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4 Practical Advantages to Building a Winning Company Culture in Manufacturing (or Any Industry!)

4 Practical Advantages to Building a Winning Company Culture in Manufacturing or Any Business

Your company can reap significant benefits from building a winning company culture. Your employees will thank you. Your customers will thank you. And your bottom line will thank you.

Focusing on improving your company culture can dramatically impact performance no matter what business you’re in. From our experience working with our manufacturing clients, we’re seeing paradigm shifts in productivity, efficiency, and savings across the board when company culture matters.

We’ve written extensively about how to build a winning company culture with our 7 Pillars of Culture Performance Management series and more. For this article, however, let’s look at some of the specific and practical benefits to focusing on improving your workplace culture.

1. Improved Operational Performance. In Other Words, the Numbers Will Improve. Dramatically.

Happier people perform at higher levels. It’s pretty much a universal truth. And in this instance, being happier at work means being valued, appreciated, engaged with, and heard by management. A recent Forbes article reported that “happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. When it comes to people in sales, happiness has an even greater impact, raising sales by 37%.”

But the benefits of building a winning company culture don’t end there. Those engaged and satisfied employees can significantly impact your overall company growth and the bottom line. According to Forbes, the stock prices of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work for” rose 14% per year from 1998 to 2005, while companies not on the list only reported a 6% increase.

So how does it work? A winning culture improves the granular, departmental, daily, and shift-wise metrics like uptime, capacity, yield, maintenance performance, and throughput that roll up into the higher level KPIs such as overall productivity, efficiency, quality, cost reduction, ROA (Return on Assets), and profitability.

You can’t build a winning culture that performs at a high level without improving the daily performance numbers. And you can’t improve the daily metrics with an undervalued, unappreciated, and unempowered workforce.

If your employees are unhappy and underperform, a typical management response is to add overtime and more people, increasing labor costs. Simply throwing more hours and bodies at the problem.

This practice can make those unproductive hours even more costly and dramatically decrease profitability, especially with rising labor costs. It makes better sense to attack the problem at the root: improving employee satisfaction and engagement. In other words, improving your culture.

2. Improved Cohesion, Communication, and Connectedness Gets Everyone Pulling in the Same Direction.

A winning company culture creates a sense of purpose that is commonly understood across the organization at every level. The business’ values and purpose are clearly documented and communicated. And the employee attitudes and behaviors reflect and embody those core values, beginning with your company leaders. 

This shared “hive mentality” improves communication, connectedness, and cohesion at every level of your organization. We like to say that it turns “us and them” into “we.” Performance-wise, a business comprised of people with shared values, purpose, and mission is more agile in the marketplace, able to adapt to change, and outperform competitors.

One of the main reasons scores of people underperform at work (or simply quit) is a lack of feeling appreciated and valued by management. As a result, they do not feel connected to the business. This failure is often attributed to leadership failing to recognize and appreciate their performance. And often for simply not listening.

But in many instances, we find that leaders fail to embody the values and behaviors they expect from their employees. This disconnect not only sends mixed signals about the authenticity of the culture you’re trying to build but also undercuts its importance.

Training and developing your managers, supervisors, and frontline leaders empowers them to work better with their direct reports. Leaders who are invested and engaged with their company culture, and understand and exemplify its values, are more likely to be fully committed and accountable for its success. And ultimately, they are more likely to engender those same attitudes and behaviors to empower their employees. 

3. You Become Like a Magnet for Attracting and Retaining Talented People.

Finding the right people to fill critical roles (or, for many businesses, any roles!) is proving challenging right now. The labor market is extremely tight. So how does improving your culture help you solve this issue? People want to come to work in an organization with a thriving and robust company culture. It’s that simple.

Ask anyone in your HR department if an improved company culture would help them attract and land the right people for the job. It will be a resounding “yes!”

Gallup reports that companies with robust, thriving cultures and engaged employees enjoy a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 24% reduction in turnover. These are colossal productivity advantages. In addition, the decrease in training costs and learning curves are massive boons to productivity and profitability alone.

A recent Business News Daily article cites these crucial statistics for your company culture’s impact on hiring and employee retention.

  • When searching for a new job, 77% of respondents said they would consider a company’s culture before applying.
  • 65% of American millennials are more likely to care about work culture over salary.
  • 89% of adults polled told researchers that it was important for employers to “have a clear mission and purpose.”

A great company culture builds employee trust, loyalty, and longevity. Recognizing individual accomplishments, coaching, mentoring, training, developing, and promoting from within are all signs of a company culture designed for the betterment of its people.

This type of commitment can truly reinvigorate long-time employees and attract and integrate new team members more easily. This type of company gets people excited to come to work.

4. Happier Customers. Period.

What business doesn’t want happier, more satisfied customers? As we’ve shown, improving your company culture improves your numbers and bottom line, leaving you in a far better position to satisfy your customers and respond to the marketplace.

Although supply issues and outright bottlenecks are improving somewhat, getting customers their goods as promised is still a challenge up and down the value chain. Your surest bet to continue satisfying your customers and retaining (and improving) your competitive advantage is to lower existing costs and improve productivity and efficiency. You simply can’t expect that kind of performance improvement without focusing on your people and your culture.

Beyond performance gains, your customers are increasingly aware of your company culture and its authenticity. If you have “we put our customers first” as any part of your core values, and you don’t deliver on that promise, it’s obvious, and your business may suffer.

Building a company culture wherein your people embody that “we put our customers first” commitment, but better yet, know how to connect the right attitudes and behaviors into daily performance outcomes is a winning combination. This is a winning culture your customers will notice.

The POWERS Difference

Our unique approach to improving operational performance by focusing on your people is the key to turning an “us and them” culture into a thriving “we” culture. For us, “WE” means Workforce Empowerment. That’s why “WE” is at the center of POWERS! 

Our proven Culture Performance Management™ (CPM) methodology connects the dots between optimized company culture and desired operational performance outcomes. It can help break down silos, and open lines of effective communication, collaboration, innovation, and help lower costs.

Our team has helped executive leadership across many industries implement CPM to operationalize their culture for rapid and sustained performance improvement, increased competitive advantage, greater value, and a stronger bottom line.

To put our experienced team and proven track record to work for you, schedule an initial discovery and analysis by calling +1 678-971-4711, or emailing us at info@thepowerscompany.com.

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About the Author

Sean Hart

CEO, Managing Partner

Sean Hart is an industrial engineer with a background in manufacturing supervision and project management. Sean’s background is in improving overall plant efficiencies and implementing Lean techniques to improve processes.