Improving Frontline Manager Communication and Culture in Manufacturing

Last updated on May 24, 2022 at 04:15 pm

If the COVID-19 pandemic made anything clear, companies need tools for employee communication, productivity, and engagement, specifically for their frontline managers and deskless workforce. In manufacturing, organizations must communicate work protocols and safety procedures while keeping employees engaged and connected. And one of the most important ways to do all of this effectively is through better frontline manager communication.

manufacturing assembly line and frontline worker

Safety Culture in Manufacturing

In manufacturing, ensuring the continuity of a Safety Culture, where employees respect the job, respect each other, and are united under the common goal of ensuring that everyone makes it home every day is paramount to feeling connected. This kind of culture saves lives.

But one important part of a safety culture is the rule: no phones on the floor.

When operating heavy machinery, yeah, this is a logical rule for keeping people safe. But it puts a strain on employee communications for those on the frontlines. The challenge of communication then falls onto frontline managers. This puts them in a challenging position that often results in poor or limited communications to their workforce. Additionally, only key members of management and those with special exceptions get to carry cell phones and have the line of communication open with the corporate office. They then have to cascade the information down to each department. Finally, the line managers have to physically round up their team to verbally reiterate the messages. This “cascade” communication model is standard in any industry with deskless employees and is often a huge source of miscommunication. 

It’s a Catch-22, though. No cell phones for line managers or workers means breakdowns in communication. No direct communication may hurt the culture, dissemination of safety information, and essential updates. Yet, having cell phones on the floor can have profound safety implications. So, what do you do?

Improving Employee Communication

If your goal is to improve internal communication, we always recommend starting with a channel assessment. This is when you look at the channels you have and who has access to them. For example, line managers might have access to the cascade of information from upper management and break room signage. That’s pretty limited. 

What if you had a mobile solution for your frontline managers and employees? This would dramatically increase the ability of the line managers to communicate with their teams and relay the most accurate information. The employees could have a communications hub where they could get their benefits info, stories from corporate, and messages targeted to them. 

It’s not always about receiving real-time information while employees are working. In manufacturing, this is a huge way to build culture. Even if you already have a safety culture in place, everyone using one tool can only strengthen that.

frontline manufacturing employee

How theEMPLOYEEapp Can Help

With theEMPLOYEEapp, an organization can solidify its safety protocols by allowing employees to report near misses, provide site-specific or job-specific safety training, tips, and a place to store certifications easily. There are so many applications without ever needing to take a cell phone out onto the floor.

 

Ready to take the next step? Let’s get in touch.

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