By Steve Speer, Director of Operations, ProPharma Group
The pharmaceutical industry has all the makings of a great workforce. The employees behind pharmaceutical manufacturing are educated, altruistic and stand to enjoy a greater level of job security than workers in other industries thanks to the recession-resistant nature of healthcare. However, like many manufacturing sectors, the pharmaceutical industry faces a major challenge in developing and retaining talent. The root of this issue lies in the barriers that distance workers from management.

Closing the Gap between Supervisors and Employees
Job responsibility, i.e., job ownership in the true sense of the word, is the single most important factor that determines whether or not employees care about their work. When employees take full responsibility for their work, they are motivated to work hard, care about results and trouble-shoot issues. A facility full of empowered employees makes manufacturing more efficient and improves productivity. The continuation of the traditional business hierarchy clouds the way employees on the ground floor view their positions and their sense of purpose within the company. Supervisors in senior-level management positions too often make the mistake of removing job accountability from their workers. By failing to engage and empower these employees to be self-governing and self-sufficient, management diminishes their true sense of job ownership. This lack of accountability and self-governance hurts work ethic, creates inefficiencies and can ultimately reduce productivity and profitability.

While there are solutions intended to aid manufacturers in strengthening their workforces, many companies hesitate to implement them or fall short on the execution. Business pressure to meet financial objectives and fear of the unfamiliar can get in the way. However, it is important that management professionals understand that addressing the disconnect between employees and management is an investment to boost productivity and improve the overall health of their organizations. By engaging employees on the manufacturing floor, instead of falling into the trappings of the familiar business hierarchy, companies can maximize production while retaining talent.

The quickest path to change is from the top down. Managers must learn how to empower their employees, develop teams responsible for their own scheduling, and actively educate workers on the ground level about their roles in the organization, trouble-shooting responsibilities, resolving issues on the line and looking for opportunities to improve operations. This is what job ownership looks like. By restructuring the governance of the company to accommodate greater autonomy and communication, companies can develop and retain a well-equipped, more efficient workforce. The systematic implementation of High Performance Work Teams is a tried and true vehicle by hich an organization may dramatically improve the bottom line and enrich the work experience for their work force.Steve Speer

Learn More at the Pharma EXPO Conference Program

At Pharma EXPO 2015 (Las Vegas Convention Center; Sept. 28-30), Steve Speer provides solutions for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. His Manufacturing Operations track session, “Manufacturing Excellence: Empower Employees to Unleash Their Potential in High Performance Work Team,” will address the difficulties manufacturers face in retaining talent and nurturing a productive workplace. Speer will provide vital insights for senior-level management to correct these issues by illustrating the importance of giving employees back their responsibility. Speer’s employee empowerment program focuses on creating teams of employees. His approach addresses issues in the hierarchical structure that the pharmaceutical and medical device industries are currently using and emphasizes the inefficiencies of this model. Speer’s “High Performance Work Team” aims to correct these problems and provide a new platform that increases productivity and gives employees pride in their work — from the ground floor to operations and senior level management. This session is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 28, as part of the Manufacturing Operations Track conference sessions produced by International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE).

Pharma EXPO, co-located with PACK EXPO Las Vegas, is co-produced by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Packaging Technologies and ISPE.

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