How Manufacturers Mitigate the Effects of Employee Turnover: Document and Standardize Processes

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This blog is part of a series discussing 5 ways manufacturers mitigate the Effects of Employee Turnover. In this blog, we will focus on our first recommendation: Document and Standardize processes.

In the aftermath of an employee leaving a manufacturing company, managers must deal with the frustration of ensuring all the work gets done. Furthermore, the rest of the team has to absorb additional workload which can create tension.

A common situation happens in manufacturing when employees try to perform a task where no instructions are available. How frustrating is being expected to accomplish something without having the resources to accomplish the task?

Avoiding this type of situation is very attainable. Ensure you engage your team in this initiative. Start by identifying all the key processes in your part of the business:

  • Accounting: billing, month-end closing, etc.
  • Human resources: Recruiting, onboarding, etc.
  • Operations: Picking, assembly, etc.

Next, prioritize the processes where you have reliability problems, such as errors, or defects, or have insufficient cross-training (meaning a limited number of people know how to perform the process.)

Start holding sessions to map out the flow of the processes and documenting detailed instructions of the steps to complete the tasks within the processes. To create a safe environment for your team, share the reason for the initiative and encourage the team to be open and honest as it is vital to understand the processes correctly, no matter how inefficient or redundant they may seem. Make sure you cover one process at a time and allow the team to explain each process. This last point is very important, we want to avoid having a distorted version of the truth. Remember, few people will know as much about the process as the team involved with the process. Avoid being judgmental when the process is being explained.

Use tools such as process maps, swim lane maps, and standard work instructions to capture your processes. Once the process flow has been documented, assign the appropriate team members to document the underlying tasks. Encourage team members to complete this in collaboration to have the best results.

Next week we will discuss the next recommendation: Cross-Train Staff.

If your manufacturing organization is dealing with high employee turnover and you would like to discuss your situation, schedule a call.

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