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Welcome to our first edition of the Microsoft Viva People Science industry trends series! The Viva People Science team works closely with global customers across a range of different industries spending time understanding their unique employee experiences, best practices, and challenges. Using Viva Glint data spanning 150 countries, over 10 million employees, and the with ability to analyze millions of employee survey comments, our People Science team is well positioned to consolidate a solid picture of the employee experience by industry.
In this blog, my colleague, @c_hutchinson, and I focus on the manufacturing industry. Our data shows that the general state of employee engagement in manufacturing today is one of decline. Employee happiness at work has dropped nearly two points since 2021. As companies continue to balance post-pandemic realities and the economic climate with employees’ needs, we recognize an essential opportunity to focus on employees’ wellbeing.
In one study highlighted in Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, it was found that 65% of frontline manufacturing workers around the world believe that stress will either stay the same or worsen in the coming year. Workload, low wages, and long workdays were cited as the top three reasons for work-related stress.
While stressors are related to work-life balance and compensation, attrition predictors are tied to perceptions of leadership, growth opportunities, and having meaningful work.
Research shows three key challenges that organizations need to overcome to improve the employee experience and lessen attrition:
1. Ensure employees feel connected to the organization's future during times of industry transformation and change
2. Adapt to the digital transformation
3. Establish flexible opportunities for all roles
As a People Science team, we recognize the best practice is for organizations to focus on the following to address challenges:
1. Direct and transparent communication is key to inspiring trust in leadership and building positivity around the future. 63% of all frontline workers say messages from leadership don’t make it to them, highlighting a big opportunity for building employee connection. Leaders should understand and address key barriers to communication for their frontline population.
2. Investing in emerging technology solutions can improve productivity and create growth opportunities to build confidence in how employees view their future within an organization. For example, 63% of frontline workers are excited about the job opportunity tech creates. Rapid development of relevant training programs as well as enabling managers to have frequent one-to-one conversations with your frontline employees can create more opportunity for career conversations, learning, and growth.
3. Leaders should empower employees through autonomy and work with frontline employees to understand their needs around flexible work arrangements. Frontline workers are often left out of flexible or hybrid work arrangements. Consider compressed work weeks, split shifts or shift swapping to mitigate burnout and create more equality of flexible work arrangement between your frontline and corporate populations.
Leave a comment below to let us know if this resonates and what you are seeing with your employees in this industry. A downloadable one-page summary is also available with this blog. Be sure to share with your colleagues and leaders who may find it helpful.
The Future of Flexible Work in Manufacturing, 2021
Microsoft Work Trend Index Special Report, 2022