In a previous article, we explored the link between employee turnover and a feeling of appreciation. As it turns out, appreciation is only a piece of the puzzle. There is a quantifiable link between employee happiness and productivity. Gallup estimates that the US loses $300 billion annually from lack of production due to employee disengagement. Three hundred billion dollars are lost each year because people are unhappy at work. While this figure is staggering, one would think it makes sense that happier employees are more productive. On the contrary, 95% of the 669 managers participating in the Gallup poll did not recognize the connection between meaningful work/progress and productivity. In fact, when listing employee motivators, they rated “supporting progress” as least important.
Summary of the Gallup Poll
Over the course of a decade, Gallup collected diary entries from 238 professionals in seven different companies. The 12,000 entries showed that one-third of the authors were unhappy, unmotivated, or both. Of the 64,000 specific workday events analyzed, the reigning most important event to affect engagement was making progress in meaningful work.
In this respect, managers have the responsibility to facilitate workers’ accomplishments. New York Times describes this as “removing obstacles, providing help, and acknowledging strong effort.” To the person employed by a manager who uses pressure to improve performance, these are unfamiliar concepts. Gallup’s research shows that worker autonomy, sufficient resources, and learning from problems are the catalysts to happiness and productivity. Of the seven companies they tracked, only one had a manager who consistently provided this kind of support. As reported in the New York Times, that company was “the only one to achieve a technological breakthrough in the months we studied it.”
What Does this Have to do With Manual Material Handling?
When you’re in the business of ergonomic solutions, you’re in the business of employee well-being. Mechanizing manual work spares employees of pain and injury. We see proof of this from organizations like OSHA and also our own customers. Additionally, our customers consistently report that their productivity increases with the use of our powered tugs. We’re proud to say that some of that has to do with the efficiency our products create. More work can be done in less time. However, we cannot ignore the impact ergonomics has on a person’s mental well-being. Employees engaged in a lot of manual work become fatigued and sore. Wearing out the body takes a mental toll as well as physical. In time, this is sure to affect how happy a person is at work and how much meaningful progress he is making. Offering relief from the most damaging activities, like pushing and pulling, do more than limit the risk of injury. It allows for a greater state of physical well-being, and therefore a healthier state of mind. This surely accounts for a lot of the boost in productivity we are hearing about.
It’s obvious that equipment alone cannot bring success to a business. Employees are the key. Employees with the right equipment, along with managerial support, will really impact that bottom line.