Subscribe
The World's leading Oil & Gas online event

Virtual Conference

July 11, 2022

The world's leading Cultural Transformation Industry online event

Virtual Conference

July 26, 2022

Europe's leading iBPM Industry online event

Virtual Conference

August 2, 2022

The World's leading Enterprise Architecture Industry online event

Virtual Conference

August 9-10, 2022

The world's leading Artificial Intelligence industry online event

Virtual Conference

August 16, 2022

The world's leading RPA & IA Industry online event

Virtual Conference

August 23-25, 2022

The world's leading Digital Process Automation Industry online event

Virtual Conference

June 21, 2022

The world's leading Blockchain Industry online event

Virtual Conference

September 6-8, 2022

The world's leading Oil & Gas online event

Virtual Conference

July 12, 2022

The world's leading Cultural Transformation online event

Virtual Conference

July 26, 2022

The Europe's leading iBPM Industry online event

Virtual Conference

August 2, 2022

The world's leading Enterprise Architecture online event

Virtual Conference

August 9-10, 2022

The world's leading Artificial Intelligence online event

Virtual Conference

August 16, 2022

Larry Fast
By
November 07, 2016

ARTICLE: How Do You Re-engage an Apathetic, Aging Workforce?

Screenshot 2016-11-07 21.05.43.pngQUESTION: This reader’s question asks about “how to re-engage an aging workforce?” I’m paraphrasing several issues his company is facing, e.g., people just getting by; excessive absenteeism; employees not being replaced due to excess capacity so they don’t understand why they must improve when new capacity isn’t needed -- markets are flat for the last three years; expected to do more with less; weekly meetings that discuss the same issues with no resolution due to lack of resources, and a spending freeze.

ANSWER: One could write a book speaking to all of the underlying causes and possible solutions. But in the 800 words or so I have here, I’ll share some experiences that may be helpful. To one degree or another, these issues are common to a broad cross-section of U.S. industry that is still working to recover from the Great Recession. The aging of the baby boomers has been long forecasted, and the shortage of skilled workers is already surfacing as a constraint to manufacturing companies for engineers, scientists, skilled trades, electronic techs, certain machine operators with special skills and so on.

In contrast, those performing manual labor and running outdated, legacy equipment are finding themselves disadvantaged. That won’t change until the company rebuilds basic capabilities that their competition is using to grow market share. But in this particular case, my impression is that the factory in question does not have an operating model that will result in success. A resurgence in the market won’t change the underlying issues in the factory that apparently have been building over a long period of time.

Here’s what I’d do:

  • Recognize around the leadership table that workers are behaving the way they’ve been trained by their leadership, past and present, to behave over a long period of time. As a team are they ready to face this head on? If so proceed down this list. If not, stop here and live with it until the plant closes.
  • Plan and execute a series of all employee meetings where the most senior leader of the facility delivers the same script with all groups on all shifts. (A script is important to ensure that every person in the business hears exactly the same message. No winging it!) The script should include a short-version of why you are where you are and do a mea culpa for leaders past and present who have not done their jobs helping to keep the business competitive. Acknowledge that most employees, both salaried and hourly, past and present, have actively participated in creating the culture that exists in the business. Communications have been poor and there has been little if any engagement on the part of the leadership over a long period of time.  The outcome of this chronic dysfunction is that hourly people began checking their brains at the time clock and picking them up on the way home since their leadership stopped listening or otherwise involving them.
  • In these meetings cover a number of these topics below which the plant leadership team will face head on after appropriate sign-offs from their bosses so there is support and zero surprises for all:
  • Right-size the business based on the best market and customer forecast possible for the next six to 12 months. Too many companies elongate this process thinking bluer skies are just around the next bend. Assume they are not. Use the forecast to decide. Don’t put your people through the torture of worrying every day if they’re going to be next -- I liken this approach to cutting a dog’s tail off one inch at a time. Set the new baseline capacity and size the operation accordingly.
  • Work with your business HR and finance functions to offer an early retirement package for hourly and salaried workers who are age (pick your number) or older.  Don’t miss the chance to include as many malcontents as possible to get the bad attitudes and behaviors out of the building. In a union shop be sure to get their leaders involved early. Discuss openly the history of non-productive relationships with leadership and the union and leadership’s commitment to change. Work with HR/labor relations and the union to be sure their leaders are on board and willing to change as well.
  • Reset the deck on the new leadership expectations re: creating/updating/following standard work processes.
  • Make it clear that the absenteeism policy applies to all. If someone is no longer employable due to health considerations, work with them to explore a disability solution. If it’s simply a question of excessive absenteeism that makes them unemployable, then execute the policy to the letter for everyone. Consistency is critical. Remind all employees what the policy is so there aren’t any surprises later when it is enforced.
  • Have your team determine what cost structure must be in place for the operation to be viable based on the forecasted volumes and explain/quantify that need to all employees. They need to know that the plant has to get better -- probably much better -- if they want to retain their jobs longer term and if there’s any chance of growing jobs into the future. At this juncture the survival of the business is at risk.
  • As the low-hanging cost improvements begin to deliver, be sure and plan some ongoing training of how the company will be managed in the new paradigm as it relates specifically to hourly folks, supervision, et al.

