People Problems: How Are You Managing?

Finding and hiring good people.  The problem is getting worse as baby boomers leave the workforce, taking their skills and tribal knowledge along with them, making it even more important for manufacturers to attract qualified replacements in a tough workforce environment.  But finding those good folks is only part of the issue; retaining the workers you get is even more important.  Every employee you retain is one you don’t have to replace.  And when you have gained a reputation for high employee retention, word gets out that yours is a good company to work for, making your hiring experience easier.

But why do people leave?  Sure, money is always important, but it’s not the biggest reason people move on.  A Gallup study found that about half of people surveyed left a job to get away from their manager.  Half!  50%!  So there’s a one in two chance your employment issues could be related to how your people are being led by management and supervisors.  Maybe it’s time to stop saying, “we can’t find good people” and instead decide it’s time to say, “we need to do better at developing and retaining good people.”

Bad leadership and supervision, and the negative work environment created by it, is arguably the biggest reason employees move on.  So, no matter how hard you work to find good people for your workforce, you’re likely to lose ground if you haven’t got good management on the floor to help those new hires fit in, learn and engage in the company to become happy and productive long-term employees.

Here’s a common scenario:  You have equipment operators who are good at their jobs, and you promote them to a front-line supervisor positions.  Then you leave them on their own to succeed or fail in their new role.  You don’t give them the training they need to understand basic management skills or handle people problems.  They have no clue how to deal with people who don’t show up on time or can’t get along with the team.  Your people problems persist, or get worse, and you blame it all on the available workforce pool, instead of looking inside to see how your company could do a better job of making your people great.

Being a good supervisor isn’t something that’s innate to most people, so they need to be taught how to be good leaders, how to supervise people to promote the team effort, engage people in their responsibilities and create a workplace environment where people want to work and be productive.  This sounds so simple, doesn’t it?  It obviously isn’t.

A tried and true answer to this very real problem is a program called Training Within Industry (TWI).  TWI teaches essential skills for supervisors, team leaders and those who direct the work of others.  Job Relations is a training module within the TWI program, and it was specifically created to help supervisors gain the cooperation of those whose work they direct, all to create an efficient, productive work environment that yields quality work.

This is not rocket science…the Job Relations module in TWI is full of basic principles that good supervisors have known all along…some might call them “common sense” principles.  But the truth is that what we often call common sense, simply isn’t all that common.  You’ve got to teach and reinforce these basic principles instead of just assuming your supervisors understand them.  TWI’s Job Relations program is for all supervisors, the new and the seasoned; the new learn important principles of leadership and the seasoned hone their skills and get better.  Together, the whole team gets on the same page.

Here are some key components of TWI’s Job Relations module:

  • Preventing people problems from happening in the first place.
  • How to solve problems when they do happen.
  • A 4-step process that’s easy to remember and use.
    • Get the Facts
    • Weigh and Decide.
    • Take Action.
    • Check Results.
  • Participants are guided through the 4-step process to tackle a real-life employee problem they’re currently experiencing or have had in the past.
  • Participants learn from others they are not alone with the problems they face, and often find creative ways to solve common issues.
  • The company gains a consistent methodology for dealing with people problems.
  • A “Train and Do” approach, with 10 hours of instruction typically spread out over four or five consecutive days.
  • A track record of positive results!

Through the TWI Job Relations program, Missouri Enterprise can help you transform the way your people deal with people.  It’s a simple process that works, and just may help you get better at retaining the good people you need, and create a workplace where people want to come to you.