From the peak

Read More

How to Instill Happiness in your Workforce

No matter the industry, for business owners, it’s important to understand that the foundation of employee happiness starts with fostering an environment where they feel part of a positive, rewarding employee experience.

This is confirmation of everything we believe. In fact, the foundations for employee happiness and productivity are the foundation of the first part of our name, Ampogee: Autonomy, mastery, and purpose are outcomes that occur when this thinking is in place.

We know you can impact change in your workplace. Here are a few examples of companies we admire who are doing things right.

Companies Leading the Charge

Evernote

At Evernote, there’s a core belief that employees are always learning. For a company on a quest to build the best productivity software, they frequently tap the life lessons of famous note-takers who came long before, from Edison to Einstein. What makes Evernote unique is that each quarter, they offer the ‘Evernote Academy’ to employees who can learn about baking, gardening, painting, and programming. Some of the courses are taught by Evernote employees. “People are conditioned to think that work life and personal life are separate entities. Teaching through Evernote Academy has taught me how to bridge my design thinking skills with my personal side projects,” says Ali Albiani, an Evernote Product Designer.

Facebook

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO is the very public face of a culture that places importance on empathizing their workforce. We’ve heard plenty about Facebook’s fringe benefits, but recently Sandberg revealed internal initiatives for employee bereavement leave. After dealing with the death of her husband, Sandberg juggled dealing with the painful loss while returning to one of the most open workplaces in the world. For Sandberg, she needed to return to work to help her grieve but cited Facebook’s generous leave policy as being key to her experience. Since returning, she publicly announced an expansion of that policy, which now offers employees 20 days to grieve an immediate family member.

Obviously, Facebook’s successful business puts them in a position to offer this benefit. But Sandberg notes that the importance is thinking just taking the time to think about employees in ways that are not commonplace in the workplace. It can be a policy or a shared cultural belief.

“I think it’s great when companies do more,” she said. “I think it’s great when employees know that they’re valued, and I think there are a lot of ways companies can do this,” she says.

Zappos

The ultimate test of employee happiness may be in place at Zappos. Known for embracing a quirky and creative environment for employees, Zappos believes if you’re not happy, you should find work elsewhere. After a three-month onboarding rotation in their call center, Zappos will pay employees $3,000 to leave if they find the work unsatisfying.

Chick-Fil-A

At Chick-fil-A, employees exude friendliness. That comes from a purpose-driven mission that is made clear to all the employees. Famously, founder Truett Cathy proclaimed, “We aren’t in the chicken business, we are in the people business.” While the food is a product that is in high-demand (just check out their drive-thru systems), it’s merely a means to impact people. When you say ‘thank you’ in their stores, the employees offer a genuine response, “my pleasure.” This culture is built into the organization from the mission statement, to training materials and is present long before an employee ever takes an order on the front registers.

Change Starts at the Top

So, what can you do to instill a cultural shift that places importance on employees and their happiness? Here are five tactics:

  1. Build Organizational Trust from the Top. This is something that can be started before your employee’s first day at work. Ensure that you’ve created recruiting strategies and onboarding materials that illustrate your company mission, vision, values, policies, and procedures. After talent has been hired, work to continue your retention strategy and work with management to ensure you keep employees for the long-term. To truly engage your employees, make sure that you have established a clear, purpose-driven mission with clearly thought out vision and values. If your management team believes in it, it will be easier for your front-line employees to invest and believe in it, too.
  2. Create Opportunities to Develop & Advance. Your best, most productive employees will flourish when you build a system that gives freedom for choosing their path. Independent thinking and employee autonomy give them the chance to find the best way to do their job while achieving expected goals and results. As a business, manage your employees in a way where the focus is on results instead of the processes they use to get there.
  3. Offer resources for Employees. It sounds simple, but ensuring your team has the appropriate physical, financial, and material resources to do their job effectively and efficiently.
  4. Build Effective Training Programs. The world is moving faster than ever. Make sure your team understands how those changes impact your organization. Establish training so they can acquire and build the knowledge they need to get their work done. The confidence you instill in them is priceless.
  5. Create a Feedback Loop. Develop a system that holds both employees and managers accountable. By conducting regularly scheduled surveys, you can figure out the level which employees are engaged. If there are areas that show up as red flags, invest in making improvements.  

