Johns Manville (JM), a Berkshire Hathaway company and leading manufacturer and marketer of premium-quality building and specialty products, is committed to creating an engaging, positive and powerful experience – a JM Experience – for its 8,500 International employees.
To bring this commitment to life, the company initiated a JM Employee Engagement Survey in 2005 through Opinions Incorporated. This critical measurement tool offers employees an opportunity to provide confidential, candid and constructive feedback to enable a more positive JM Experience throughout the organization.
With an average participation rate of 91 percent, employees are getting engaged! The company has leveraged the survey data to identify important issues for employee teams to address, resulting in solutions that improve the JM workplace, the company’s ability to achieve its goals and the employees’ JM Experience.
Across the organization, local action-planning teams have taken on the challenge to develop employee-driven solutions to opportunities uncovered through the Employee Engagement Survey.
At JM’s Defiance, Ohio plants, employee feedback showed that swing-shift employees were fatigued from starting their workweek at midnight, working a six days on and two days off schedule, and covering for employees on other shifts when they were off. After examining the issue, the plant action team proposed re-working the schedule so that swing-shift employees would begin their shift during the day and have a full two workdays off to give them better work-life balance, increase on-the-job safety and reduce absenteeism. Local union and plant leaders as well as employees approved of the changes. This effort was the direct result of employees seeing a need for improvement and taking action to make a positive change happen.
Additionally, an effort to improve two-way communications and employee engagement in Defiance resulted in the formation of a volunteer employee Communications Action Team. Guided by employee input, this team has developed a process to help managers and employees engage in two-way communications during meetings, established a channel for employees to learn more about JM’s customers, trained employees on how to communicate effectively and created an approach to support regular, informal, face-to-face interaction between management and employees on all shifts.
JM’s Waterville, Ohio plant assembled a team to improve plant communications after receiving results from the Employee Engagement Survey. This team established more effective communication tools to build morale and improve employee engagement. The plant immediately communicates the latest plant safety and operations news, employee achievements, retirements, and other JM information using a television monitor in the lunchroom. Business activities are now communicated through a plant newsletter. And safe behavior is promoted using a sign/bulletin board and through random safety checks such as a parking lot seat belt audit.
Based on employee feedback from the Employee Engagement Survey, the action team at JM’s Oklahoma City plant has improved operations, morale and communications between supervisors and hourly employees.
The team created a process to post shift schedules in the production break room so that employees would have 48 hours advance notice of any shift changes. An emphasis was also placed on improving safety communications at the facility. Now all salaried staff members attend daily pre-shift safety huddles. And the plant began offering small incentives to further encourage employees to get engaged in communications.
JM’s Etowah, Tenn. facility has engaged employees in teams to address opportunities within the plant. One employee team participated in a hiring panel to find the best qualified individuals to join the team. The employees learned how to screen and interview applicants before conducting 72 interviews to narrow down the list of candidates. The hiring panel experience gave employees a new perspective on the hiring process and a stake in choosing the right co-workers.
Another employee team at Etowah convened to review the plant’s overtime policies for alignment. This team was tasked with developing a proposal for how the plant will administer the overtime policy consistently among all operating groups.
Through the JM Employee Engagement Survey, employees have been able to see first hand how they can make a difference, help guide the future direction and assist in building the desired culture of JM.