The circumstances described in the reader’s question makes it pretty clear that this is a complete turnaround kind of project. The business model isn’t working, and the relationship with hourly employees must undergo major improvement. We can be sure that there are lots of underlying issues here that we simply cannot address in this space and without more information. But there are a few key takeaways from the situation as described:

  • For management to have any chance of regaining lost credibility, it starts with them looking their people in the eyes and telling them the truth about the state of the business. Get out on the shop floor and engage the workers one-on-one or in small groups.  Have open discussions with an honest exchange. Consider doing a formal employee attitude survey to get unfiltered feedback. Find out what and where the most problematic issues are. Then deal with them. Follow up relentlessly and help solve the things you can, and explain why there are others that you can’t. Most of all, be truthful. Earning the employees’ trust and developing management credibility is huge.
  • Once the right-sizing has been completed, recognize the frustration and hopelessness that has permeated the culture, and ask for everyone’s help in changing it with better processes and an attitude of ‘how can I help?’
  • Address the need for change head on. As W. Edwards Deming said, “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.”

Take a Look at Larry's Contributor Profile

BTOE_Awards_Long_Ad.png


Proqis Digital Virtual Conference Series

View our schedule of industry leading free to attend virtual conferences. Each a premier gathering of industry thought leaders and experts sharing key solutions to current challenges.

Download the most comprehensive OpEx Resport in the Industry

The Largest Leadership-Level Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Event

The Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Industry Awards Video Presentation

Proqis Events Schedule

Proqis Digital

The Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Industry Awards

Welcome to BTOES Insights, the content portal for Business Transformation & Operational Excellence opinions, reports & news.
300x300-LX-Connect-Boston
24097-Proqis-Media-Pack-Banner-300x300
ACCESS 50 VIDEO PRESENTATIONS
Access all 75 Award Finalist Entires
RESEARCH REPORT 2021/2022
BTOES AWARD - NO DATE
BTOES UNIVERSAL GRAPHIC - NO DATE
Subscribe to Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Insights Now
btoes19.png
png
ATTENDEE - Proqis Digital Event Graphics-1
Proqis Digital Event Graphic
ATTENDEE - Proqis Digital Event Graphics (4)
ATTENDEE - Proqis Digital Event Graphics (2)
ATTENDEE - Proqis Digital Event Graphics (3)
Proqis Digital Event Graphic
png

Featured Content

  • Best Achievement of Operational Excellence in Technology & Communications: IBM
  • Best Achievement of Operational Excellence in Oil & Gas, Power & Utilities: Black & Veatch
  • Best Achievement in Cultural Transformation to deliver a high performing Operational Excellence culture: NextEra Energy
   
Operational Excellence Frameworks and Learning Resources, Customer Experience, Digital Transformation and more introductions
  • Intelligent BPM Systems: Impact & Opportunity
  • Surviving_the_IT_Talent_deficit.png
  • Six Sigma's Best Kept Secret: Motorola & The Malcolm Baldrige Awards
  • The Value-Switch for Digitalization Initiatives: Business Process Management
  • Process of Process Management: Strategy Execution in a Digital World