Takeaways

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 12.45.41 PM

The stories above all showcase important elements under the umbrella of our core beliefs — autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

At Evernote, employees are encouraged to always learn (build mastery) through training and coursework offered beyond daily projects and to-dos. Facebook puts a ton of effort in empathizing with employees (generous leave policies), which allows them to make choices that reflect their best interest whether they’re personal or professional (autonomy). And, Zappos has decided that the cultural fit is a paramount concern in their hiring process, by ensuring that their team is staffed with people who will create incredibly positive experiences (purpose). They understand that they have to find the best people who align with that vision.

We really believe that we can learn a lot about other industries and apply some of that knowledge to manufacturing, where it’s often not a part of the dialogue. We think they can serve as a positive source for your organization, no matter what you are creating, building, and shipping.

In the world of manufacturing, there’s actually a few simple ways that business owners and management can lay down the foundations that embrace employees. Even the smallest actions can start to shift the cultural tone of an organization – things like recognizing the good of employees in a shift meeting, company meeting, or newsletter. If your manufacturing organization displays goals or objectives in shared spaces, add employee’s names to show how they contributed or accomplished something big. If nothing else, show your employees that you care by including them in functions beyond the daily grind, like company events, family picnics, or even by volunteering for a local charity.

In the next installment, we will dive deeper into some of the tactics that you can use to build a winning, positive, and happy culture.

How is your organization embracing your best employees and building a culture of happiness? Share your story in the comments or on our social channels at Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  

How Technology is Changing American Manufacturing

The Advanced Robotics Manufacturing (ARM) Institute, a robotics institute affiliated with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) that develops next-generation robots for advanced manufacturing across textile industries.

 

There’s no question that today, American business owners and employees are facing uncertainty in the world of work. Entire industries are experiencing changes that are rapidly redefining how they approach work.

That’s especially true in the space we at Ampogee call home: operations and manufacturing. One of the first questions that come to mind for both employees are business owners: How will emerging technologies impact our work?

Amidst the ongoing political discourse, there’s growing concern over the role of work in an ever-changing manufacturing climate. The way we do business and the way we make things is changing every day. And, it’s not just the way we handle the day-to-day tasks that are changing. There’s a fundamental sea change in the way businesses are thinking about their work.

Here’s what we mean:

  • FarmLogs, a startup in Michigan is helping farmers better predict, monitor, measure crops while mitigating loss from weather and pests.
  • Plethora, a San Francisco startup is courting young software developers to develop production prototyping and helping small businesses and factories move quickly. Their fully-integrated factory in California incorporates advanced robotics, 3D printers, and traditional CNC milling machines.
  • Before they were purchased by Uber, Otto was developing technology that would allow trucks to be operated without a driver.

These changes are precipitated by rapid advances in mobile technology and emerging platforms that are revolutionizing not only the speed but the caliber and type of work that is being done. This has a broad impact on the people that are hired by businesses in many industries.

The American manufacturing workforce is seeing two competing trends happening on parallel tracks at the same time.

  1. Companies are in a race to identify advanced technologies — think applications, automated intelligence, robotics — and the employees who are equipped to work with them.
  2. As the traditional workforce meets millennials (and the emerging ‘Generation ‘Z’), companies are increasingly looking to upskill their workforce and embracing automation of menial, repetitive, and dangerous tasks.

Despite all this, manufacturing in the United States continues on an upward trajectory. According to Bloomberg, this past March, healthy consumer spending and recovery in the oil sector has led to the highest gains in manufacturing output since November 2014. At the same time, there are 324,000 open factory positions — triple the amount during the recession. This is occurring at the same time as growing concerns over the uncertainty automation brings to the workplace and President Trump’s fight to restore and return American manufacturing jobs.

