Every employee of Globe Manufacturing, located in Pittsfield, NH, used to go on vacation at the same time—for two weeks in July during the plant’s annual scheduled summer shutdown. This sort of shutdown is a decades-long manufacturing tradition, when plants shut down for maintenance and to preserve worker output (the assembly line would not have been effective if vacations were staggered, as they don’t work at full capacity with even one worker missing). However, that opportunity comes at a cost, as your employees are most affected by shutdowns.
Globe Manufacturing realized their workers value greater flexibility in their schedules. In response, they no longer shut down their plants. Today, employees at Globe Manufacturing now receive 22 days of paid time off and a choice to start work between 6-8 a.m.
HR manager Gayle Troy says the flexibility makes their workers happier and more empowered to make their own decisions.
According to Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace report, manufacturing had some of the lowest engagement rates with only a quarter of employees engaged with their jobs. A disengaged workforce will suffer from lower productivity levels, resulting in a 33% decline in operational income and an 11% dip in earnings growth.
If increased flexibility improves employee happiness and engagement as in the case of Globe Manufacturing, scheduling inflexible or intrusive summer shutdowns could actually hurt manufacturers. Rigid shutdowns may have served an assembly line that depended on every single worker to run, but with today’s technology supporting the workforce, summer shutdowns don’t have to be so rigid.
Here’s how you can plan a summer shutdown that improves employee morale and strengthens your company culture: