Tag Archive for 'employees'

AEM Discusses 5 Ways Leaders Can Motivate and Inspire Remote Teams

By Judy Gaus, AEM Vice President of Human Resources and Operations

The sudden onset of remote work has impacted companies and organizations across the United States and around the world.

It happened almost overnight. The COVID-19 pandemic led business offices to close their doors and employees to find a way to conduct their work from home. We all went from congregating in meeting spaces and around cubicles to interacting “face to face” via our computer screens. For the past few months, we’ve found ourselves catching glimpses of each other’s homes, hearing dogs barks, and listening to children yell and laugh during video conferences. While we’ve never been farther apart from our colleagues, it’s nice to know it doesn’t always have to feel that way.

Now as the U.S. opens up and some offices begin to welcome back employees into their facilities, we know some members of the workforce will continue to remain remote for the time being. With that fact in mind, AEM wanted to share 5 useful and common-sense ways in which business leaders can motivate remote teams and help them keep pace with organizational demands and goals:

1. CHECK IN FREQUENTLY.

Whether it comes in the form of asking a quick question, clarifying a detail, or soliciting feedback on an idea, find a reason to reach out to your team members. Not all that long ago, it was so easy to simply swing by a colleague’s workstation and have a quick conversation. Now, with so many people working remotely, doing so requires being more intentional. And while technology certainly helps to facilitate communication while working remotely, it’s only useful if you’re willing to set aside a few minutes for video chat “face time” with one or more of your teammates.

While it can easy to feel like you may be intruding or imposing on others, you’re really not. And, by checking in more frequently, you’ll eventually become more comfortable and convey a message that regular interactions should continue to take place.

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2. HAVE FUN!

Making an effort to socialize and have fun with your team is critically important to establishing stronger inter-office relationships. For example, my team and I get together on video chat every other week over the lunch for about 30-45 minutes. We catch up with one another, take a break from our work, and talk about a favorite book we’ve read or a movie we’ve recently seen.

Ultimately, engaging your teammates and facilitating a bit of fun helps promotes a sense of belonging and community – something that’s incredibly important during these uncertain times.

In addition, AEM recently held an all-staff online meeting where we asked everyone to wear a crazy hat and we randomly selected individuals to share their favorite quarantine memory. This 30-minute meeting exclusively focused on fun and sharing personal stories. It was a great way to connect on a personal level without having any business on the agenda, and feedback has been very positive.

3. BE FLEXIBLE AND HUMAN.

The “traditional” workday is traditional no more, and flexibility is everything these days. As a leader, you need to know that your team members have a lot going on in their lives right now. Some may not be able to work the typical 8 a.m.-4 p.m. or 9 a.m.-5 p.m. schedule, and they need to know they can stop and address certain situations as they arise at home.

Few things will motivate your team members more than having a flexible boss who trusts them to manage their days effectively. Let them take care of their personal business, as they will likely go out of their way to re-engage later in the evening or early the next morning.

4. REINFORCE THE VALUE OF TEAM ROLES.

With how everything has unfolded over the course of the past few months, it’s no secret that priorities within organizations are constantly changing with time. Organizational pivots are stressful experiences, and they can cause quite a bit of anxiety and uncertainty among employees.

If you’re a leader, one of your top priorities right now should be maintaining communications with the members of your team. Let them know if their roles are changing, and be sure to convey how their positions fit into the organization’s “bigger picture.” They’ll appreciate the fact that they are continuing to add value, even if comes in a different form than it did in the past.

5. PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR LEADERSHIP.

There’s no better time than right now to encourage your team members to step up, expand their skill sets and take advantage of available training opportunities. Let your employees be leaders, and allow them to come forward and let you know how they want to get involved.

As an established leader, you need to be flexible. Lead with empathy and understanding, and be sure to set your employees up to be motivated and productive by ensuring they have the support, tools and resources they need to become leaders themselves and – ultimately – bring greater value to your organization.  

June is “Safety Awareness” month and Caterpillar is hosting a series of three webinars – “BEYOND SAFETY BASICS.”

