A lot of companies create internal / external engagement platforms for employees and customers to suggest improvements, product recommendations. The trend is more common in technology industry with the one of the most notable example being that of Ideastorm by Dell. A lot of IT service companies also promote the use of internal wikis and collaboration platforms to encourage employee participation in one way or the other. However, it is seldom that one hears employee engagement in a core manufacturing company and an automobile company at that. Automotive companies are infamous for labor unrests and the losses the companies faces as a result of frequent strikes etc.
Hence, I was pleasantly surprised when I read this article which said that Maruti saved close to Rs 160 crore last fiscal largely due to inputs received from its employees through various engagement programs.
The company apparently runs a lot of engagement programs encouraging the employees to come ahead and give suggestions on improving efficiency and productivity. According to a senior executive officer, the company received around 2.29 lakh suggestions from its employees ranging from minor changes to significant improvements. Implementing the changes suggested by the workers has resulted in significant cost savings for the company.
The article does not share any concrete details on which ideas/suggestions did Maruti implement to save costs but it surely is striving for transparency in the workplace. Involving employees at all levels and encouraging them to contribute towards the company’s growth is a brilliant move. Rewarding employees for their inputs is the icing on the cake and further encourages participation. In an industry which always tends to have trouble managing its workforce, Maruti seems to be doing a great job at not maintaining cordial relations with its employees but also benefitting from their inputs.
Taking the idea further, I wonder if & why we don’t get to hear of many more positive examples of employee engagement initiatives or is that not a lot of organizations encourage it. The monetary benefits like in the case of Maruti may not be evident but I am sure harnessing collective intelligence of the workforce can only work in the employer’s favor.
The infrastructure to facilitate an engagement platform could be a show stopper but with the exponential rise of social media tools and enterprise collaboration platforms, I don’t see it as a major problem. A little push from the senior management and a transparent governance mechanism should do the trick in my opinion.
What’s your take on encouraging employee participation in improving the organization’s operational and performance dynamics? Does your organization encourage suggestions to be a part of it’s growth story?
Do share your thoughts…