A Low-Cost Way of Benchmarking Employee Engagement

Last week, Fusion OEM celebrated being among the companies that were named to the 16th annual Daily Herald Business Ledger’s Annual Best Places to Work in Illinois program. Winners were ranked based on a written survey of the company and interviews with a sampling of its employees. We originally applied for the award to get a low-cost outside source to benchmark where we were and to identify opportunities for improvement. Rather than hire a HR Consultant, we wanted a simple and relatively inexpensive method to sample genuine feedback from our team. Results from this thorough employee sample confirmed what we already knew: employee engagement is the fuel that drives the value of our company. The 74 companies winning the award enjoyed a 91 percent employee engagement rate, according to Best Companies Group President Peter Burke.

Keynote speaker Tony Lepore, Director of Brand Strategy at Shaker Recruitment Advertising & Communications, identified four areas of employer branding that can help companies capitalize on winning this award:

  • Thinking differently
  • Knowing what your ideal candidate looks like
  • Measuring employee performance
  • Not being afraid to disrupt the status quo

“If we’re not actively working to elevate the brand, we tend to work against it,” he stated.

At Fusion, we understand that people are the primary source of our competitive advantage. As we all have heard before, products can easily be copied, technological innovation can prove fleeting, and more facilities can be built, but the quality of manufacturing talent, its passion and commitment, is nearly impossible to duplicate. As the great Jim Collins states, Packard’s Law (David Packard of HP) in the book How the Mighty Fall, “No company can consistently grow revenues faster than its ability to get enough of the right people to implement that growth and still become a great company. [And] if a company consistently grows revenue faster than its ability to get enough of the right people to implement that growth, it will not simply stagnate; it will fail.” As a privately held company, we have the luxury of not being pressured to grow any faster than we can find the right people, and that has made all the difference.

As a contract manufacturer, maintaining a competitive advantage is essential. When times get rough, it could be easy to forget the ‘people’ element and focus sights solely on hitting financial targets. Yet prioritizing a sound culture of employee engagement allows us to retain top talent and reap the benefits of a loyal workforce committed to the future success of our business.