Business & Leadership Behaviors

Remembering that the Core Of Our Success is People

Labor Day was first established in the late 1800’s to honor the contribution and role of American Labor in the success of our nation. Before the end of the century, the U.S. government had officially adopted it as a federal holiday.

Labor Day was also once also considered the unofficial last day of summer and beginning of the school year. That doesn’t hold true much for many states where the school year begins sometimes before mid-August so that:

  • The Fall semester could be completed before Christmas break
  • There may be more small breaks with both Fall and Spring semesters
  • There is more time to prep students before Spring assessment tests

There’s also the fact that modern schools have air conditioning for improved comfort. There may be more reasons, but I don’t really care. I miss the ability to have August for family time – not sports tryouts and homework!

But I digress. Did I mention my daughter has started back to school already? Anyway.

Labor is an important part of the success of any automation project. While some management may fear what automation may expose and that it may create more accountability, their workers may have additional concerns. These concerns may deal with everything from “how will my life change” to “will I have the same job later – or maybe any job at all”. So with all the benefits automation can bring, it also can introduce new challenges when it comes to Labor.

In introducing automation, many people are resistant to change. I don’t care if what your role on the team is – you’re likely not a fan of change. It’s Human Nature. Whether it is a new job, change in a holiday tradition or a simple update of our favorite restaurants menu, people generally wish it didn’t happen. Some of the top reasons that we see fear of change with our client labor pools are:

  • Don’t understand the need / weak communications
  • Fear of the unknown / impact on me
  • Low trust for success / benefits & rewards
  • Nor being part of the decision
  • Already overwhelmed today

All of HL Group’s automation projects deal with extensive use of the front line workers since both our Assets and Supply Chain solutions exist on the edge of the organization activities. A key part of our solutions begins with the harvesting of data that can then be turned into useful information. The quality of this work at the edge directly determines the value of the information. That team on the front line – they are critical path!

As a result, our project plans have to address the technical implementation steps and human factors involving the labor force (our system users). These project challenges may include leveraging employees worldwide, or working with union shops. One of our favorite stories on successfully handing this transition of automation change dealt with some older warehouse staff that went from being the most skeptical to being the ones who demonstrated the solution for the visitors after the transition.

A cornerstone to all of our successes is not just our software products or the individual qualities of personnel, but focusing on the ALL of the components of an implementation – including user acceptance and promotion. This is accomplished with the same proven steps I’ve mentioned in earlier posts:

  • Clear & Frequent Communications from Start to Finish
  • Involvement of Everyone Impacted by the Solution
  • Understanding of the Goals and Easy Steps to Achieve

People are our greatest corporate assets. Providing our teams with the right tools and offering the recognition of the importance of their roles and contributions to our successes does pay huge dividends.

So while you’re firing up the grill on Monday – or reviewing homework – let’s also remember America’s labor force and its role in the continued success of our country on the holiday.