Strategies for Elevating the Manufacturing Employee Experience: Part 2

manufacturing factory worker

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”  ~William Arthur Ward

Imagine if your employees felt grateful to come to work every day and their jobs were full of joy - what a fitting theme with Thanksgiving just a few days away!  

Which makes this a fitting time to complete the review of strategies for elevating the manufacturing employee experience. With digital manufacturing a top priority for many companies (68%), a significant focus has been on implementing plant and production-related technologies, but this has started to shift.  

Consider how the integration of digital and human capital is transforming manufacturing today – the reality is 72% of tasks in the typical factory are performed by people and 71% of the value created by the operation comes from human actions. So, while investments to drive operational efficiencies are critical (smart factory, advanced automation, AI, etc.), the truth is that people will remain the number one factor in any manufacturer’s ability to achieve its operational and financial goals.

That’s why many of the manufacturing CHROs, CFOs, and COOs we work with are recognizing the importance of employee enablement technologies. This has extended digital transformation efforts beyond the plant floor, and into the realm of human capital management and workforce management. 

The team member experience fuels operational excellence

operational excellence

In part one of this blog, we focused on two stages of the employee experience transformation cycle:

  • Empower: Elevate the hourly team member experience by creating a workplace where people are empowered and feel valued as employees and individuals 

  • Plan: Align employee schedules with production demand in a way that balances safety, compliance, and productivity with team member preferences 

In this post, we’ll focus on strategies for the other two stages of this cycle, Execute and Improve:


Even with a solid plan, manufacturers need to be prepared to react and respond to changes during every shift. That’s why they need timely visibility to critical data and decision-support tools to help their teams execute quickly and decisively.

Areas of opportunity:

  • Proactive management: Deliver timely, proactive alerts via mobile to your managers so they can quickly identify potential problems, for example, when all the employees scheduled to work on a particular production line haven’t clocked in

  • Operational agility: Provide managers and employees with easy-to-use decision support tools that evaluate multiple variables and make intelligent recommendations, such as who is best qualified to replace a no-call, no show, or alerting employees when an extra shift is up for grabs

  • Inter-shift visibility: To keep daily production schedules on track, frontline managers need real-time visibility to operational metrics like efficiency or productivity, so they can focus on helping their team members who need extra support to get the job done


For manufacturers, continuous improvement is a state of being requiring constant analysis of what’s working and what’s not, so they can adapt and adjust operational and labor strategies.

Areas of opportunity: 

  • Performance measurement: Executives, managers, and employees need visibility to data and analytics that will help them measure performance against operational and financial targets, identify trends and issues, and uncover the root cause so corrective action can be taken

  • Real-time reconciliation: Labor variance is a common challenge faced by manufacturers but with automatic reconciliation of timecards and schedules, managers can reduce such variances by optimizing the first 40 hours for all FTEs and eliminating use of unnecessary overtime — which helps prevent employees from feeling overworked and keeps labor budgets stay in check 

  • Labor modeling: Give managers the ability to take sample production volumes and run scenarios for future schedule periods to understand the skill sets and capabilities needed to meet production goals, which helps to identify potential coverage gaps — allowing managers to take action to hire temps, open a new req, or preferably, cross-train other team members to learn a new skillset

These are just a few ways that people-centric policies, processes, and technology can elevate the employee experience while maintaining a focus on operational excellence.

By embracing a people-centric workforce management technology approach you will actively improve the hourly team member experience and give all your employees the immediate insight needed to drive more effective decision making and improved performance. It’s proven that organizations that actively engage their team members experience better business results.


See how UKG Dimensions can help transform the employee experience to fuel operational excellence in manufacturing.