Genesis is a workforce initiative that integrates process improvement with people strategies to improve workforce engagement, productivity and stability, as well as product strategies to keep up with changing markets. As we will see later, the numbers are pretty astounding in the small and medium-size manufacturing firms that implemented Genesis as a way to improve their business success and improve job stability. A good indicator on what Genesis could do for the Defense Industrial Base (DIB).

In July 2014, the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) launched Genesis with the support of the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance (CWFA) as a way to improve manufacturing workforce practices. After five years what they found was that in the 22 companies that implemented the Genesis strategy, workers benefited from an increase in job stability, more job security, safer operating procedures, clearer job descriptions and more pathways to advancement within their respective company. The companies themselves also reaped benefits in production efficiencies, cost savings from reduced injuries, improved adherence to quality standards, improved sales retention and an increase in profitability and growth. A win/win for all parties!

Highlights from the Report Findings

The report contains many more finding than the ones noted below. But these are the ones that stood out:

  • 55% of all Genesis companies reported an increase in sales compared to 37% of non-Genesis companies.
  • 79% of the Genesis companies reported significant cost savings compared to 47% of companies not using Genesis.  In dollars, the difference was $92,500 versus $50,000 respectively.
  • 65%of companies participating in the Genesis initiative reported they retained a higher number of jobs compared to 42% of non-Genesis companies.
  • Average earnings for workers in the Genesis companies increased by real inflation-adjusted dollars by 12% between 2014 and 2017.
  • Genesis companies made progress toward closing the wage gap between their average wages and the industry benchmark by going from 74% of the benchmark in 2014 to reaching an 84% average in 2017.
  • Genesis frontline workers earning less than $50,000 annually had their average year-over-year wage increases go from 5.4% in 2014 to almost doubling to 9.9% by 2017.
  • Employee turnover rates dropped from 5.5% in 2014 to 4.3% in 2017. When compared to industry turnover benchmarks, this was a 118% decline.

Through Genesis, IMEC (and the companies using the Genesis approach) recognized that process and product-related challenges were deeply interwoven with people-related challenges. Worker engagement was one leg of the three-legged stool that was critical to an improvement in profitability. The other two legs being process and product.

What the Genesis companies found is that the transformational holistic people-process-product approach to manufacturing took the focus off of the bottom line and puts it on a company’s most valuable asset – its workers … and the processes they use to produce products every day for the company. The people, the processes and the products are all integrated together, and they must be addressed as parts of a whole unit and not on just one or the other. When done properly, as the numbers show, the bottom-line will take care of itself, workers will be happier and the company as a whole functions better.

4 top reasons why Great Resignation workers quit their jobs

In a recent survey of workers who quit their jobs during the Great Resignation, the top four reasons were:

  1. Low pay
  2. No opportunity for advancement
  3. They didn’t feel respected
  4. Lack of childcare

What companies can do

To address these reasons, companies can increase wages, add benefits, make employees part of the company, and respect workers.

Increase wages

Paying employees more money is going to add to a company’s overall costs … but then so does a high turnover rate. According to a Gallup poll, it takes from one-half to two times an employee’s salary to replace them. Plus, productivity suffers while a new employee learns their job.

Add benefits

Benefits that employees appreciate that are easy to add are more family leave time, in-office day care, better insurance options, and more personal time off.

Make employees part of the company

Many employers may say that their employees are already part of the company, but are they? If your company is not offering their employees mentorship programs and helping them establish career goals, then the company is not doing all it could to make their employees a bigger part of the company. Talking about this and making a career plan at their annual performance review is a great time to accomplish this.

Respect workers

Foster an environment of dignity and compassion. Take their complaints seriously, make sure everyone is getting equal respect from the CEO down to the lowest front-line worker and make sure your company’s values go beyond the bottom line.

Lessons learned

What is interesting to note is that results in the report shows companies using the Genesis approach had solved all four of these problems referenced … even before the Great Resignation started.

While Genesis was designed to work in small to medium-size manufacturing companies, it is easily adaptable to other industries. If your company is experiencing a high turnover rate, maybe it’s time to adopt a Genesis-like program and look deeper into your people-process-product strategies instead of just the bottom line.

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Kness retired in November 2007 as a Senior Noncommissioned Officer after serving 36 years of service with the Minnesota Army National Guard of which 32 of those years were in a full-time status along with being a traditional guardsman. Kness takes pride in being able to still help veterans, military members, and families as they struggle through veteran and dependent education issues.