What is employee engagement? Just because you have happy employees, does that mean they are engaged and care about the organization and its goals? These are a few questions that have recently become much more important to companies of all sizes, all around the world.
There are different ideas of what employee engagement is; some get it confused with employee happiness or employee satisfaction. An employee can be happy at work but that does not necessarily mean they are working hard or productively. A satisfied employee will show up to work without complaint but might not go the extra mile on their own. Employee engagement is more of an emotional commitment to the organization and its goals. They actually care about their work and their company. This can lead to better customer service, higher quality work and increased productivity, which can translate into higher customer satisfaction, increased sales and more loyal customers.
There are several different numbers and metrics out there about what the average level of employee engagement is and it ranges from approximately 15% – 30% throughout North American companies. Acknowledging the importance of employee engagement, Luff has taken steps to help improve its own engagement in hopes of increasing employee retention, effort and overall connection to the company. One of these initiatives is the Process Improvement Effort, also known internally as the PIE program. Process Improvement is the task of identifying, analyzing, and improving upon existing business processes within the organization for optimization and to meet new quotas or standards of quality.
Since implementing the program in May 2016 Luff has seen a dramatic increase in employment engagement and participation in improving procedures and processes throughout the organization.
In the first year of the program there was over 830 ideas submitted from around 58% of the employees. That is far above the average engagement and Luff’s goal for the upcoming year will be obtaining 70% engagement. The main areas that have been impacted are machinery/equipment improvements, employee training and procedure improvements.
About 50% of the ideas submitted were to improve equipment, focusing on preventative maintenance. This has eliminated problems before they occur, increasing efficiency and decreasing down time.
Also among the top ideas submitted by employees were requests for improved training, which is a great indication of the level of engagement and commitment. Several training sessions were scheduled. And as a result the number of customer complaints decreased by approximately 30% and the cost of non-conformance reports decreased by 14%.
There were several requests for improving the work procedures and methods, which has lead to producing a higher quality product. Employees received more clear and adequate instructions, drawings and procedures to follow. Providing them with the knowledge and guidance required to consistently produce high quality products.
The PIE program has had a very successful first year and although not all suggestions and ideas were implemented, all employees are recognized for their participation. Employees meet with the coordinator to explain their ideas and proudly take ownership. This program has contributed to cost savings, increased efficiency, improved product quality and better employee collaboration and teamwork. When company improvement is in the hands of every employee, at every level, they feel a greater sense of ownership of the company, reinforcing how important employee engagement is for continual improvement and growth of the company.
A big thank you to our Quality Assurance Manager, Mohsen Khalajzadeh for organizing and running the PIE program here at Luff Industries. Luff will continue to use the PIE program to improve in all areas of the company and its product offering, working to provide our customers with the highest quality products and customer service in the industry.