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Building an Intentional Culture of Change

Today’s job-seekers demand innovative workplaces that adhere to modern trends and processes. By building and promoting an intentional culture of change, you can attract new talent to your organization and develop a reputation for flexibility and adaptivity.

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On Tuesday, May 10th, EMC hosted a best practice event for its members in Atlantic Canada on the importance of intentional workplace cultures. Presented by Rick Benoit, VP of McWane Canada, and Tim Kelly, Founder of Workplace Health Outcomes HR, this event centred around the value of intentionally-developed, -built, and -implemented cultural practices on workplace effectiveness, engagement, and productivity. During the event, Benoit and Kelly examined their own professional experiences with utilizing intentional workplace cultures, and demonstrated the impact that these practices could have on manufacturers in Atlantic Canada and beyond. The material discussed in the following article is based on this event.

In today’s manufacturing landscape, being able to attract new workers is critical to survival, let alone growth and operational success. But attracting job-seekers is a difficult proposal for manufacturers who haven’t kept up with modern recruitment trends — workers in the 2020s have a vastly different set of priorities compared to their predecessors, and aren’t interested in stagnant, immobile employers. Manufacturing processes are changing more rapidly now than ever before and, without a flexible, progressive ideology to address these changes, businesses will find themselves unable to compete with leaders in their field, driving away new labour. If manufacturers want to stay at the forefront of their sector’s advancement and reap the benefits of a innovative reputation, they’ll need to develop and maintain a strong culture of adaptivity throughout their workplaces, and be proactive in constantly updating their processes.

Developing a new workplace culture, or building upon an existing one, requires a significant deal of contextual awareness. Oftentimes, manufacturing leaders can fall out-of-touch with their workers, leading to reduced engagement, interest, and, ultimately, productivity. To most effectively determine how a business’s culture should change, employers should build strong channels of communication with their labour bases to ensure that they are consistently recognized and acknowledged. In addition to the myriad of benefits that worker communication has on an organization’s activities, frequent correspondence and discussion is critical to identifying problems and opportunities with current workplace processes. Keep in mind that a culture is driven by its participants, and workers that don’t feel sufficiently understood will likely have no interest in supporting their culture beyond their day-to-day activities. Implement methods of collecting and responding to employees’ thoughts and feelings, and you’ll find that your workers become eager to make informed cultural changes.

Another important element of cultural development in the workplace is promoting change, and espousing the value it can have to employees throughout the organization. Some workers comfortable in their current positions may want to reject change outright, which can harm an organization’s ability to innovative and grow. It’s crucial that, when implementing new policies or updating existing ones, manufacturing leaders clearly state the way that their actions will benefit employees directly. Showcasing the positive impact that change can have on typical employee experiences (through hours worked, wages, safety, etc.) provides those workers with the incentive to accept it, and can make them into ambassadors for change themselves. Clearly broadcasting a willingness to change benefits parties outside of the organization, as well — new employees will see that the company is eager to continuously improve, and will understand the direct benefit this employer can have on their own professional development. If cultural changes are promoted enough, they may even reach other key players in the manufacturing sector, defining the organization as a leader in its space.

Adaptivity is key to success for businesses in the 2020s, and, if properly utilized, it can help organizations become leaner, smarter, and more productive. Today’s workers respond well to companies with progressive, innovative cultures, and organizations that can meet job-seekers’ expectations will have access to a sustainable source of engaged, motivated labour. Discarding tried-and-true processes, activities, and ideologies can certainly be a challenge, but the benefit that change can have on every aspect of a manufacturer’s workplace makes it well worth the implementation.

To learn more about the benefit of an intentional workplace culture, contact Joan Richard, EMC’s Operations Manager for Eastern Canada. Attend EMC events frequently for knowledge specialized to leaders in Canadian Manufacturing.

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