You’ve put a lot of effort into crafting the vision and mission statements of your organization. You also have a lofty set of values that you strive to uphold. But, to many not-so-well-read of your employees, these lovely words on paper remain just that- words on paper. No doubt, some of your less learned employees might never even be aware of the fact that there is such a paper with these words on it, words that they have been assumed to internalize.
While in the corporate world today, there is a lot of talk on optimizing on diversity, bridging gaps and crossing borders, one divide still remains- the one between white collars and blue collars. Think about it. Is the work culture in your organization only for the “educated”?
Ideally, it shouldn’t be. So, how do you transcend your work culture for your blue-collar employees?
- Encourage Participation: You need to make blue-collar workers actively partake in the maintenance of your organizational culture. A simple step could be to translate your corporate mission, vision and values into languages that your workers speak. Explain to them what you believe in, what you need the culture to be and why they are an essential part of it. Hold regular meetings to understand what challenges they face and what changes they require. Lesser qualifications and lack of fluency in English does not equate to a lack of education. A person might not even be literate but might have years of experiential education that your organization could greatly benefit from.
- A Culture of Security: Most blue-collar workers tend to be insecure about their jobs as they are often replaced by robots and machines. To involve them in your culture actively, you could encourage collective bargaining forums as well as implement policies that ensure positions in other departments in the event that they might lose their jobs due to mechanization.
- Motivation: Pay is the biggest motivation for the majority of your wage-workers. There is usually very little work-engagement or organizational loyalty among them as they are in it for a basic salary that probably their whole family depends upon. In most cases, they would leave your organization the moment they are offered greater pay by anyone else. Make sure that you provide a competitive compensation and benefits plan. Reward your daily wagers for extra hours, adherence to safety standards, regularity as well as commendable performance.
A culture that only takes into consideration desk-jobs and ignores the individuals that put in hours of manual labour, is essentially incomplete and farcical. You need to build a culture that your blue-collar workers can relate to and set goals that make sense to them.
If your organization is into manufacturing or retail, there are chances that your workforce comprises of a large population of semi-skilled waged workers. You know that they are essential for your organization but when it comes to work culture, most organizations tend to focus on getting the white-collars on-board. Motivating blue-collar employees and making them realize that they are a part of the greater work culture is the key to a successful organization.
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Tags: Alignment, Blue Collar Workers, Diversity and Inclusion, Employee Empowerment, Employee Engagement, Employee Participation, Happiness At Work, Human Resources, Never Grow Up, People First, White Collar Workers, Work Culture, Work Environment