Research & Best Practices

5 Tips to Motivate your Maintenance Team


It’s important for plant leadership to keep their personnel motivated. As a critical part of operations, managers and leaders must know how to motivate factory workers so they are invested in, and satisfied with, their role to perform at their best. The five tips below offer guidance for keeping your maintenance team motivated, efficient and successful.

How to motivate factory workers: 5 tips

Foster self-ownership. Self-ownership, commitment — however you want to define it – is giving employees a degree of control over their role and responsibilities. When considering how to motivate workers in a factory, this is one of the most effective ways to better ensure that they feel a personal stake in operational success. Some steps to achieve this include:

  • Avoid micromanaging and excessive “check-ins” beyond the requirements of the task.
  • Avoid requiring employees to do something only the way that you would do it — encourage them to identify processes that work best for them (while, of course, remaining in adherence with safety and regulatory standards).
  • Follow the other tips below — many of them feed into the concept of self-ownership over a role, and can help your employees stay happy and motivated.

Invest in your employees. By supporting ongoing training and development, employees feel appreciated. Increased confidence in their role – alongside growing stature within the organization – translates to feelings of responsibility and loyalty to the company, which will encourage employees to complete their tasks quickly, efficiently and conscientiously.

This tip is a true “win-win,” since you, as a manager, gain the benefit of better-trained workers, while your employees become more familiar with new technologies and processes – ultimately helping you and your team stay current with industry best practices.

Encourage — and act on — feedback. This step is another way to support employee self-ownership. Be sure to make it clear that employee feedback is welcomed and heard — whether in areas of process improvements, safety, unidentified efficiencies and more. Those who have the most hands-on experience with a task are often in the best position to identify a better way to do it. Employees will be more motivated to continue looking for improvements if they know that you listen to their feedback.  Even if a particular suggestion isn’t aligned with business objectives or requirements, be sure to give due time to listen.

Know when you need extra help. Overworked or undertrained employees will likely feel unappreciated by their management – and motivation to do their best work will drop as a result. A key component of how to lead a maintenance team is knowing how to identify or anticipate times where the required maintenance capacity is beyond your available resources and be prepared to address the need for support.

In times like these, outsourced maintenance services can provide extra resources for expected or unexpected workload surges. Outsourcing can also provide expertise for processes and tasks in which your in-house personnel may not yet be skilled in.

Be open to change. It’s true that change can sometimes be intimidating for workers and management alike, but if change is sought and implemented in good faith, the benefits can far outweigh the growing pains. It’s important to keep an open mind, whether in process or technology. Overlooking the potential improvements may lead to a feeling of employee stagnation and demotivation. Assess any positive changes you can make — whether they are identified through employee feedback, management directives or your experience — and determine if a new method may be right for you.

As a maintenance manager, it is your job to ensure that your team is operating safely and efficiently. Now that you have a better understanding of how to motivate workers in a factory, you can ensure that the work gets done, and at the end of the day, your employees will leave feeling accomplished, and most importantly, appreciated.

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