Our decision, here at ResourceMFG, to annually survey our manufacturing employees, experienced job applicants, and our clients’ workers, was an easy one. Why? Because we know that most strategic workforce recommendations, decisions, and actions have a significant impact on plant productivity.

We believe insight into the workforce is critical in order to make informed and positive decisions. But not just questions like, “What is most important to you?”  or ”What is least important?“ We felt what was needed was a ‘deeper dive’ into the issues, asking questions not often seen before in these types of surveys.

We wanted insight into subjects that -- while maybe not top of mind to some manufacturers -- are very important in the day-to-today world of the manufacturing worker. We believe the answers to questions that are not often asked have value. We wanted to go deeper to find out what makes our manufacturing employees tick. What are their opinions about subjects like pay, supervision, and shift preferences? What do they think about unions? If they switch jobs, what are the most common reasons?

The ResourceMFG Manufacturing Employee Opinion Survey was created to answer these questions and apply the findings so we and our clients can together make strategic and tactical manufacturing workforce decisions. We knew we had to get this new survey right, because the answers can help guide us toward informed workforce decisions in an environment of knowledge, insight, alignment, transparency, and communication.

In July this year, we conducted the survey online, in our branches, and at our client sites. Nearly 2,500 employees completed the survey. An independent third-party collected and recorded the results. We believe it might be the biggest and most comprehensive survey of its kind.

The survey is intentionally broad-based, across manufacturing sectors, geographic areas, and skill sets. At least at first, we wanted a bigger perspective on workforce issues. And, when done annually, we expect trends will begin to emerge, which will allow us and our clients to more proactively manage this critical part of the business.

Here is a sneak preview of one survey result:

What is Most Important to Your Manufacturing Employees

How can findings like the one above be used to inform strategic workforce decisions?

Over the next few articles, we will report more survey results, along with commentary to help put those findings in a meaningful context. At the end, we will tackle the ‘so what’ type of questions, like: “How can I take this information and apply it to my workforce?”

Then, we will offer our own recommendations on how these survey results can help you create a more productive and engaged workforce.