The New Face of American Manufacturing

In this regard, the conversation needs to shift from output to human resources. Manufacturers that are serious about attracting and retaining new talent, out of necessity, need to start thinking differently about the way they approach attracting new talent. According to a report by the Manufacturing Institute, there are a few hurdles employers need to overcome to acquire talent in the face of a burgeoning skills shortage:

  • Forty-four percent of employers say they have moderate difficulty acquiring talent that can exploit advanced technologies —  3D printing, robotics, Internet of Things, and application development.
  • Many employers are not threatened that “robots will steal jobs.” In fact, 37% believe that the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies will result in their hiring additional employees.
  • Business owners are aware of a skills shortage and 29% said it exists and will only worsen in the next three years.
  • There’s a premium on degrees — nearly three-quarters of non-factory floor jobs are placed with candidates who have a four-year or an advanced degree.

The New American Factory Worker

So, what does the factory worker look like today, and what will they look like in the future?

In 2015 a unique event occurred. Businesses saw a large shift in the demographic of the American workforce. On one side, Millennials (those who were born between 1981 and 1997) became the largest part of the labor force, representing nearly 54 million workers. For the first time ever, this group surpassed that of the “GenXers” (people born between 1965 and 1980). Yet, at the same time, the American workforce is aging.

Enter “Generation Z.”

This group (those born between 1994 and 2004) is incredibly unique. They are a vibrant, idealistic, young, and truly mobile generation of workers who last year started matriculating into the American workplace. They are the first people who have truly never lived in a world without mobile apps and connectivity. Unlike the GenXers, they don’t imagine a career rooted in one place for multiple decades. But, much like the Millennials, they are idealistic, seek to make change, and strive for career advancement.

“The younger job seekers are different in that they are very idealistic and at the same time expect bigger and more frequent job changes throughout their careers, but they’re also looking, as generations before them, for long-term advancement,” said Tara Sinclair, an associate professor of economics at George Washington University.

Upskill the Factory = Upskill the Workforce

We’re in the midst of a rapidly evolving ‘fourth industrial revolution’ and just as the way we do business changes, so must our mindset for our employees.

For the most part, since the dawn of the second industrial revolution, the characteristics of manufacturing centered around build, repeat; build, repeat. Employers who relied on continuous output leveraged motivational tactics that relied on employees to partake in highly-repeatable, menial tasks. Regulations were few and tasks were not yet complicated by rapidly advancing changes in technology.

This ‘performance-based’ mindset has infiltrated well beyond manufacturing into corporate America in the form of “the more/harder you work, the more you’ll make.” Many manufacturers still utilize this theory of motivation as the basis for their compensation review processes or promotion practices. Just as manufacturing is now evolving, the management practices for motivating people need to evolve as well. Many employers are starting to see that upskilling is the way to embrace the changing dynamics of a workforce impacted by technology. According to the Manufacturing Institute, the most common strategy to upskill employees in advanced manufacturing is to train in-house, followed by recruiting local STEM students and offering vocational training.

In a recent survey of manufacturing employers based in Michigan, one of the most important factors for this emerging cohort of American workers is a presence of opportunities — things like opportunities to learn, availability of apprenticeships, and consistent access to computer technology and course work.

Jobs are not as repeatable as they were in the past. Today, the manufacturing world is threatened by a widening skills gap, increased automation, and ever-changing technology that impacts the way we get things done.

This is a theme we will be covering over and over on the Ampogee Blog. So, be sure to stay tuned.

 

How Autonomy can Help Build a More Engaged Workforce

In a world predicated on smooth-running operations — assemblies constantly humming to churn out accurate, high-quality orders — the idea of unleashing employees tasked with keeping those lines running seems almost counterintuitive to the manufacturing process.

Autonomy is the ability to embolden and empower employees with the understanding that they can make choices. It’s the ability you provide employees to make, at least some of their choices, on their own. It’s the complete opposite of micro-management.

Change is Coming Here

Now, more than ever, manufacturing needs autonomy.

So, why autonomy?

It’s fundamentally important to acknowledge that the way we work is changing. The workplace of today (and increasingly, tomorrow) does not look like it once did. In structure alone, workforces are being distributed, offshored, and opened up. More and more employees are even working remotely enabled by increasing WiFi speeds and software that helps colleagues connect, chat, and meet. In the world of manufacturing specifically, automation and robotics are major themes that are helping shift how organizations think about their employees. In some cases, understanding autonomy requires a generational shift in understanding. For managers, it’s recognizing that their job is not specifically to manage tasks, but to manage people.

