Real recognition: Expert lists “Top 10” ways to keep auto workers productive

Roy Saunderson, president of Recognition Management Institute, a worldwide consulting firm focused on helping companies motivate their workforces to increase productivity thus profits, has prepared a “Top 10” for how HR professionals, department managers, frontline supervisors, and C-level execs can keep autoworkers focused on the job during the bailout/bankruptcy uncertainty.
By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff December 15, 2008

Roy Saunderson, president of Recognition Management Institute , a worldwide consulting firm focused on helping companies motivate their workforces to increase productivity thus profits, has prepared a “ Top 10 ” for how HR professionals, department managers, frontline supervisors, and C-level execs can keep autoworkers focused on the job during the bailout/bankruptcy uncertainty.

Author of GIVING The Real Recognition Way , Saunderson believes, in this case, business must go on as usual when something very unusual is going on. Here’s how:

1. Hold regular team or staff meetings . Keep everyone posted on the latest developments and be right up front about the unknowns. Consistent communication and awareness building are essential.

2. Ensure company liaison person is a trusted representative . Workers need to know they don’t have to shoot the messenger and that their concerns will always be sent back to management the way they were given.

3. Deal with the real emotions first . Provide genuine sympathetic feedback and acknowledge employees’ internal roller-coaster feelings of emotional and psychological stresses with the present and anticipated changes. Set up and increase EAP counseling support and credit counseling services as well.

4. Deal with the situations second . Each person’s life holds a different set of circumstances. Listen carefully without interrupting and determine the harsh realities quickly and with caring concern. Supervisors must make more face-to-face time with employees during these uncertain times.

5. Prepare for the “what-if?” scenarios . Determine who might lose the most whether it is job loss or change in job position. Set the stage with these individuals and start some job planning and coaching for any negative preparation.

6. Treat missed work days sensitively . Stress is real and creates physical manifestations that mirror regular illnesses. The key for dealing with absences is direct contact with the employee to identify the problem, expressing that you missed them, and socially reinforcing their presence upon their return.

7. Take the bull by the horns . There is no magic bullet for the auto sector’s problems. Involvement breeds commitment so use pre-shift meetings and solicit efficiency and quality improvement ideas to forward on to management for consideration.

8. Rally people together to help fellow employees . Work together with union groups to solicit coats, gifts and food for colleagues already affected by the economic downturn. Focusing on the needs of others helps to minimize one’s own concerns.

9. Emphasize the importance of wellness . Provide internal and external resources for health and wellness information for tips on getting proper rest, healthy nutrition and basic exercise to keep physically fit.

10. Give one-on-one regular feedback . During the tough times people doubt their abilities and need to know how they are doing. Lack of recognition has been identified as a source of stress independent of the turmoil we are in. So give specific and meaningful praise and recognition as often as you can.

About the author: Roy Saunderson is president of Recognition Management Institute , a worldwide consulting firm helping companies motivate their workforce to increase productivity thus profits.