While 71 percent of respondents said they would recommend their company's products as the best a customer could buy, only 50 percent would recommend their organization as one of the best places to work. And only 45 percent would stay with their employer if offered slightly higher pay elsewhere.
Nonetheless, says Joel Van Haaften, director of the study and a senior consultant with Aon, there are opportunities for manufacturing companies to improve the commitment of their work force.
"By addressing concerns such as workplace stress and employees' desire for personal growth opportunities, manufacturing organizations can increase the commitment and productivity of employees," says Van Haaften. "This, in turn, can have a significant impact on organizational success."
The manufacturing industry scored high in workplace safety and security, but just 36 percent of respondents said their company is doing enough to create a stress-free work environment.
Aon's research found that for workplace practices to impact commitment levels, employers must focus on the basic issues of safety/security and rewards first. Only then should attention be paid to the creation of a sense of spirit and pride in the organization, growth and work/life harmony.
Aon's results are consistent with the findings of a study by Alpern, Rosenthal & Co. and Robert Morris University. In a survey of approximately 200 manufacturing companies in Western Pennsylvania with sales of between $5 million and $50 million, the investigators concluded that high performing companies value their employees and are more likely to offer formalized training programs, use employee input to improve their processes and offer financial rewards for ideas that save money.
Both personal and organizational growth may have the largest payoff toward a more productive manufacturing work force, says Van Haaften, but the study found that 31 percent of employees were not satisfied with their employer's communication about internal career opportunities.
Says Van Haaften: "Management needs to be more direct in their communication to employees about the growth opportunities within the company." How to reach: Aon Consulting, www.aon.com; Alpern, Rosenthal & Co., www.alpern.com