Updated: Apr 10
Busy engineers get stressed. They fire-fight their way out of recurring problems while the root cause of those issues eludes them. Suspicions arise as to what's going wrong, and people get blamed. Tension mounts. Scuttlebutt goes against the management, and before you know it the workplace is seething with a daily atmosphere you don't want. Nevertheless, "I haven't got time," is the No.1 reason why people refuse the conversation it would take to set things straight.
"It’s not surprising that this results-focused industry isn’t alone in feeling the external pressures affecting their workforce, and the importance of understanding, supporting and prioritising employees’ mental wellbeing. The need, in a post-pandemic world, to support employees with their mental health has never been stronger. Greater wellbeing means a happier, healthier and more productive workforce. The engineering industry at large has taken progressive steps towards talking more openly and making positive changes to the way mental health is approached - but there’s always more that can be done." So says the article linked here, indicating that while decision makers are coming alive to the fact that personnel welfare is a profit-related issue, talking more openly and translating that talk into dynamic, well-proportioned action is a step largely yet to be taken. In the previous Blog post on Rocket Science, questions are raised regarding 'ease of application' in creating situations of a win-win nature, whereby the workplace can transform itself into a place of warmth and safety, and the operation can gain traction in producing the results it needs to see.
Staff put on a brave face to get the job done and get paid, but the thoughts they harbour have even more of an impact on the bottom line than the mechanised process. Operations rely wholly upon the people there to perform, and the heart of that fire you find yourself fighting fosters attitudinal misplacement. Once that's out in the open, honesty brings clarity - everyone feels better for it and the mission can take on a more closely-aligned trajectory. Phil Cross of UE Group said of their recent Analysis, "The engagement and understanding of our business goals has increased immeasurably due in no small part to the wider team appreciating the opportunity to participate in our vision for the future."
Just how much is lost by harbouring negativity? Can we put a figure on that?
Based on findings from Analysis surveys, 4 key problems are most commonly identified; here's a ballpark estimate of costs from each of them:
(Drawn from internet data on surveys non-specific to industry, working on an estimated £5-8m turnover and a headcount of 50 people)
Silo mentality (“that’s not my job” and role-prejudiced decision-making) typically loses 30% of annual revenue.
Attrition: loss of 2 staff p.a., average £15,000 per person needing to be replaced.
Low morale estimated to cost £1m per year for a company employing 200 people. One quarter of this figure:
In 2021 the Society of Human Resource Management estimated poor communication systems cost small businesses in the USA an average of $420,000 per year. Conversion and reduction for benefit of doubt:
Total estimated cost on an annual basis;
In the light of these findings, perhaps it's time to have a conversation, so that you too can convert the high cost of negativity into profits, cost-effectively.