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8 Questions Manufacturers Want to Ask their Workforce

Posted by Olivier Tisserand | Fri, Sep 26, 2014 0 Comments

With Baby Boomers coming close to retiring or already retired, manufacturers must do all they can to keep employees and knowledge inside the company. Labor turnover can be costly and is very negative to manufacturing businesses, which depend on well-trained personnel and steady production. Here’s what you, we manufacturers, need to ask the workforce.

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Staff has changed radically over the last few years. With more women and Millennials working in the industry and as Baby Boomers step down, the face of the manufacturing labor force is changing, and manufacturers need to change along with it.

Adding to that change in personnel, the qualifications required of manufacturing workers have changed, too. A typical manufacturing worker today needs to have more technical and specialized skills in order to run machines and follow industrial processes, in a timely and cost effective manner. Staff requires preliminary training and, most important, continuing training to keep up with perpetual change in equipment and technology used in today’s modern manufacturing processes.

The loss of a manufacturing worker in our days can be a significant financial setback as money invested in his skills, knowledge, and experience are leaving the company with him. What can an employer do to retain its staff and stop losing talented labor?

Well, as for many situation, communication is the key to success. Managers: get to know your workforce, and stay in touch with them as much as possible. Below are 8 questions to ask your workforce and assess the level of engagement your manufacturing workforce and also keep them engaged and satisfied:

1) Are you satisfied with your current job?

Evaluating a worker’s job satisfaction can help recognize areas of the business that need change or improvement.

2) Would you recommend the company to others as a good place to work?

A referral from a current workers is one of the best recruiting tools available. If your employees don’t recommend the company to others, management needs to address the reasons. Dig deeper to find out what is stopping them from making that recommendation.

3) If you could change one thing in your current workplace, what would that be?

Your workers’ answers will point areas in your company where improvement is needed, especially if the same item is cited recurrently in the staff.

4) What is your main challenge on a usual workday?

By identifying these difficulties and correcting or minimizing them where possible, workers will be more satisfied with the work environment and more productive.

5) Do you think you have the necessary tools, qualifications and skills to perform your job? 

A well-trained staff with appropriate knowledge is critical in today’s manufacturing environment. Product quality improvement and reduction of the number of accidents are a couple of examples of advantages from such well-prepared workers.

6) What would make you look for another job? 

Knowing what causes a worker to want to get another job in another company can help management address current organizational problems and diminish the chance that a worker would resign.

7) How could we improve our current benefits and recognition program?

Everyone likes good medical coverage as well as being recognized and eventually rewarded for a job well done. Understanding what makes workers feel valued and special can do miracles in increasing engagement, happiness, fulfillment and confidence.

8) Do you see yourself working for the company in a couple years, or in 5 years?

Asking this question gives managers an idea of staff stability and also enhance worker ambitions. If the majority see themselves in the company in 5 years, then they feel comfortable with the work environment they are currently in. 


While some of these questions can be asked in casual conversation in the break room, some people will feel better answering them via anonymous means. A survey or a suggestion box can facilitate open and honest feedback. These questions could also be asked during the annual review. Retaining manufacturing workers is more important today than in the past. Understanding what motivates, engages, and rewards a production workforce is essential in keeping retention levels high and the number of resignations low.

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