Manufacturing &Technology 2020: Fixing Communication: The Big Payoff

Industry Manufacturing &Technology Virtual Conference: Fixing Communication --The Big Payoff

Dec. 2, 2020
Mark Whitten, CEO of Spartanburg Steel Products, encourages companies to “communicate relentlessly.”

At the IndustryWeek Manufacturing & Technology Virtual Conference,  Mark Whitten, president and CEO of Spartanburg Steel Products,  offers practical tips on how to elevate any company’s communication plan.

Using specific experiences at the manufacturing companies he has managed,  Whitten outlines how companies can create an engaged workforce where everyone is committed to the goals of the company.

One of his key strategies, and what he has found to be successful, is to  “communicate relentlessly."  And this doesn’t mean that communication comes only from management. “It’s not thou shalt do something,” explains Whitten. "Communication has to involve talking to the people who are doing the job every day and hearing what they are saying."

Whitten says the most efficient way to achieve this is through an organized structure. He employs a  Culture Plan which consists of:

The Employee Survey

Focus Group Feedback

Employee Feedback

Ask the GM Data

Coffee Chat Feedback

During the detailed presentation, Whitten provides specific ideas on how to implement these steps.

And to prove his dedication to this plan, he tells the story of when he became CEO of a company he pledged that he would hold a 30-minute meeting with every employee. These meetings had no agenda and were just an open discussion. Well the company had 535 employees but he met with every single one and it took well over a year.  “It was the most rewarding and satisfying thing I have ever done as a leader,” he said.

To see his full presentation, you can register here to gain access to all keynotes, workshops and tours for up to 90 days.

About the Author

Adrienne Selko | Sr. Editor

Focus: Workforce, Talent 

Email: [email protected]

Follow Me on Twitter: @ASelkoIW

Senior Editor Adrienne Selko has written about many topics over the 17 years she has been with the publication and currently focuses on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics and EHS Today. 

Previously Adrienne was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. 

She is the author of  Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list. 

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