Here is a little look into the mind of a manufacturing director and his take on employee engagement. We recently interviewed Wayne Bouvier to share a little more about who we are, what we do, and what our employees find important about their jobs. Enjoy.
As the director of manufacturing, how many people do you have working with you?
At this point, as the Lowell operation is just ramping up, I only have four direct reports with two open positions that we are currently recruiting to fill.
What type of managerial style do you have?
Early on in my career I began to practice leadership through coaching and mentorship. Most employees have various backgrounds and experiences and I believe that managers can help to grow an employee’s knowledge and career path through this practice. It not only benefits the employee but the employer as well.
Do you think it’s important to tweak managerial style depending on the person?
Absolutely. Just like everyone contributes in different ways. It is important to understand the individual, their passions, their career goals so that we can properly set performance expectations.
What does your day-to-day work look like?
My day starts early with some meetings beginning as early as 4:30 A.M. As we are a young company, it is a mix of supervision, hands on participation in procurement, planning, manufacturing, and quality control activities.
Is it hard to mix management with hands-on work?
I would not say it is easy, but most of my career has been working in start-up environments. Like anything else, it is important to set priorities, and avoid distractions as much as possible. Number one focus is always employee safety.
What do you think employee engagement means for a company?
Employee engagement can mean the success or failure of a company. To me, it is a barometer of the company’s culture. Organizations, at a minimum, should engage in open communications and active listening to address the needs of their staff. Failure to do so can foster low productivity and morale, which leads to high employee turnover.
Speaking from your 35 years of experience in the electronics manufacturing sector, what’s the good way to do it and what’s the absolutely worst way to do it?
Establish a team environment where all ideas are welcome. Recognize and reward performance that goes beyond expectations. Hold townhall meetings with senior leadership to report corporate successes and strategies, employee highlights, and customer feedback, good or bad.
The worst way is to close off communications and discourage active participation through a dictatorship management style.
Have you seen it done well?
Yes, my time spent at Schneider Electric. They are the benchmark against which all companies should measure their business practices. Fortune ranked them #7 in 2020.
How do you think it can be achieved?
While it is a simple premise, keep an open dialog with your employees. Listen to what they are saying and address those concerns. Commit to and discuss inclusion, diversity, and teamwork. Recognize your best performers. If you have performers of the month, have other employees nominate that person or persons.