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How Ergonomics Can Help with Employee Retention

Jun 24, 2021 | Ergonomics, Productivity

As the economy emerges from the pandemic, the demand for products continues to grow. The manufacturers are facing a seemingly good-to-have problem – not having enough workers to meet the increasing demand for goods. However the struggle is real.

According to a study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, as many as 2.1 million manufacturing jobs will be unfilled through 2030 despite the current high unemployment rate. 77% of manufacturers surveyed said they expect to have trouble attracting and retaining workers this year and beyond.

When getting new talents on board is a challenge, making your current workforce happier and more productive becomes a critical success factor for manufacturing companies. Through word-of-mouth, it could potentially also bring new candidates to your door.

Being a manufacturer in the trenches ourselves, we would like to share how you can use ergonomics to help with employee retention. 

Good work environment enhances employee satisfaction

When employees feel safe and comfortable at work, they are more likely to stay. After all there is a lot of uncertainty and risk involved with switching over to a new employer. To ensure a work environment that is optimized for health, safety and comfort, ergonomics is the key.

When talking about ergonomics, there used to be a lot of emphasis on productivity increase as a major benefit. Employee well-being almost seems like a nice-to-have by product. In the face of labor shortage, manufacturers are increasingly aware of the importance of their workforce. How they feel at work really matters.

Ergonomic work space boosts employee morale

An ergonomically optimized work space can improve user experience significantly. It incorporates height adjustability to make sure that each worker operates at a comfortable height. It is laid out according to reach zones to minimize ergonomically risky motions and non-value added movements. As a result work related injuries drop, and productivity improves.  Our step-by-step Plan Your Workstation guide can walk you through the process of setting up an ergonomic work space to keep your employees happy.   

Ergonomic workstations alone are not enough

As a manufacturing company, you might think that you have done your part after acquiring some height adjustable workstations for your employees. Unless you have a culture of constantly looking to improve and working with your employees to achieve that, ergonomics is just another buzz word.

We probably all know when pay and benefits are competitive and comparable, it is the company culture that drives an individual’s decision to stay or leave. Employees stick with companies which value their contribution and input.

Use ergonomics to connect with employees

Ergonomics provides an excellent opportunity for a manufacturing company to engage its employees. It sends an important “we care for you” message to the employees. We had the pleasure of working with one of America’s most successful and forward thinking online retailers. They embrace ergonomics wholeheartedly.  The operators have regular stretch breaks in which everyone leaves their desk and stretches. Engineers would go to the operators to get their opinions on the best way to work on a station. The operators are invited to try on different work bench designs and setups. Their feedback is taken seriously and incorporated into final product design.  It is not surprising that the turnover rate there is extremely low.

Ergonomic mindset opens door for growth opportunities

When manufacturing employees are intimately involved in ergonomic improvement, they become advocates of continuous improvement efforts. This can carry over to all areas of operations especially if their contributions are acknowledged.  BOSTONtec actively seeks our manufacturing work force’s ideas on how to improve safety, increase productivity, and cut cost. These ideas are featured in our internal continuous improvement platform and celebrated by everyone in the company. It ensures that our shop employees know that they are an important stakeholder in the company. In addition, it could provide them with a path to grow into more advanced and fulfilling job roles. All these initiatives lead to a more stable and dedicated workforce.

The current labor shortage crisis for the manufacturing industry shines a new light on the value of observing ergonomics. Ergonomics has been proven to be a powerful tool to form a strong bond with your manufacturing workforce. A motivated workforce is your true competitive advantage.

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