Break Room Ransom Note

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June 21, 2017
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October 24, 2017
Employee engagement

Is your break room holding your employee engagement hostage?



Did you get a ransom note in the mail? It came from your break room.  Your break room is holding your employee engagement hostage.  At lunch, your employees have their faces buried in their phones while they eat.

“Well…what else are they suppose to do in the break room at lunch?” you ask.

Interact. Engage each other.  Have real life conversations. Talk. Smile. Laugh.

Fun & friendships may not be two things that come to mind when you think about employees in manufacturing.(Insert skeptical side eye glances from everyone imagining silly string fights over a conveyor belt). Keep reading.



Gallup poll recently found that:

  • Employees are 7x more likely to be fully engaged if they have friends at work.
  • 70% of employees say friends at work is the most crucial element to a happy working life.
  • 58% of men would refuse a higher paying job if it meant not getting along with coworkers. 74% of women said the same.
  • 25% increase in morale and productivity for simple things like larger lunch tables.
  • 71% of employees want their co-workers to be a second family.
  • Work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50%.
  • 43% of employees that have a best friend at work are more likely to receive praise in the last seven days.
  • 37% of employees are more likely to have someone at work encourage their development.
  • 35% of employees are more likely to report coworker commitment to quality.
  • 28% of employees that have a best friend at work are more likely to report that in the last six months, someone at work has talked to them about their progress.
  • 27% are more likely to report that their opinions seem to count at work.
  • 21% of employees with a best friend at work say that they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day.
  • 50% of employees with a best friend at work reported that they feel a strong connection with their company.
  • 1/3 of adults have met at least one of their closest friends at work.
  • 36% of employees would give up $5000 a year in salary to be happier at work.

Safety, quality and productivity rule the manufacturing floor but what rules your break rooms? Knowing that fun and friendships are a key piece in the employee engagement puzzle, we built it in to our break room digital signage. Think of it as an employee communication dashboard designed for interaction. A variety of ways to interact…many with multiple benefits.

Think about your most loyal, responsible and engaged employees. They’re the ones you turn to when you need the troops rallied in support of a new policy, a few overtime hours worked or someone to train the new guy. These employees have friends at work. Think about what you do with your friends… you talk and text; you share pics of family, opinions, advice; you joke and laugh; you interact.

Social media is being used by 78% of your employees and 50% of them are talking about you there. First off, let’s ensure it’s positive. Second, let’s use it to build camaraderie {and promote safety…just plugged another article there}. Yes, social media in manufacturing is a thing but not in the way you’re thinking. You set up a hashtag for employees to use. Let’s say it’s #WhyImSafe. Your employees share pics of their friends and family using that hashtag. Those pics show up in your break room digital signage loop. (Calm down, they’re manually approved and moderated.) When your employees are back at work, sitting in the break room, they see the pic. I know you’re thinking “Okkkkkkkkkkay….what’s the point?”

The most obvious is that it reminds your employees that these people in the pic are counting on them be safe at work and come home. That image might be the one that flashes through their mind as they’re making a decision to do something, causes them to pause for a moment and evaluate the safety of their situation.

  • It shows your employees that you care about their safety and their families…you know that their families are their priority and you support that.
  • Others on social media see that hashtag and know that you, as a company, care about your employees. Those “others” on social media might be future employees, customers, etc. You can never have too much positive free publicity.
  • Everyone loves to have their 15 min of fame. Employees watch the digital signage just to see the pic they posted come up in the loop. It makes them feel special. Most importantly, they watch the digital signage.
  • Employees see the pics other employees post. It gives them icebreakers…starts conversations. “Oh Joe, I see your grandson plays high school football. My daughter is a cheerleader. I wonder if they know each other?” They go home and ask their children. They come back to work tomorrow and share what they learned. They look for each other at the next football game. They see Bob, the new temp worker at the football game. They invite Bob to sit with their families. They’re all friends now. They have friends at work.

Everyone wants to look good in front of their friends and they don’t want to create strife in their friendships… so they start to pay more attention to the quality of their work. They like the people they work with so they participate in the events you sponsor. They get to chat with each other for a few extra minutes at the staff meeting so they start to look forward to them. They’re comfortable with each so they’re more likely to share their honest opinion and give feedback. They care about each other so they will address issues that are potentially harmful. The overall atmosphere is lighter and more entertaining so new employees feel like it’s easier to start a conversation. (That “larger lunch table” stat above suddenly makes sense now, right?)

Little by little… you’ve watched your production and quality improve, noticed a boost in morale, less safety incidents, more engagement and less turn-over. We could go on and on about the benefits this produces {and I do in other articles} but you get the point.

While all this is fresh in your mind, scroll back up and read those stats you skimmed…unless you still believe that employees would rather stare blankly at their cell phones.

Ransom Demands:


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