Blog Post | , ,

5 Manufacturing Employee Engagement Tips

Kristina Finn

December 21, 2022

Attracting and retaining a quality workforce is one of the biggest operational challenges facing manufacturers today, as voluntary separations continue to exceed layoffs and discharges.

Fortunately, the key to manufacturing employee retention is not a secret — it’s clear that the best way to retain employees is to keep them engaged. Workers stay with their current employer because they enjoy their work, have job stability and security, appreciate a family-oriented culture, and are afforded the flexibility to balance personal life demands.

Here are five proven tips you can start using today to encourage employee engagement in your manufacturing business.

1. Focus on Skills Development and Career Growth Opportunities

In our WorkStep Workforce Insights, time and time again career growth is the #1 turnover driver. Workers are making it clear they want growth opportunities and employers risk ignoring them at their own peril. Make sure workers not only have the ability to grow within your company but that they know which career growth paths are available to them and what they need to do to take advantage of these opportunities.

 2. Offer a Competitive Compensation and Benefits Package

Manufacturing wages have been increasing steadily over the last few years and so at minimum, you need to keep parity with market wages to remain competitive, especially given today’s high inflationary pressure.

Research suggests that 83% of manufacturers report non-salary employee benefit packages are important or very important. Beyond increasing pay, consider offering health insurance, PTO, and sick leave to all employees, as well as sign-on and referral bonuses, production and safety incentives, retirement benefits, childcare and eldercare, employee assistance programs, and flexible work schedules.

3. Strengthen Your DE&I Efforts

While some manufacturers have increased hiring efforts toward racial/ethnic and gender minorities, military veterans, LGBTQ+, and disabled employees in recent years, there is certainly a tremendous amount of work yet to be done. Women account for only 1/3 of the total manufacturing workforce and employees of color continue to be underrepresented. Beyond just hiring of course, DE&I means creating an inclusivity-first organization that welcomes all employees in an environment in which they can thrive without encumbrance.

Make DE&I an organization-wide priority by assigning an executive level position focused on DE&I and ensuring leadership and employees at all levels are educated on your policy so they can integrate into each employee’s everyday work experience.

You’ll find that when implemented comprehensively, DE&I efforts are a competitive advantage because they increase your potential hiring pool, diversify your workforce skillset, and lead to happier, more productive employees.

4. Prioritize Relationship Building

We all spend a significant portion of our lives working, and so it’s only natural that workplace relationships contribute in large measure to our overall well-being and sense of fulfillment.

Communicate regularly with workers so they know they are a valued, vital part of a team contributing towards a common goal. Supervisors and managers should be available, approachable, and receptive to hearing employee ideas and make an effort to interact with and get to know their frontline workers. They should routinely acknowledge workplace achievements publicly and celebrate personal and professional milestones in meetings and announcements.

5. Promote a Collaborative Environment

As we’ve said before, the best way to encourage employee engagement, is to engage with workers through ongoing communication.

Give your employees a voice by checking in with them regularly and taking action on their feedback. Your employees can be your most prized ideation and business analytics resource because they are involved in every aspect of your organization. By communicating with them in an open and collaborative manner, you not only ensure that they are engaged and feel heard, but you enable them to share valuable insight on your business operational strengths and weaknesses.

In manufacturing especially, safety is paramount and when you empower your employees to communicate proactively, they can alert you to potential safety concerns so you can take action
before they become serious issues.


Ready to bolster manufacturing employee engagement with a modern, intuitive platform that offers real-time analytics and remarkable customization?

Schedule a RETAIN demo to see how.

Kristina Finn

Kristina Finn, Content Marketing Manager |