Popular Tags

Speaker Presentation Operational Excellence Business Transformation Business Improvement Business Excellence Process Management Continuous Improvement process excellence Process Optimization Process Improvement Leadership Award Finalist Case Study Digital Transformation Enterprise Excellence Change Management Premium Lean Organizational Excellence Lean Enterprise Lean Six Sigma Execution Excellence Capability Excellence New Technologies Changing & Improving Company Culture Agile end-to-end Business Transformation Execution & Sustaining OpEx Projects Lack of/Need for Resources Leadership Understanding & Buy-In Culture Transformation Adapting to Business Trends Changing Customer Demands Failure to Innovate Integrating CI Methodologies Lack of/Need for Skilled Workers Lack of/Need for Support from Employees Maintaining key Priorities Relationships Between Departments BTOES18 Enterprise Architecture BTOES From Home RPA & Intelligent Automation Live Technology Financial Services Insights Article Customer Experience Excellence Healthcare Process Mining Healthcare and Medical Devices Process Automation iBPM Culture Customer Experience Innovation BTOES Video Presentations Exclusive BTOES HEALTH Strategy Execution Business Challenges Report Industry Cultural Transformation Manufacturing Digital Workplace Transformation Robotic Process Automation (RPA) IT Infrastructure & Cloud Strategies Digital Process Automation BPM Automation AI Lean Manufacturing Webinar innovation execution Robotic Process Automation IT value creation Agility Business Supply Chain Planning Systems Engineering RPAs Insurance Process Design Digital data management Speaker Article Speaker's Interview digital operations Awards Oil & Gas thought leaders Artificial Intelligence BTOES Presentation Slides Cloud Machine Learning Data Analytics Digital Transformation Workplace Banking and Capital Markets Transformation Data Finance Professional Services Education IT Infrastructure IT Infrastructure & Cloud Strategies Live Intelligent Automation Blockchain Interview Business Process Management White Paper investment banking BTOES19 Consumer Products & Retail Government Operational Excellence Model Project Management Algorithm Automotive and Transportation Banking Business Environment Digital Bank Primary Measure of succes Sales business expansion revenue growth Adobe Sign Agile Transformation BTOES Delivery solution E-Signatures Electricity Global Technology HealthcareTechnologies Innovation in Healthcare Relationship Management Transportation Accounts Receivable (AR) Big Data Technology CORE Cloud Technology Cognitive learning Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) Logistics Services Operational Excellence Example Risk Management Solving Cash Flow with AI business process automation transformation journey Analytics Insight Covid-19 Data Entry Digital Experience Digital Network Digital Network Assistant (DNA) Digitization Drinks Enterprise Agile Planning HR Hybrid Work Model Internet Media NPS Net Promoter Score Program Management Portal (PgMP) Six Sigma Sustainability TechXLive Automated Money Movement Biopharmaceutical Blue Room Effect Capital Market CoE Creative Passion Digital Transformation Workplace Live Digital Workforce Digitalization ERP Transformation Effective Change Leaders Enterprise architecture as an enabler Finance Global Operations (FGO) Financial Services Software Frameworks Hoshin Planning Human Capital Lean Culture Natural Gas Infrastructure Natural Language Processing Organizational Change Pharmaceutical Pharmaceuticals & Life Sciences Project manager Supply Chain Management Sustainable Growth The New Era of Automation Transformation Initiatives Workplace Analytics eForms eSignatures 3D Thinking BEAM BFARM BTOES17 Banking & Financial Services Big Data Processing Business Analytics Business Growth Business Process Governance Centralized Performance Monitoring System Communication Creativity Digital Technologies Digital Technology Educational Psychologist Energy Management Health Insurance Health Maintenance Organizations Hospitality & Construction Human Centered Design Integrated Decision Approach Integrated Decision Making Kaizen Medicare Moodset for Excellence Natural Language Processing (NLP) Offering Managers Oil and Gas Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences Photographing Price and Routing Tracking (PART) Process Design Document (PDD) Product Identifier Descriptions (PIDs) Python Quote to Cash (Q2C) Reduce your RPA TCO Resilience SAP Sales Quota Team Work Telecommunications Text Mining The Document is Dead The Fully Automated Contact Center Visually Displayed Work Culture master text analytics virtual resource management Agile methodology Announcement

Proqis Digital Virtual Conference Series

View our schedule of industry leading free to attend virtual conferences. Each a premier gathering of industry thought leaders and experts sharing key solutions to current challenges.

Webinars

 

Delivered by Progressive Thought-Leaders

 

Watch On-Demand Recordings For Free

Watch On-Demand Recording - Access all sessions from progressive thought leaders free of charge from our industry leading virtual conferences.
 

Best-In-Class Training

Delivered by the industry's most progressive thought leaders from the world's top brands.
Start learning today!
 

BTOES From Home - On-Demand

The premier Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Conference. Watch sessions on-demand for free. Use code: BFH1120

Proqis Digital Virtual Conference Series

View our schedule of industry leading free to attend virtual conferences. Each a premier gathering of industry thought leaders and experts sharing key solutions to current challenges.

Webinars

 

Delivered by Progressive Thought-Leaders

 

Watch On-Demand Recordings For Free

Watch On-Demand Recording - Access all sessions from progressive thought leaders free of charge from our industry leading virtual conferences.
 

Best-In-Class Training

Delivered by the industry's most progressive thought leaders from the world's top brands.
Start learning today!
 

BTOES From Home - On-Demand

The premier Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Conference. Watch sessions on-demand for free. Use code: BFH1120

Proqis Digital Virtual Conference Series

View our schedule of industry leading free to attend virtual conferences. Each a premier gathering of industry thought leaders and experts sharing key solutions to current challenges.

Webinars

 

Delivered by Progressive Thought-Leaders

 

Watch On-Demand Recordings For Free

Watch On-Demand Recording - Access all sessions from progressive thought leaders free of charge from our industry leading virtual conferences.
 

