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3 Ways Manufacturing & Production Organisations are Driving Employee Engagement

26 March 2024

Only 49% of UK employees in the manufacturing & production sector look forward to coming to work.1 When the data proves that happy, engaged employees lead to better business outcomes, that's a sorry state for both staff and organisations.

But some workplaces in the sector are rising above the rest. In manufacturing & production organisations recognised on our UK's Best Workplaces List, the number of employees who report a genuine sense of enthusiasm to come to work rises by 28 percentage points to 77%. So, what makes the difference to employee engagement at these organisations?

How manufacturing & production companies are boosting employee engagement

They support their employees' wellbeing – no matter where they are based

In the manufacturing & production sector, employees are often scattered across various locations – e.g. in factories, an office, a warehouse, driving delivery trucks, and so on. Wellbeing is vital to fostering engagement, but supporting the diverse wellbeing needs of these employees can be a challenge. One that UK's Best Workplace™ Northumbrian Water Group have risen to.

Their award-winning employee wellbeing platform, Living Well, focuses on three core elements: mind, body and social. In response to feedback from their people, the company made the platform accessible 24/7 from any personal device, as well as adding QR codes in their fleet of vans to enable quick and easy access for employees on-the-go.

After requests for more expert-run sessions on various topics, Northumbrian Water Group worked with external partners to deliver masterclasses on topics such as financial wellbeing, psychological safety and neurodiversity. These sessions are available live as well as on-demand via Living Well, so employees can benefit whenever and wherever suits them. 


Their leaders are supportive and approachable

The importance of empathetic and authentic leadership in nurturing happy, engaged employees cannot be understated.

Our data shows that employees who believe management shows a genuine interest in them as people, and not just employees, are 7X more likely to recommend the organisation to family and friends as ‘a great place to work’ than those whose managers fail to do so.

They’re also 7X more likely to feel the organisation is a psychologically and emotionally healthy place to work, which significantly impacts their wellbeing, engagement and intent to stay with the company – and, in turn, the business’ overall performance.

"One of the things that makes this place great for me is my manager. She cares so much about us, our wellbeing, and I have never felt more inspired. I owe it all to her," said one anonymous survey respondent at UK's Best Workplace SC Johnson.

In fact, at top-performing manufacturing & production companies, both senior leaders and line managers are repeatedly referenced by employees as part of what makes theirs a great workplace.


They empower their employees to make a difference

It's possible for divides to arise between different levels in any organisation, which may be particularly pronounced in sectors such as manufacturing and production, where responsibilities span from operational tasks on the factory floor to executive leadership roles in the C-Suite. 

But at the Best Workplaces, our data shows that every employee is made to feel equally important, no matter what their role, tenure, or geography. And everyone is given opportunities to share their views, ideas, concerns, and make a difference in the organisation.

As one anonymous employee shared with us recently:

"Employees are empowered to contribute to our business ways of working, as well as our company culture. Ideas are encouraged from all who work for General Mills, regardless of role or department, and sponsorship is available for those wanting to trial new ideas and projects."

Cultures like this are the reason that 84% of manufacturing & production employees at Best Workplaces feel they make a difference at their organisation – compared to the UK sector average of just 60%. And when employees feel their work is having an impact, this sense of purpose has a massive impact on engagement.


Practices like these don't just benefit employees. When people love where they work, they are more engaged, more productive, more innovative, and they want to stay at their organisation for longer.

In fact, employee turnover at Certified manufacturing and production companies is just 11.4%, compared to the UK sector average of 27%.

If you want to find out what your employees really think of your culture, and take the first step in being recognised as a great workplace – or even a Best Workplace in Manufacturing & Production™– surveying your employees is the first step.




1  Great Place To Work UK 2023 Population Study

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