How To Build a Highly-Engaged Workforce

A highly engaged blue-collar workforce results in higher employee retention, higher company earnings, and fewer safety incidents.

Workers today want to be involved with their organization and feel excited about the company that they work for. Sadly, only 38% of American employees are engaged at work. Don’t let the statistics bring you down, it just means there is a lot of room for improvement. Having a highly engaged workforce brings huge benefits to your company such as fewer safety incidents, greater employee satisfaction, lower absenteeism, and higher retention. They even see 147% higher earnings than other businesses.

So, how can you achieve this success? Here are three ways to engage your blue-collar workforce:

Get Feedback With Onboarding Surveys

You’ve heard that first impressions last, well an onboarding survey can be your company's first impression. Onboarding surveys give you a chance to build a rapport with your employees from the get-go. Administering an onboarding survey can show you:

If you want your employees to feel like they can talk to you, make sure you ask them about their initial experience. Ask your new hires if they liked or disliked their onboarding experience, if they would have changed anything, and why they felt this way. You’re now opening a line of communication between you and your new employees, so they can come to you with other questions, praises, or concerns.

PRO-TIP: If your workforce is out in the field or on the shop floor, text message surveys are the most effective way to reach them and actually get responses.

Praise a Job Well-Done

There are no drawbacks to praising your employees when they do an exceptional job. In fact, praising your blue-collar workforce increases motivation, productivity, quality work, and employee retention. There are a few different ways that you can praise your employees:

  • Tangible rewards: If you want to give a specific employee a gift for their hard work, you can give them gift cards, sports tickets, or company swag. If your employees use special tools or wear certain gear, a creative gift could be getting them high-quality gear or tools with your company logo.
  • Monetary rewards: A popular reward among blue-collar employees, monetary rewards can be raises, bonuses, or extra PTO days. If your employees tend to enjoy experiences over money, gifting extra PTO days is a good option.
  • Verbal Recognition: Blue-collar employees prefer recognition from their peers. It is important that you not only reach out to your employees and praise them yourself but publicly praise those workers to the entire company.

Ken Smithson, General Manager at Santa Maria Area Transit, chose to monetarily and verbally reward his employees for a job well done. He sent out a text message to all of his employees, and posted the names of the operators who earned the safety incentive for everyone to see.

Announcement congratulating employees on a job well-done
  • Appreciation Days-If you are looking to reward all of your employees, throwing an event can show them they matter. Martin Bros. Distributing celebrated Driver Appreciation Week by providing their employees with a free lunch.
Employee survey conducted on employee appreciation week

Praising your employees is an easy way to improve engagement and productivity. Not only does your company rake in the benefits, but you do too, especially if you provide free lunch.

Employee Referrals

If you’re hiring, your employees probably know other great people to hire. In fact, employee referrals are the best source for hiring hourly workers. Encourage current employees to help out with the hiring process by asking for their referrals. You’ll get tons of quality candidates, making your job easier, and you’ll see that your employees can help you out in more ways than with just their day-to-day work.

Building a highly-engaged workforce can take time, but it’s worth it when it comes to building a strong, productive workforce. Don’t just take our word for it, see what industry experts have been doing to engage their workforce: Expert Tips on Employee Engagement

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