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Employee EngagementApril 9, 2022

How to engage blue-collar workers with employee surveys

Blue-collar worker

Employee engagement is an essential key to building a high-performing organisation and workforce. But engaging blue-collar employees comes with some specific challenges.

Blue-collar workers and employee engagement

Studies show that blue-collar workers often are less engaged and less satisfied with their employee experience than their white-collar counterparts. As this Harvard Business Review report showed, "People working blue-collar jobs report lower levels of overall happiness in every region around the world. This is the case across a variety of labor-intensive industries like construction, mining, manufacturing, transport, farming, fishing and forestry." Retention is also a challenge in blue-collar jobs, especially in the "new blue-collar" industries, like food service and hospitality.

What gets measured gets managed

So, what can companies do to change this, and reap the many rewards of a more engaged workforce? Perhaps you've heard the saying, "what gets measured gets managed." That applies very well to employee engagement. While all companies measure their business KPIs and productivity rigorously, many only measure employee engagement once a year.

However, organisations are now beginning to realize the value and ROI that comes with a more agile and proactive approach to employee engagement. With intelligent pulse surveys you can track the level of engagement and work proactively to improve it.

One of the challenges when it comes to employee surveys in a blue-collar environment is often how to make the surveys accessible to the employees. While white-collar employees often have access to phones and computers and usually have a work-related email address and phone number, that is not always the case with blue-collar employees. Manual workers often don't have work-related digital devices, which means there need to be alternative ways to access and answer employee engagement surveys.

employee engagement surveys blue collar workers

KIOSK makes it easy to answer employee surveys

The Eletive KIOSK feature enables employees who don't have work phones or work emails to participate in the employee surveys using a KIOSK code. With the KIOSK mode, neither phone number nor email is needed. Unique codes are generated for each employee, and the codes can be downloaded and distributed to the employees in different ways. To participate in the survey, employees use a "KIOSK", i.e., a communal tablet or computer, to enter their code and answer the survey.

Blue-collar, grey-collar, or white-collar? 

The term "blue-collar" describes jobs where work is often manually labored, waged, or salaried. In many cases, blue-collar jobs don't require higher education. But it's becoming increasingly common that blue-collar jobs do require highly skilled workers with a formal education, specialised in performing specific tasks.

Examples of blue-collar jobs requiring special training are found in aeronautics, filmmaking, and electronics. Jobs somewhere between white and blue-collar jobs are often referred to as grey-collar jobs. Grey-collar describes jobs that incorporate some elements of both blue- and white-collar.

Benefits of employee engagement in blue-collar work environments

Blue-collar jobs differ from white-collar jobs in many ways. The blue-collar work environment is different, the working conditions are different, and engaging the blue-collar workforce through employee feedback is often perceived as more challenging than engaging white-collar workers. But whether your workforce is primarily blue-, grey- or white-collars, the benefits of investing in engagement are numerous.

  • Improved productivity

  • Reduced employee turnover

  • Reduced sick leave

  • Improved safety

  • A stronger employer brand

This article dives deeper into the benefits of employee engagement: 5 benefits of employee engagement

How to engage blue-collar workers

Listening is the first step toward engaging blue-collar employees

Internal communication is a bit of a one-way street in many labor-intensive industries. Announcements, policies, and updates often come from the top, and then the conversation ends. But today, employees need more transparency and communication to stay engaged. Keeping all your employees in the loop and asking for their feedback will show they are valued and make them more engaged. By sending regular pulse surveys to all employees in the organisation, you will gain valuable real-time insights into the level of engagement and employee experience.

Recommended reading: Best practices for employee engagement surveys

Take action on your insights

Gathering feedback is the first step towards a more engaged and committed workforce. The next step is acting on that feedback. This way, you show the team that their feedback matters, and this will motivate people to stay engaged and keep sharing their valuable input. With Eletive, managers can access their team results so that they can work together with their teams to improve them. This takes a lot of pressure from HR and gives managers and individuals the tools to build a better workplace. 

Investing in health and wellbeing

Stress and fatigue are prevalent in all work settings: in the office, in the field, and on the floor. On top of that, blue-collar jobs are often physically demanding. Regular surveys are a great way to ensure your workplace provides a safe work environment and provides the best conditions for maximum health and productivity. By giving employees the chance to leave anonymous feedback, you will find out earlier if there are issues that need attention – so that you can be proactive and prevent them from turning into more severe problems.

Providing opportunities for learning and development

Closing skills gaps through continuous skill development benefit the company and increase employee engagement. Not all people are interested in advancing their careers and evolving in their roles, but working in a blue-collar job does not equate to not having any such desire. The best way to understand if your employees are happy with their opportunities to learn and develop is to ask them.

Apply a Moments that Matter approach

Focusing on "Moments that matter" is an emerging approach that is quickly gaining ground in HR. The concept originates from customer experience, where so-called "moments of truth" are points in the customer journey that determine whether or not a potential customer will buy from a company. In HR, "moments that matter" are important moments in the employee journey that notably impact the employee experience and engagement. 

Recommended reading: "Moments that matter" in the employee experience [with examples]

The best employee survey tool for blue-collar workers

Choosing the right platform makes a big difference when it comes to measuring and increasing engagement in a blue-collar workforce. The process of answering the surveys and acting on the results needs to be user-friendly and easy to access, to ensure a high participation rate.

At Eletive, we work with a large number of companies employing blue-collar workers, and we'd love to show you why our People Success Platform is the perfect fit for blue-collar work environments. Schedule a demo with one of our experts to learn more!

Recommended reading: How to increase employee survey participation

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