CATERPILLAR SAFETY WEBINARS:

Webinar #1:  The Psychology of Safety:  Understanding Employee Behavior in Uncertain Times:  Learning the psychology of safety will help you understand the drivers of differing employee behavior. Especially during uncertain times, people behave differently based on a variety of factors, including what is important to them. Our experts help you understand these drivers and make a connection between people, culture and performance.  Presenter:  Jenny Krasny, Operational Risk Consultant, Caterpillar Safety Services

Available NOW https://youtu.be/YMg24qhmoAY               https://www.facebook.com/caterpillarinc/posts/10156882740245764

Webinar #2: Communication Strategy: Supporting Safety Through Words and Deeds:  Leaders, either by title or influence, constantly send messages that shape others’ attitudes and drive their behaviors. Intentionally or unintentionally, every communication and action from a leader tells a story about what’s important to him/her. Learn how you can build a strong communication strategy, especially during uncertain times, to demonstrate your commitment to safety and drive safe behavior throughout the entire organization.  Presenter:  Abby Fansler, MS, Communication Consultant, Caterpillar Safety Services

Available @ 12:00 noon CST, Tuesday, June 23: https://youtu.be/nIPTD2VhBn0   OR   facebook.com/caterpillarinc

#3 Live Webinar: Demonstrating Commitment: Taking Safety from the Office to the Frontline:  Leaders have a wide scope of influence and accountability, so it is critical that they demonstrate commitment to safety through both words and actions, just as they do for production. It starts with leading by example, but true leadership goes beyond wearing proper PPE and ensuring others do the same. Learn tips to create and sustain a culture of positive safety performance through leadership, communication, training and recognition.  Presenter:  Justin Ganschow, CHMM, CSP, Business Development Manager, Caterpillar Safety Services

Available @ 12:00 noon CST, June 30: https://youtu.be/h2z3tX82s8Y   OR   facebook.com/caterpillarinc

Liebherr USA, Co. headquarters opens at expanded campus in Newport News, Virginia

  • Project adds 251,000 sq. ft. to company’s existing campus in Southeastern Virginia
  • $60 million expansion includes state of the art office building, warehouse and equipment repair, maintenance workshop

Liebherr USA, Co. marked a milestone on April 6, 2020 – the company formally moved in to a newly expanded campus. The facilities house employees who work in administration, finance, human resources, sales, information technology, marketing, product support and distribution for nine different product units under the Liebherr USA, Co. umbrella. 

Liebherr USA, Co. headquarters opens at expanded campus in Newport News, Virginia.

Liebherr USA, Co. headquarters opens at expanded campus in Newport News, Virginia.

The move, conducted with enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures in place to ensure the health and safety of the employees, contractors, and the local community, caps a journey that began in July 2018, when members of the Liebherr family, company executives and Newport News city officials broke ground for the project.

Liebherr opened for business in the United States 50 years ago on October 6, 1970. The existing four story administration building dates to the early 1970s and was 100 percent occupied. It will be retained and house employees of Liebherr Mining Equipment Newport News, Co. The move to the new campus comes as the company marks 71 years in business overall.

Approximately 500 people work at Liebherr’s Newport News campus. Many of them are now working in the new office, repair shop and warehouse facilities at 4800 Chestnut Avenue in Newport News.

“Besides moving into a new facility which is a highlight for our employees who contribute immensely to our success in the US, what stands out for me the most, is the message that this $60 million investment sends to our customers,” said Dr Torben Reher, managing director, Liebherr USA, Co. “Apart from investing in research and design for cutting edge technology, we have a long term focus while looking at our business and the relationships with our customers. Thus, we want to grow together and our new site is the evidence for this approach.”

A journey that began in July 2018, when members of the Liebherr family, company executives and Newport News city officials broke ground for the project.

A journey that began in July 2018, when members of the Liebherr family, company executives and Newport News city officials broke ground for the project.

Facility provides enhanced customer service, support

According to Reher, the new campus will help Liebherr better serve customers across divisions in multiple ways. The first is that it significantly increases production operations for concrete pumps and repair capacity for mobile and crawler cranes, as well as for construction equipment. “For example, we will now be able to do boom alignments for mobile cranes up to 750 tons. Furthermore, the new shop will be a lot closer to our many customers in the Northeast region, which will lead to lower logistic costs,” said Reher. The new shop is also equipped to handle the growing numbers of Liebherr earthmoving equipment. “We experienced substantial growth in this area in recent years and have therefore invested in our internal infrastructure to keep pace with the demand.”

Besides, there is a new training center and workshop. “We will be able to expand our offerings in relation to training our in-house dealers and dealer technicians, as well as provide this service professionally to our customers,” said Peter Mayr, managing director of Liebherr USA, Co. “In our workshop, we will not only focus on pre-delivery inspections and standard repair work, but also recondition machines in bays allocated to complete this task.” Twelve repair stations will be available for the earthmoving division – an increase from the eight currently available.

Increased warehouse capacity and safety

The new Liebherr warehouse incorporates the latest safety features and provides a 50 percent increase in storage capacity. In addition, the warehouse also has a dual shuttle vertical lifting machine to increase small component picking speed and storage capacity. The receiving and shipping departments are separated to enable optimal material flow through the facility.

