What was needed …
A mid-sized manufacturing company appointed a new General Manager at one of their key assembly plants. In the last two years, this plant’s production levels and quality scores had deteriorated, and all eyes were upon the new General Manager to turn the situation around and once again bring this plant to its previous profitable levels. Within the first four months, the General Manager, with the assistance of his leadership team, quickly determined that employee turnover was abnormally high and morale was at an all-time low. He wanted to better understand and gauge why employee engagement and morale were suffering so he asked Merge to consult with him and his leadership team.
What Merge did …
Merge first met with the General Manager and his team of direct reports to familiarize herself with the company and its history. Over several hours in a series of meetings, she was able to get a much clearer picture of not only some of the key issues and challenges faced by this specific plant, but also crucial insights into the General Manager’s ultimate vision and objectives for this location. On the basis of these meetings and several subsequent telephone conversations, she formulated a plan to identify the root causes behind the lack of employee engagement, consisting of a series of communications and then primarily group and individual interviews with supervisors, foremen and workers on the shop floor.
What were the results …
As a result of her inquiries and analysis over a period of several weeks, she prepared a report summarizing her findings and made several long-reaching recommendations to align employee and corporate goals, and create a productive and positive culture. Specifically, her report addressed:
- Making relatively simple changes in policies to immediately improve morale
- Creating an employee value proposition
- Developing a communication strategy to expand alignment of individual employee and corporate goals
- Providing front-line managers with leadership tools to directly affect employee engagement and increase their day-to-day effectiveness
- Taking actions at the senior level to create the organization’s culture “from the top”
- Re-assessing employee engagement after a 6-9 month period in order to measure progress.
- Implementing a change management process
The General Manager and his leadership team whole-heartedly embraced Merge’s recommendations, and the plant began to see gradual but steady increases first in quality measures, and then in profitability. Merge continued to offer support and advice as needed. By the sixth quarter, this plant was finally in the black!