What's Next? Preparing Employees for Rapid Increase in Production

Posted by Lisa Kenney on Mar 25, 2020 3:41:18 PM

During these days of rapid change and long isolation, it is easy to lose sight of the organization's longer-term needs.  Now is a good time to slow down and assess your organization’s strengths and challenges so that when we do return to a new normal, you’ll be able to upscale quickly with employees who are clear about and committed to your mission and vision.

Strong leaders will use this time to review the alignment of organizational goals and values with daily activities.  Involving employees, getting their input into where the organization is headed holds many great, often unexpected benefits.  People naturally get behind initiatives when they’ve been asked to provide their personal insights.

As we gradually return to business, employee engagement at all levels will be critical to drive back-up-to-speed levels of productivity.  Below are some suggestions that can assist with guiding resource allocation and enhancing efficiencies, and have the side benefit of improving employee engagement, even while we wait this one out.   

  • Host town hall style meetings with C level leaders (virtual or in very small groups. Using empathy, showing appreciation, involving each other in solutions and asking questions will go a long way to enhancing both personal and organizational connections.
  • Distribute a quick, 5-question on-line survey to employees. Include questions on strategy, process improvements and wish list items that would help everyone do their jobs more efficiently.  What unnecessary frustrations do your employees face?  What barriers can be removed?  Are there improvements that are easier to make now that the demands of production have changed?  
  • Identify critical positions within your organization and create job breakdowns that will enable cross training. This is a great time to identify pockets of tribal knowledge and lead these individuals through a constructive brain dump.  Create efficient breakdowns from this intel, including specific tasks, key points, important steps, and safety measures.  All of this work can be conducted from the safety of self-imposed isolation.
  • Clean and organize. There has never been a better, or a more critical time.  We all work smarter in an orderly space.  This will enable your team to improve their efficiency and productivity when things do return to normal.  It also gives everyone the feeling of a fresh start - something we will all need once we are at the end of this unprecedented time.  Clean & organize office spaces, pitch dated files, empty drawers of accumulated junk.  If you haven’t already, wipe down frequently used surfaces, disinfect and assure employees of their safety. 
  • Be on the lookout for hidden talents within your workforce! Adversity is the mother of invention. Be open to suggestions and ask your employees how their skills can contribute to the organizational goals. You might just be surprised at what you will find!

You can lead your employees through this downtime and downturn and come out on the other side with even higher levels of employee engagement and satisfaction.  It will not be easy, but it will be worth it.

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Questions? Contact the Illinois Manufacturing Helpline.

Lisa Kenney

Written by Lisa Kenney

Topics: employee engagement, productivity, remote work, COVID-19

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