It was no small task to pull this off smoothly, according to Oliver Frey, general manager of warehousing and logistics. The relocation of more than 30,000 SKU numbered items from the old warehouse to the new warehouse began on March 13 and went nonstop for eight straight days until March 21. “The short duration of the move, along with accuracy of how items touched down in their intended storage locations was the result of months of planning and hard work,” Frey said.

In planning for the warehouse move, “the main focus was on minimizing any interruptions to our customer supply chain. The extensive planning and execution of the move limited the interruption to just five business days. “During our closure,” Frey continued, “the spare part teams did an amazing job diverting orders to other Liebherr warehouse sites throughout the United States and to our factories. Customer impact was very minimal.”

The executive management at Liebherr USA, Co. would like to recognize the City of Newport News; W.M. Jordan Co.; HBA Architecture Interior Design; Kimley Horn; all Liebherr employees involved and countless vendors and companies who exceeded our deadline and performance expectations, including Peak Logix, Kardex Remstar and Apple Moving Systems.

Federal Court’s Slap-Down of Proposed Workplace Mandate Helps Industry Protect Workers, ARTBA Says

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is entitled to “considerable deference” in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a June 11 federal appeals court decision. The ruling assures that the transportation construction industry is free to use proven workplace best practices to protect its workers, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).
 
The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed with ARTBA’s position and denied an attempt to require the federal government to impose a single, rigid emergency standard for coping with COVID-19. 
 
The ruling quickly turned away a request by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) to compel OSHA to force implementation of a universal safety standard.  Specifically, these organizations wanted OSHA to implement within 30 days a universal “emergency temporary standard” for infectious diseases which would cover all employees and all industries in response to the current pandemic. 
 
ARTBA, in a filing made less than two weeks ago with other industry allies, urged the court not to grant the request because workers are better protected from the virus by construction industry best practices rather than a rigid “one-size-fits-all” regulation.  The brief detailed why a uniform standard is misguided, explaining that “guidance on how to maintain the spread of COVID-19 in the aviation industry would naturally be quite different from guidance directed at the banking industry, or the construction industry.”
 
The court agreed, stating “[i]n light of the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the regulatory tools that the OSHA has at its disposal to ensure that employers are maintaining hazard-free work environments… the OSHA reasonably determined that an [emergency standard] is not necessary at this time.”
 
Established in 1902 and with more than 8,000 public and private sector members, the Washington, D.C.-based ARTBA advocates for strong investment in transportation infrastructure to meet the public and business community demand for safe and efficient travel.

The AED Foundation unveils its latest report at CONEXPO-CON/AGG: “The Equipment Industry Technician Shortage: Reassessing Causes, Impacts and Policy Recommendations.”

The AED Foundation at CONEXPO-CON/AGG released its latest report compiled by the College of William & Mary entitled “The Equipment Industry Technician Shortage: Reassessing Causes, Impacts and Policy Recommendation.”   

Highlights of the report include:

The need to fill up to 73,500 heavy equipment technicians over the next five years
The equipment industry has a job opening rate three times higher than the national average
Almost 90% of AED member dealerships have a job opening rate above the national average
Among AED member respondents, 95% agree there is a skills gap in the industry and 89% report a shortage of workers in their company

The AED Foundation Chairman Jeffrey Scott, President of Intermountain Bobcat, stated “While this report highlights the challenges we face, it also presents recommendations to help us overcome those challenges, including; strengthening our recruitment strategy, furthering educational development initiatives, maximizing data collection and increasing recruiting effectiveness and creating roles for older workers to leverage valuable knowledge. These recommendations dovetail nicely with The AED Foundation’s Vision 2024, which seeks to have; 100 accredited college programs, 50 recognized high school programs, and 10,000 skilled technicians entering the workforce by 2024.”  

Concurrent with the report release, the Caterpillar Foundation announced a $300,000 grant to The AED Foundation to fund scholarships to high schools interested in promoting a curriculum that leads to a career in the heavy equipment industry.  

“With this partnership, we are taking a step forward to close the skills gap directly and educate the next generation of skilled technicians for our industry,” stated AED President and CEO Brian P. McGuire. “We are honored to have the Caterpillar Foundation as a partner in this endeavor, and their assistance will go a long way toward addressing the realities detailed in the report we released today,” he added.  

“The Caterpillar Foundation wants to build resilient communities that thrive in a rapidly changing world. As part of this focus, we are investing in programs that empower the workforce of the 21st century,” said Caterpillar Foundation President Asha Varghese. “We are proud to partner with The AED Foundation to help high schools build a diverse pipeline of candidates for career and technical college programs, and ultimately, help address the manufacturing skills gap we are facing globally,” Varghese continued.
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