Employee Disengagement In The Manufacturing Industry


The UK manufacturing sector is facing an uphill battle to engage and retain its workforce while maximising productivity. With a staff base made up of mostly deskless workers, keeping everyone connected and actively engaged has its challenges.

For manufacturing companies wanting to overcome the communication barrier and improve the engagement levels among their teams, could technology be the answer?

In this blog post, StaffConnect shares its insight to explain the problem of disengagement in the manufacturing industry and how businesses can harness the digital transformation and onboard their teams with new technology to bring disengagement to a halt and reconnect with their workforce.

The scale of the problem

Manufacturing companies all over the world are struggling to engage their workforce. In the US, manufacturing is the worst-rated sector for employee engagement, while in the UK, only 35% of manufacturers rate their workers’ employee engagement as strong.

Given that employee disengagement is a US$7 trillion drain to businesses worldwide, causing non-productivity, high staff turnover rates and absenteeism, this is a massive issue for the sector as a whole.

The effects of disengagement in the sector haven’t gone unnoticed, either. Unplanned absences are cited as a key challenge by three quarters of managers in manufacturing and UK manufacturing employees say struggling with feeling undervalued, a lack of motivation and the complexity of their working lives as major issues.

What’s more, in 2018, labour turnover in UK manufacturing rose to 14.4% from 13.2%, with churn reaching 17.6% in London and the South-East. With the average cost of filling employee replacement at 90-200% of his/her annual salary, the results of disengagement are a silent drain on company profits.

The impact of disengagement

Disengagement is the product of underlying issues in the workforce, including:

  • Communication
  • Business investment and understanding
  • Poor employee/employer relations
  • Low motivation

Why engagement software is the solution

Specially developed engagement platforms for the manufacturing sector are designed to address these issues and put a block on the disengagement drain for companies.

  • Communication breakdown

90% of manufacturers are still relying on limited reach communications such as emails, noticeboards and newsletters, while only 52% are leveraging any kind of digital platform. Yet smartphone penetration rates are above 90% for those aged 16-54.

The possibility to leverage technology in the workplace is there, and engagement software developers are listening. With BYOD and mobile device management capabilities, cutting-edge platforms now allow staff to stay in the loop through their smartphones.

  • Lack of understanding and motivation

51% of UK employees feel their productivity would improve if they understood how their tasks fulfil wider company objectives, only 40% actually understand their companies goals, strategies and tactics.

Engagement software is breaking down the barrier between the boardroom and the dispersed workforce, allowing fluid comms between staff in all areas of the business.

  • Fractured employee-employer relationships

Delivering individual recognition across a dispersed workforce of a few hundred people simply through traditional means simply isn’t feasible. But with a purpose-built, modern system at your fingertips, this changes.

With a designated employee communications platform, manufacturing companies can stay in the loop, share information and reach out at the touch of a button.


The manufacturing sector is addressing many of its challenges through technology. With man-power being replaced by robots and automation to progress the industry, why should the way the sector manages its employees be any different?

BIO: This blog post was contributed by StaffConnect, a mobile-first engagement app designed to give employees a voice and bridge the gap between deskless and office-based workers.


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