 25% increase in morale and productivity for simple things like larger lunch tables.
  • 71% of employees want their co-workers to be a second family.
  • Work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50%.
  • 43% of employees who have a best friend at work are more likely to receive praise in the last seven days.
  • 37% of employees are likelier to have someone at work to encourage their development.
  • 35% of employees are more likely to report coworker commitment to quality.
  • 28% of employees that have a best friend at work are more likely to report that in the last six months, someone at work has talked to them about their progress.
  • 27% are more likely to report that their opinions seem to count at work.
  • 21% of employees with a best friend at work say they can do what they do best every day.
  • 50% of employees with a best friend at work reported that they feel a strong connection with their company.
  • 1/3 of adults have met at least one of their closest friends at work.
  • 36% of employees would give up $5000 a year in salary to be happier at work.

The Breakroom

Safety, quality, and productivity rule the manufacturing floor, but what rules your break rooms? Knowing that fun and friendships are key pieces in the employee engagement puzzle, we built it into our break room digital signage. Think of it as an employee communication dashboard designed for interaction. A variety of ways to interact...many with multiple benefits. {We're talking about just one so check out some of my other articles to learn more.}

Think about your most loyal, responsible and engaged employees. They're the ones you turn to when you need the troops rallied to support a new policy, a few overtime hours worked or someone to train the new guy. These employees have friends at work. Think about what you do with your friends... you talk and text; you share pics of family, opinions, and advice; you joke and laugh; you interact.

Social media is being used by 78% of your employees and 50% of them are talking about you there. First off, let's ensure it's positive. Second, let's use it to build camaraderie {and promote safety...just plugged another article there}. Yes, social media in manufacturing is a thing, but not in the way you're thinking. You set up a hashtag for employees to use. Let's say it's #WhyImSafe. Your employees share pics of their friends and family using that hashtag. Those pics show up in your break room digital signage loop. (Calm down, they're manually approved and moderated.) When your employees are back at work, sitting in the break room, they see the pic. I know you're thinking "Okkkkkkkkkkay....what's the point?"

The most obvious is that it reminds your employees that these people in the pic are counting on them to be safe at work and come home. That image might be the one that flashes through their mind as they're making a decision to do something, causes them to pause for a moment and evaluate the safety of their situation.

  • It shows your employees that you care about their safety and their families...you know that their families are their priority and you support that.
  • Others on social media see that hashtag and know that you, as a company, care about your employees. Those "others" on social media might be future employees, customers, etc. You can never have too much positive free publicity.
  • Everyone loves to have their 15 min of fame. Employees watch the digital signage just to see the pic they posted come up in the loop. It makes them feel special. Most importantly, they watch the digital signage. {and yes, another article.}
  • Employees see the pics other employees post. It gives them icebreakers...starts conversations. "Oh Joe, I see your grandson plays high school football. My daughter is a cheerleader. I wonder if they know each other?" They go home and ask their children. They come back to work tomorrow and share what they learned. They look for each other at the next football game. They see Bob, the new temp worker at the football game. They invite Bob to sit with their families. They're all friends now. They have friends at work.

How can this help my facility?

Everyone wants to look good in front of their friends, and they don't want to create strife in their friendships... so they start to pay more attention to the quality of their work. They like the people they work with, so they participate in the events you sponsor. They get to chat with each other for a few extra minutes at the staff meeting, so they start to look forward to them. They're comfortable with each so they're more likely to share their honest opinion and give feedback. They care about each other so they will address potentially harmful issues. The overall atmosphere is lighter and more entertaining so new employees feel like it's easier to start a conversation. (That "larger lunch table" stat above suddenly makes sense now, right?)

Little by little... you've watched your production and quality improve and noticed a boost in morale, fewer safety incidents, more engagement, and less turnover. We could go on and on about the benefits this produces {and I do in other articles}, but you get the point.

While all this is fresh in your mind, scroll back up and read those stats you skimmed...unless you still believe that employees are just here to collect a paycheck.

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