91% leave work having had a good day here. Is it Google? Facebook? Take a guess.
How to have a good day at work
Close your eyes and imagine a workplace where over 90% of employees leave work feeling they’ve had a good day, each and every day. Is it Google? Facebook?
Nope. When we found out it was Finax bakery we knew we had to catch up:
Very few companies get more than 90% of their employees pressing the green button leaving work every day. In fact we estimate that only 3% are capable of keeping this high level.
“We started a flow of initiatives 2 ½ years ago, says Per de Bartha, site manager at Finax Bakery. “We wanted to boost our efficiency and productivity so we went for lean management and improving our working environment.”
Hard to know how employees really feel
“As a manager you’re painted different pictures: I couldn’t get a sense of where we were”, Per says and looks out across the modern bakery floor.
“And formally speaking, if it’s your responsibility to be plugged in to how your employees feel at work, how do you do that? How do you know? Do you send an employee survey once a year? It’s not agile.”
How can I get the smiley rating system?
“Then I stumbled upon Celpax. I had been looking at the smiley rating systems you see in stores where they ask if you are ‘happy with our service’. The Celpax device with the simple system of employees just pressing red or green to tell us how they day went was spot on”, says Per and nods agreeingly.
“This is fun, but will it work?”
The Swedish site manager lights up as he recalls the first day: “When I got our box with the Celpax I thought hrm, this is fun! But will it work for us?
I simply plugged in the transmitter and hung up the Celpax and that was it. I thought WOW!”, Per remembers with a big smile.
Getting the employees to understand the WHY
“It’s important for everyone to understand the reason behind a system like this so employees want to participate”, states Maria Rosberg, main safety ombudsman at Finax.
“We taped the presentation that Celpax sent out on our whole wall”, says Per and points to the glass notice board in the lunch room. “Production is a pretty conservative environment. We wanted to try something new and be the first company in the Scania region to try this”, he recalls.
Adding employee mood to Lean Meetings
“Our days start with a 5-10 minute talk”, explains Maria.
Sonja Suran, shift leader at Finax fills in: ”We talk about stuff that worked well, or less well, the previous day and how we can improve. Now that we know how employees feel at work, we have included this Mood KPI in our meetings”.
“We can catch things daily in a natural way and have small conversations around them”, Per adds and gestures to where employees dressed in white are gathered around their shift manager (who I’m later told is one of Sweden’s top rated bodybuilders).
How to have a good day at work: Everyone counts
Per is careful to emphasize the importance of inclusiveness:
“We’ve had the Celpax device up for a good while, most people press. We encourage our cleaning company and temp staff to press. We want everyone’s opinion’s to be taken into account.”
“If you don’t participate and press, then you miss your chance to influence” emphasizes Maria. “If you had a bad day and press red, at least you did your part. The challenge is to make everyone realize that there’s actually an effect when you press red or green!”.
Sonja agrees: “Exactly, we want to know how people feel at our bakery so we can improve”.
“Our participation increased when we started showing our results here” says Sonja and points to a big screen in the bakery.
Finax has been printing their results for the lunch room, showing how many gave a thumbs up, and down. They also use email and the intranet: “We believe in transparency. There’s nothing in the results that is a secret!” Per says with a happy face.
When you go through organizational changes…
The team doesn’t worry about mood variations:
“It would be weird if everyone was feeling super-duper every day when you go through organizational changes. If the Mood KPI goes down you know that the message came across and when things start turning back up again, you know the change process is working“, says Per.
Reasons behind red days
“I have to say that our employees are very engaged; they get frustrated when things don’t flow. They love discussing how to best improve and are not afraid of conflict. It’s great!” says Per.
“When our employee mood goes down, it tends to be related to some hiccup in the production line” adds Sonja, the shift leader.
Correlation between production and mood KPI
“Production wise we’re improving and there is a correlation with our Mood KPI. I don’t know what affects what, but you know… if you’re not alert then suddenly you have to throw away a big bunch of dough and it starts this negative spiral. The Celpax verifies the processes we follow when we work” says Per.
91% green Mood KPI!
After the first weeks Finax landed around 75% green: “I figured it wasn’t such a bad result. Now we’re at a 91% green Mood KPI!”, says Per.
“I can’t give a straight answer as to why our employee mood has improved so much. I hope, and I think, that our employees improve and make changes every day. We try to highlight things like yesterday we had a record number of doughs! says the proud site manager, surrounded by a vague smell of cinnamon from the bakery.
“We’re a family owned company and there’s no red tape or formalities. If someone has an idea that makes sense we just go for it.“
“We have a pretty good atmosphere” adds Sonja, “I feel this is mirrored in our Celpax results”.
Shift in attitude
When I ask if the bakery has changed anything since they started with our method to improve at work, Per takes a moment to reflect.
“I’ve noticed a shift in attitude since we started with the Celpax device. A sense of more stability that comes from knowing how people feel at work.”
“At the beginning I had doubts and thought hey this is fun, but will it work? It sure did!”
“We’ve passed our first beta-phase, now we want to integrate the employee mood index in our lean flow even further. What processes can we get rid of to improve at work in a natural way, and not depend on some employee engagement survey that feels a bit old school?”
It’s not harder than this
“It’s a challenge to maintain a good employee participation and a high employee mood, the Finax team concludes. “But it’s actually not harder than this: Happy employees make happy buns!“