Best-In-Class Training

Delivered by the industry's most progressive thought leaders from the world's top brands.
Start learning today!
 

BTOES From Home - On-Demand

The premier Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Conference. Watch sessions on-demand for free. Use code: BFH1120

Proqis Digital Virtual Conference Series

View our schedule of industry leading free to attend virtual conferences. Each a premier gathering of industry thought leaders and experts sharing key solutions to current challenges.

Webinars

 

Delivered by Progressive Thought-Leaders

 

Watch On-Demand Recordings For Free

Watch On-Demand Recording - Access all sessions from progressive thought leaders free of charge from our industry leading virtual conferences.
 

Best-In-Class Training

Delivered by the industry's most progressive thought leaders from the world's top brands.
Start learning today!
 

BTOES From Home - On-Demand

The premier Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Conference. Watch sessions on-demand for free. Use code: BFH1120

Proqis Digital Virtual Conference Series

View our schedule of industry leading free to attend virtual conferences. Each a premier gathering of industry thought leaders and experts sharing key solutions to current challenges.

Webinars

 

Delivered by Progressive Thought-Leaders

 

Watch On-Demand Recordings For Free

Watch On-Demand Recording - Access all sessions from progressive thought leaders free of charge from our industry leading virtual conferences.
 

Best-In-Class Training

Delivered by the industry's most progressive thought leaders from the world's top brands.
Start learning today!
 

BTOES From Home - On-Demand

The premier Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Conference. Watch sessions on-demand for free. Use code: BFH1120

Proqis Digital Virtual Conference Series

View our schedule of industry leading free to attend virtual conferences. Each a premier gathering of industry thought leaders and experts sharing key solutions to current challenges.

Webinars

 

Delivered by Progressive Thought-Leaders

 

Watch On-Demand Recordings For Free

Watch On-Demand Recording - Access all sessions from progressive thought leaders free of charge from our industry leading virtual conferences.
 

Best-In-Class Training

Delivered by the industry's most progressive thought leaders from the world's top brands.
Start learning today!
 

BTOES From Home - On-Demand

The premier Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Conference. Watch sessions on-demand for free. Use code: BFH1120

Proqis Digital Virtual Conference Series

View our schedule of industry leading free to attend virtual conferences. Each a premier gathering of industry thought leaders and experts sharing key solutions to current challenges.

Webinars

 

Delivered by Progressive Thought-Leaders

 

Watch On-Demand Recordings For Free

Watch On-Demand Recording - Access all sessions from progressive thought leaders free of charge from our industry leading virtual conferences.
 

Best-In-Class Training

Delivered by the industry's most progressive thought leaders from the world's top brands.
Start learning today!
 

BTOES From Home - On-Demand

The premier Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Conference. Watch sessions on-demand for free. Use code: BFH1120

Proqis Digital Virtual Conference Series

View our schedule of industry leading free to attend virtual conferences. Each a premier gathering of industry thought leaders and experts sharing key solutions to current challenges.

Webinars

 

Delivered by Progressive Thought-Leaders

 

Watch On-Demand Recordings For Free

Watch On-Demand Recording - Access all sessions from progressive thought leaders free of charge from our industry leading virtual conferences.
 

Best-In-Class Training

Delivered by the industry's most progressive thought leaders from the world's top brands.
Start learning today!
 

BTOES From Home - On-Demand

The premier Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Conference. Watch sessions on-demand for free. Use code: BFH1120

Proqis Digital Virtual Conference Series

View our schedule of industry leading free to attend virtual conferences. Each a premier gathering of industry thought leaders and experts sharing key solutions to current challenges.

Webinars

 

Delivered by Progressive Thought-Leaders

 

Watch On-Demand Recordings For Free

Watch On-Demand Recording - Access all sessions from progressive thought leaders free of charge from our industry leading virtual conferences.
 

Best-In-Class Training

Delivered by the industry's most progressive thought leaders from the world's top brands.
Start learning today!
 

BTOES From Home - On-Demand

The premier Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Conference. Watch sessions on-demand for free. Use code: BFH1120

Proqis Digital Virtual Conference Series

View our schedule of industry leading free to attend virtual conferences. Each a premier gathering of industry thought leaders and experts sharing key solutions to current challenges.

Webinars

 

Delivered by Progressive Thought-Leaders

 

Watch On-Demand Recordings For Free

Watch On-Demand Recording - Access all sessions from progressive thought leaders free of charge from our industry leading virtual conferences.
 

Best-In-Class Training

Delivered by the industry's most progressive thought leaders from the world's top brands.
Start learning today!
 

BTOES From Home - On-Demand

The premier Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Conference. Watch sessions on-demand for free. Use code: BFH1120