Global Perspective

Ensure your offshore facility has effective and engaged employees

by Marissa Fayer


Employees are the attribute of your success. Without them, business does not prosper in any location, and they are especially critical to ensure a successful and prosperous offshore operation. Working for a business that values the employee creates benefit for both the company and the employee and equates to a significant monetary value. Engaged employees translates into approximately 16% increase in profits for the company, according to a Gallup poll.

Employee engagement seems like common sense and that no report is going to be able to gage the value, but in today’s culture of profits and time-to-market, employees oftentimes are after-thoughts. This traditional mentality needs to evolve past the outdated increase-pay approach, as the world is shifting and the definition of engagement has also changed.


 ·      Make employees feel part of the process: Employees who are given direct responsibility to execute, create, and improve their job or function, feel valued, trusted, and directly responsible for a positive outcome. When making decisions about the company's future, regardless of the scale and scope, helps strengthen your relationship with each employee and the group collectively. You'll gain respect from your employees and instill a sense of responsibility in your workforce when you let your employees voice their opinions and include them as part of the solution.


·      Create an awareness that what they are working on: What we work on in the MedTech industry serves a higher purpose. Show videos of what they are making in a clinical application, pictures of it helping people’s lives, and the marketing campaigns that are aimed to increase sales. Most employees are removed from the context of their day-to-day and how it affects the greater goal of life and health. When employees know that they were improving and saving people’s lives, possibly their own or members of their family, and focus less on the profit for the company, effort, thought, care, and concern are directly translated into increased quality and responsiveness.



·      Create a workplace where people want to come to: A healthy work environment creates goodwill, a sense of safety, and a positive work atmosphere. Have a cafeteria and subsidise the food if possible, ensure a clean environment, pay employees what they deserve for the market they are in, and post metrics to show safety, health, and improvement projects. And simply, smile and welcome them with open arms to participate, engage, and improve where they spend over ½ their day.


·      Engage employees to create solutions, not just do as they are told: In the MedTech industry, this comes with regulations. But by using and training in the proper quality method, employees and especially direct line employees are the people who will shape and guide your success. Create incentives for achieving goals through continuous improvement metrics achievement, which are simple and easily understandable as a path to growth for all offshore locations and employees.


·      Promote from within, when possible: Create a path to greater prosperity and progress, which is the ultimate goal in offshore manufacturing locations. Creative and smart employees live and work throughout the world, and promotion of local employees shows the investment and value-add the corporation is willing to spend to create profit and a lasting legacy. The vast majority of offshore locations are in developing and emerging markets, where social standing is improving at the same rate of offshore operation implementation, and everyone wants to be part of the growth, development and improvement to their own self, family, and country.


·      Be realistic and plan, plan, plan: Efforts to engage employees can be on a small or large scale, but need to be thought out and planned. A simple BBQ or a new initiative for encouraging healthy employees should be equally thought out, but not overdone. Directly ask employee representatives what they want and don’t assume from your corporate tower that you can enforce your own ideals. Don’t overthink it or else you will have missed the mark for the type of impact you’re hoping to achieve.


·      Understand the voice of your employees: The message at corporate must be tailored and customised for each location. But ensure that corporate incentives and activities also part of the offshore culture. Offshore employees want to feel both part of corporate and also distinct. Understand what is important to them at each location and tailor the experience, and continuously share ideas back and forth. Chances are that more creative solutions are coming from the offshore location than corporate, as there is decreased bureaucracy, which is one of the reasons the offshore location was created.


·      Be flexible and adaptive to what’s important at the time: Trends shift and what was important yesterday is no longer important today. Flexible work and lifestyles has eclipsed high-pay as the #1 determining factor for employee satisfaction – one in which no one would ever have seen five years ago, especially in offshore locations. And in 5 years, it will shift to something completely different. Be adaptive and responsive in your methods of engagement.


Each approach to achieve employee engagement seems like common sense and easy to implement, yet why are so many offshore companies not employing several of these tactics? The successful companies are the ones that spend a slight effort and an inconsequential amount of money to achieve significant growth and financial success. Those are the offshore locations that will prosper and create a value-add to the overall corporation.


Marissa Fayer is president of Fayer Consulting, a global consulting business helping small to midsize medical device companies reduce their costs and increase their profits.