5 Items on the Frontline Manufacturing Workforce’s Holiday Wish List

Happy manufacturing employee

The holidays are quickly approaching, wish lists are growing, and so is the pressure of getting all of your shopping done. Of course, seeing the look of joy on your friend or family member’s face after giving them what they wanted makes all the stress worth it. After all, the best part about this time of year is the giving rather than receiving, right?

With the manufacturing workforce working tirelessly throughout 2020, now is a great time to consider giving your frontline employees what they really want in terms of their workplace experience.

In 2019, Employee Bridge conducted a study with over 18,000 hourly workers to better understand the expectations of the blue-collar workforce when it comes to their place of employment and what factors help them decide to stay with a company or leave. Unsurprisingly, compensation was the most important factor as to why hourly workers decided to take a job in the first place. However, according to this survey, the largest number of respondents (26%) cited a “good” company culture as the primary reason they opted to stay with their company. 

The study reveals specific attributes that frontline workers feel comprise a “good” company culture which is why we created this blue-collar workforce wish list, so you can understand what your manufacturing workforce wants this year:


1.    Confidence in job security

Every employee wants peace of mind in knowing their job is safe. This holds even more weight in the midst of a global pandemic when constant uncertainty continues to loom. Manufacturing employees are relying on employers to protect their livelihoods and keep them safe while at work. If not contained, a single COVID-19 infection could potentially shut down entire factories and put employees out of work for weeks. Fortunately, there are actions that manufacturers can take to reduce risk in their workplaces. One option is to leverage contact tracing technology, which enables manufacturers to quickly identify employees potentially exposed to COVID-19, so they can make informed operational decisions and keep frontline employees safe and working. 

2.    Remain connected to the organization

With the constantly changing landscape of 2020, it can be extremely difficult for employees to keep up with new organizational policies and regulations. Add to that newly implemented procedures and processes in the factory to minimize social interaction, such as staggered shift starts, make it more challenging than ever for the hourly workforce to stay connected to the organization and understand decisions being made by senior leadership. Employees want to know what’s going on with the organization and it is the responsibility of the company to keep them informed. Thanks to modern workforce management technology, it’s easier than ever to keep hourly employees connected and engaged with seamless 2 way communication they can view on their mobile devices. With 81% of U.S. adults owning a smart phone, manufacturers should consider leveraging the same technology employees use in their personal lives to keep their workforce informed and connected.1

3.    Listen to their feedback

One of the most common themes from the Employee Bridge survey as to what blue-collar workers said builds a good company culture was feeling appreciated and valued as a person, not just being treated like a number. An easy way to accomplish this is to proactively listen to frontline employees and take their feedback seriously. They are working in the heart of operations and can provide great ideas and suggestions on anything from safety protocols to continuous improvement initiatives. By leveraging technology that allows employees to easily and anonymously provide feedback, manufacturers can make changes that benefit employees and make them feel like they have a voice.  

4.    Accurate compensation

An always important aspect when it comes to creating a good company culture is related to compensation. Of course, everyone wants to get paid more, but that’s not always feasible. However, there are other ways to alter pay practices to improve company culture and employee engagement. One option is to automate the payroll process to facilitate accurate and on-time compensation. Employees are relying on their paychecks to survive and payroll errors can be detrimental to creating a great employee experience. Another option is to offer financial wellness benefits, such as immediate access to earned wages. There are solutions available that allow employees to get paid for the time they worked as soon as they finish their shift. This can be an invaluable tool if an employee encounters an unforeseen expense. 

5.    Schedule flexibility

According to the Employee Bridge survey, another primary reason blue-collar workers choose to stay with a company is having a schedule that works for them. Whether the reason is to take care of non-work-related responsibilities or just personal preference, manufacturing employees want flexibility with their schedules to maintain adequate work-life balance. There are several options that manufacturers can consider to add flexibility to their scheduling practices, such as allowing employees to swap shifts or adjusting shift start times to accommodate working parents. Technology can help facilitate this while ensuring proper coverage is always maintained. 



Given the challenges the essential frontline manufacturing workforce has faced this year, they deserve the gift of a great workplace experience. As an employer, you have the power to make your frontline employees’ holiday season great by giving them what’s on their workplace wish list. The best part? By doing so you will be rewarded with more engaged, productive and loyal employees! 

Happy Holidays from UKG!

Click here to learn more about keeping your hourly employees connected and engaged.

Source: 1. https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2019/02/05/smartphone-ownership-is-growing-rapidly-around-the-world-but-not-always-equally/pg_global-technology-use-2018_2019-02-05_0-01/