8 tools & tips to keep your fabrication workforce happy

Your workforce is an essential part of your business. Their level of expertise and how well they get along can hugely change your team’s overall performance and job satisfaction. 

With 25% of Australian manufacturing employees reporting high satisfaction levels, how can you stand out to attract and retain good employees beyond the salary? 

When you find the right team members, there are a few things that you can do to help build loyalty and job satisfaction and improve your retention rate. 

How well does your business rank for each factor? 

Work-life balance

“Work to live, not live to work”. Whether it’s holidays, weddings, sick days, sudden emergencies or car breakdowns, sometimes life happens for better or for worse. Being flexible and giving your team the opportunity to put life first will help you create a workplace that people want to be part of. 

Your workforce should feel free to take leave days without feeling guilty or stressed. 

Show them how they contribute

According to surveys, meaningfulness ranks hire than pay, autonomy, opportunities and recognition as a factor in job satisfaction. Whether it’s big picture or everyday contributions, helping your team focus on the value they bring can help them feel happier at work. 

It might be through one on one acknowledgement, or as part of a team meeting. If you’re struggling to find something in the work that motivates your team, using some profit to contribute to local charities or community groups can help show the difference their work has on the community. 

Be straightforward

Everyone appreciates honesty. If your employees feel like they can’t trust what you say then they may be less likely to bring things up with you or listen to your directives. It’s important to keep good communication channels up with your workforce by being clear with what you say and not being disingenuous.

Encourage communication

Similarly, if your team feel like what they say doesn’t matter, then they are less likely to speak up. It can have a major, negative impact on your team’s morale and even safety. You won’t always be able to action feedback that’s given, but acknowledging it and giving reasons will help your team feel heard. 

If you have a bigger team it’s especially important to have processes in place to help feedback get to where it needs to go. Be it a regular meeting, a suggestions box or an email address. 

Acknowledge & appreciate

Everybody likes recognition for a job well done. While some people prefer one on one conversations, others a bonus and some a round of applause, it’s always nice to give your team the credit they deserve when they are performing well. 

It’s important to try to be impartial and fair when giving kudos to your team, or it could have the opposite effect. Picking key, data-driven metrics and communicating these with your team is key.

For example, you might want to set a number of won deals each month for your sales team, or a project margin goal for your operational staff. Solutions like WorkGuru can help you track these stats quickly and easily, making understanding and acknowledging the work of your team that much easier. 

Understand & communicate your workplace benefits

There are just some places that it seems that everyone wants to work at and that’s usually because of good word of mouth. If you know your workplace does things differently to make your team happier then don’t be afraid to flaunt it. Add it to your job descriptions and your “About Us” section on your website. People like to work for and work with happy people, so show your commitment to that. 

By communicating your benefits in the job description, you may be more likely to find people that value the benefits you offer. So, your growing workforce will share the same values and help keep them alive and well in your business. 

Read more: 5 Ways to Improve Your Fabrication Productivity

Set good expectations

In the same vein, you don’t want to overpromise what your business will do. Expectations play a huge role in satisfaction. For example, if you do a Maccas run, you expect fast, inexpensive food. You will be dissatisfied if you have to wait 20 minutes to get it. If you went to a high-end restaurant, a 20-minute wait might seem fast, but you’d be irate if they bought out a Big Mac (even if they did it quickly!). 

In the same way, if you promise that your a “chilled-out” workplace, but often have to work hard to meet tight deadlines, then you’ll likely have some dissatisfied staff. Understanding the actual benefits of your workplace can go a long way to helping attract the right people and keep them happy. 

Training opportunities

Providing opportunities for growth and development mean better job security and stability for employees. Helping your team to stay up to date with the latest training and crucial technology can help them feel valued and important.

It can also benefit your business to have a workforce that is able to work more effectively. Whether it’s teaching them to use technology to their benefit, cross-skilling roles or supporting your staff to seek other training opportunities you and your staff can both benefit from.