How to inspire your assembly-line workers

“Hands up! baby, hands up! Gimme your heart! gimme, gimme your heart! Gimme gimme!” My favourite part of the day on the line had just arrived because Brenda had just put on our two o’clock song as we worked. It always made me laugh because the line (which was made up entirely of women) would all pump their hands in the air at the same time every time the singer said: “Hands up!”

I’m from a manufacturing community where “working on the line” is a right of passage for many and I was no different. As a teenager, my time spent here would be critical in shaping my views on work and also my character. The reality is that this small manufacturer was way ahead of their time. I remember the leaders were very concerned with creating a positive culture. They worked hard to create a team environment and to protect the workplace.

Here's what I learned about the importance of leadership and employee engagement on the assembly line.

One particularly hot summer day, I was pulled off the line for my “griping” about how hot it was. The manager at the time asked me to follow her and she showed me a record of how she checked the thermostat every 15 minutes to document the heat levels because if they got too hot they would close the line down. Then she pointedly told me, “Creating an atmosphere that is safe and happy is critical. We are ensuring everyone’s safety, but you are negatively impacting the attitude. Will you help us make the best out of this situation?”. Tail between my legs, I returned to my station and when Brenda put on our two o’clock song I enthusiastically joined in.

Twenty plus years later and we all now understand the power of a positive culture has a direct impact on the bottom line of a business as it increases both retention and revenue. Interestingly, according to a Deloitte study, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success. However, only 12% of executives believe their company is driving the right culture.

In the Harvard Business Review’s “The Leader’s Guide to Corporate Culture”, they make the following observation:

”It is far more common for leaders seeking to build high-performing organizations to be confounded by culture. Indeed, many either let it go unmanaged or relegate it to the HR function, where it becomes a secondary concern for the business.”

Without a doubt, creating inspiring cultures is no easy task across industries, but Manufacturers in particular face an additional set of unique hurdles to overcome.

This includes ensuring your Non-Desk Employees are in the loop! Nothing is worse than your people finding out about something important after it occurred. Whether that is a social event or important company news. However, with multiple shifts and staff who may not have a corporate email address, it can be a challenge to ensure they are in the loop.

Company web portals are well-intended but often don’t help employees find the information that is important to them. Many are one-way messaging that offer little to no two-way engagement nor provide any social opportunities.

Even with leaders who are dedicated to providing a positive experience for their entire production team, there can be a sense of disconnect. Often, the only consistent piece of communication provided to the employee comes in the form of their pay stub or a poorly positioned bulletin board located somewhere near a lunch room.

All of these situations can directly, and negatively impact, the culture of your company and the performance of your production lines. How so? According to BMC Public Health, healthcare expenditures are nearly 50% greater than at other organizations and the American Psychological Association estimates about 550 million workdays are lost each year due to stress on the job. Additionally, they reveal that 60% to 80% of workplace accidents are attributed to stress.

If you are trying to establish a zero-incident workplace, then one of the more surprising things you can do is actively and intentionally invest in tools and programs that help to create a sense of belonging. Recently, EY issued findings that the workplace has replaced neighbourhoods and places of worship for where individuals find their sense of belonging and community.

So a quick recap of your challenges. As a manufacturer, you need to be able to address the following:

  • Ensure your non-desk employees are always kept in the loop.
  • Traditional methods (bulletin boards and websites) are not effective.
  • Create a direct connection between leadership and those working the line.
  • Uncover ways to create positive touch-points between all teammates regardless of the line they work, the shift they working, the campus they are on, or the country they are in.
  • Streamline your communications into one central place so nothing gets lost and this will allows you to.
  • Create a sense of community and belonging.


Well, we’ve got great news!

Perhaps it was my experience working on the line all those years ago, but here at InspireHUB, we’ve created the IHUBApp which helps you address all those issues. The IHUBApp is an award-winning enterprise collaboration and notification Digital Experience Platform (DXP) that provides your company with their own private social network. Simply put, it does all the above and also helps reduce the risk of critical information being missed as it allows your employees the ability to access it from their own personal devices and determine how they are notified yet addresses the security issues that keep your IT team awake at night. The great news is we’ve already done it for Manufacturers just like you.

If you are looking to super-charge your culture, unite your team, and streamline your communications then we would love the opportunity to inspire you. You can learn more here about the product and watch some of our client’s rave about us.

Just know this: our goal is to get your hands up, baby, hands up!  Here's where you can learn more →


Please note: This blog was originally published on December 7, 2018 and has been updated to include resources to help manufacturers through crisis management and boost their business continuity plans to better meet the challenges of COVID-19.


Savvy manufacturers streamline their communications with the IHUBApp.

The disruptions caused by COVID-19 have forced manufacturers to reconsider many things, including how they communicate. Digital transformation in manufacturing is now a matter of survival. Streamlining communications between office staff, line workers, suppliers, vendors, distributors and clients is the first step.


The award-winning IHUBApp™ Digital Experience Platform
streamlines your manufacturing communications
ensuring that critical messages are never missed.



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Topics: leadership, employee engagement, internal communications, employee happiness index, culture of care, empathy, manufacturing, corporate culture, non-desk employees, non-desk workers, company culture, leadership development, digital transformation, remote workers, character, zero-incident workplace, shift workers, BMC Public Health, American Psychological Association

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