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Job Benchmarking Helps Michigan Manufacturer Increase Engagement Double Profits

The Situation

Realizing opportunities existed to increase product output by better cultivating workplace relationships, a Michigan manufacturer turned to job benchmarking to improve issues surrounding personal accountability and customer service.

Beginning in 2008, the Kalamazoo-based facility turned to Value Added Associate Eric Hanson to develop DISC-based and job-benchmarking strategies related to leadership and skill development.

Many employees had expressed concern for some time about working under strained relationships, where there was often disconnect between them and supervisors.

TTI’s assessments were just one of the spokes on the wheel that assisted in the company’s efforts to increase employee engagement.

Prior to adopting the job-benchmarking strategies, the company dealt with roughly 15 workplace conflicts annually, where management and human resources had to intervene.

“Efforts were in place from the very beginning to develop better leaders,” Hanson explained. “My efforts, coupled with the tools they were already using, created greater overall buy-in.”

The Solution

The job benchmark identified the following set of skills to develop:

  • Diplomacy
  • Tact
  • Leadership
  • Personal accountability
  • Teamwork
  • Customer service


Once those skills were identified, Hanson, president of Group DLS in Wyoming, Michigan, performed a skills gap analysis on the management team to determine key areas for improvement. He then conducted training on the top competencies.

“The HR manager spends about zero time on the plant floor now,” Hanson said, noting workplace conflict has all but disappeared. “That’s incredible to me. DISC has become a foundation for the leadership team in that facility.”

Hanson said he continues to meet with management on a monthly basis during two-hour training sessions before returning to meet individually with each management team member for 30 minutes, where he lends coaching expertise on self-improvement.

The Results

The light bulb has gone on for many — not to mention what the overall process has provided.

Engagement scores were measured in 2008, 2010 and 2012, with the 2008 scores matching company and industry averages. By 2012, the engagement scores showed a 20-point improvement above the company and industry average.

“If you don’t understand and speak to organizational values, you’re not going to get anywhere,” Hanson said.

In addition, Hanson’s program has supported a 20 percent revenue increase over the six-year period.

What’s Next?

In the six years working with the manufacturer, Hanson said he’s brought in more management and employees to the DISC training and job-benchmarking process, while also training and mentoring them on how to use the tools.

Hanson said plans are in place to extend the job-benchmarking process to other company facilities. The manufacturer has 25 facilities worldwide.

Management that been part of process since 2008 will be moved into HRxPlan — an online, cloud-based assessment and training system — with the goal of these employees setting up teams of employees for mentorship opportunities.

“Those leaders that have been through our process have taken this information and made it their own, and that’s the reason why we’re experiencing continued success,” Hanson said.

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