According to Joan F. Cheverie, Manager, Professional Development Programs, EDUCAUSE, “You’re now the coach who provides the overall plan and the tools to those who are directly working on the project. Giving staff the autonomy to do the work their way within the overall strategy you set is the foundation for building a high-performing team.”

Studies continue to show that giving employees autonomy actually has far-reaching benefits. It helps employees feel more empowered, happy, and even increases their productivity. In addition, autonomy has lasting benefits, not just for the employees in the workplace, but also for senior management and leadership teams.

Of course there are boundaries in autonomous setups, and it is predicated on the varying degrees you wish to roll out these principles in your facility. It can be anything as simple as empowering employees to set their own goals, or allowing them to decide where and when they accomplish their work.

Much of the focus today is on mastering the ever-increasing skills gap. How can we build the skills to match the lightning fast changes in technology. At the same time, upper and middle management teams may be tasked with worrying about simply delivering goods to stay in business. Management that looks to giving their team the choices on their own has been shown to improve employee morale, reduce churn in staff turnover, and increase productivity. Results not only empirically impact the organizational structure, but they help increase the bottom line that matters to the company.

Pillars of People-Centered Approach: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose

How you embrace these autonomous tactics and roll them out will have the biggest impact on your greatest asset — employees.

This is at the core of what we are tackling every day and where we believe the biggest opportunity lies. It’s what we call a people-centered approach. That approach, at its core, has three fundamental components that are the pillars of our people-first philosophy: Autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Over the next few months, we’re going to examine the role autonomy plays on empowering employees to master purposeful, meaningful work. We’ll be publishing stories, tips, interviews, and thoughtful long-form pieces that explore many of these topics that are important to how you run business operations.

In the coming weeks, these are a sampling of the stories and topics we’ll be exploring in-depth:

  • What does the future have in store for American manufacturing?
  • What does autonomy look like in the workplace?
  • How employees can build individual purpose
  • The three laws of mastery
  • How employee happiness is great for business
  • Why we believe in upskilling for manufacturing (and beyond)?

Looking for more motivation to help provide autonomous solutions to your employees? Reach out to our team at Ampogee to learn more.

You can also read our White Paper — ‘The Key to Unleashing American Manufacturing‘ 

 

New Name, Same Mission

Greensboro, NC – December 5, 2016 – Catalant, a premiere performance management software solution, emerges with a new brand identity while continuing to help manufacturing companies increase productivity and drive operational excellence to new heights. The company’s new name, Ampogee, new logo and new website all work together to emphasize its mission, “We Make Work Matter.”

Read more

Ampogee White Paper: The Key to Unleashing American Manufacturing

If US manufacturers want to be relevant and competitive on a global level, their primary focus must shift from technology to people – not just because it’s what they need to do, but it’s the best thing they can do

The Missing Element

In the world of manufacturing, there is a lot of talk these days about “game changing” technology. 3D printing, automation, robotics, the internet of things – these are the topics that are driving the conversations, and are heralded as inaugurating Industry 4.0. Let there be no doubt – these technologies will absolutely and completely change the face of manufacturing. Particularly as society moves towards a more “on-demand”, personalized approach to consumerism, these elements will be critical to making that happen. The companies that will thrive in that future state will be those that can most readily adapt to the needs of their customers and executively deliver ahead of their competition, and that is exactly what these technologies promise.

However, in all the conversations, there is a critical element missing that can, does, and will have an even bigger impact on the ability for a manufacturer to be competitive: the people. Read more

Dan Pink – Motivation 3.0

Dan Pink, author of the book “Drive”, presents the fundamental principles behind what truly motivates us today – Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. At Ampogee, we subscribe to this theory of motivation, and we base our mission on driving towards supporting organizations implement these principles.

Why LinkedIn should kill the resume and replace it with the experience graph

The resume is eventually going to become an artifact of the ages – a concept that will be as foreign to future generations as a world without the internet is to todays. Technology like Ampogee will be used to supplant the resume, utilizing actual data from real performance and achievements to tell a richer, more detailed, authentic story of actual skills and performance than any resume ever could. Garry Golden, the author of this article, does a great job of laying out the fundamentals of that future – it’s coming sooner than you think.

GET IN TOUCH

We'll get back to you within 24 hours

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com