March 7, 2024
March 1, 2024

Employee Recognition in Manufacturing: Tips, Strategies, and Benefits

Get Started with Awardco
Get a Demo
Man working in a factory with machinery.

The manufacturing industry is tough—everyone knows that. Hard work, hard hours, and often isolated working conditions that aren’t conducive to being recognized for your efforts. This has led to levels of turnover and dissatisfaction in the industry.

Employee recognition is one of the most effective ways to transform the conversation around the manufacturing industry. Recognition makes work more rewarding, leads to greater engagement, and boosts productivity. But only if it’s done right.

If you want to learn more about the power of recognition in the manufacturing industry and how to best implement recognition programs, you’ve come to the right place.

The State of the Manufacturing Industry

There are three statistics that sum up how manufacturing employees feel in present day:

  • 70% of them are considering quitting due to burnout
  • 66% of them are disengaged on a regular basis
  • Only 1 in 10 of them say recognition is an important part of their work culture

Many manufacturing employees are stressed, unhappy, and disengaged at work. They’re not getting recognized, and so they feel undervalued or unappreciated.

We understand that recognition in manufacturing can be tough, especially when many of your employees work on the frontline, travel frequently, or are always on the manufacturing floor. These challenges make it hard to make the culture changes you need to flip the script and help your people feel happier.

But one thing we can promise is that the benefits of effective recognition will be worth the effort.

Why Recognition Matters in Manufacturing

Making sure your employees feel recognized, valued, and supported is the cure for many of the challenges that the manufacturing industry faces. Let’s dive into some stats that show this:

  • Effective recognition can cut your turnover by 31%.
  • Recognition from managers increases employee engagement by 43%.
  • A culture of regular recognition helps employees feel 3X more loyal to their organization.
  • Recognition makes employees 56% less likely to look for a new job.
  • 37% of employees agree that recognition is the best motivator for them.

These are general statistics that apply to every industry. Here’s a more specific one you won’t forget: 97% of manufacturing employees who feel valued are highly motivated and satisfied.

Employee recognition can transform the manufacturing industry. It’s that simple.

Two men working on machinery in a factory

Strategies for Improving Employee Recognition in Manufacturing

To enjoy these amazing benefits, you need to know how to most effectively implement, improve, and spread recognition programs throughout your manufacturing organization. Here are some strategies to keep in mind.

Ensure Everyone—From Corporate to Floor Employees—Is Involved

Recognition in manufacturing is tough because some people use computers while others don’t; some people work in an office and others don’t; and some people may travel to sites all over the country.

In order for your recognition programs to really take off, EVERYONE needs to feel involved and noticed. If your programs only reach those in front of a computer, for example, those one the floor will feel even less engaged and more resentful.

Some ways to overcome this challenge:

  • Peer-to-peer recognition. Implementing an easy-to-use peer recognition program allows any employee, no matter where they work, to recognize those around them. This ensures that feelings of recognition are spread everywhere.
  • Bonus tip: Awardco lets you give individuals a recognition budget—so peers can give each other some points each month to make recognition more rewarding!
  • Digital and physical recognition methods. Digital recognition is convenient and simple—this is great for corporate locations and offices. However, don’t underestimate the power of a handwritten note or a thank you card for those who aren’t in front of a screen.
  • Bonus tip: AwardCodes provide the convenience of digital recognition with the joy of a physical card to make offline recognition a breeze. You can also set up SMS notifications so that floor employees can give and receive recognitions easier.
A woman supervisor in a factory

Case Study: MasterBrand Cabinets

Incentivize Desired Behaviors

One of the most important aspects of any manufacturing workplace is following safety and compliance rules. By using rewarding incentives, you can drive safe behaviors and get people excited about participating in your culture.

For example, All Access Staging, one of our clients, has created safety incentives to spread safe behaviors. Because they can offer a huge range of rewards that their employees actually want, they’ve seen a big jump in safety and compliance.

You can also incentivize wellness and productivity—simply build a program that rewards employees who perform certain acts or achieve certain goals.

Case Study: Southwest Gas

Integrate Core Values Into Recognition

When you’re on the manufacturing floor or the frontline, it can be hard to feel invested in the corporate core values, especially if they never come into play with your work.

However, by creating a recognition program that centers around your company core values, you can spread your desired culture to every employee.

A program like this would allow both managers and individual contributors to recognize others when they exemplify your core values. This recognition reinforces those values and inspires others to follow suit. 

Use Recognition to Transform Manufacturing

Manufacturing may be a tough industry, but it doesn’t have to be a thankless one. Use this knowledge and these strategies to either start new recognition programs or improve the ones you already have in ways tailored to improve the lives of your manufacturing employees. If you do, the ROI can be hugely impactful.

Women working on a tech assembly line.