Today’s manufacturing workers are under enormous stress from the aftereffects of the pandemic, inflation, and overall global uncertainty. This combination has created a workforce that is less engaged and far more likely to quit or perform the bare minimum needed to keep their jobs. 

Employee stress can also include common issues like transportation, money issues, and time management. Physical and mental health also play a major role. Younger workers entering the workforce for the first time and immigrant populations new to the U.S. labor market often lack the life skills to manage their health, finances, and housing effectively.

Manufacturing employees are probably bringing these stresses to work with them. Their problems at home can become your problems at work. That’s why it’s vital to help alleviate these outside stressors so your employees become more engaged and productive in all phases of life. 

Below are five worker well-being training options that can address many of these stresses and help keep employees happy and healthy at home and at work. It might seem like a big effort to develop training on “nonwork” life skills. But there are pre-built solutions available that have done the work for you. So with little effort, you can make a monumental impact for your workers. 


Money, housing, transportation basics

Money management, housing affordability, and navigating transportation options can cause stress for many employees, especially those new to the workforce or to the U.S., so providing basic training on how to address these critical life functions can go a long way to offering workers peace of mind.  

Training can help cover the basics of personal financial management, such as setting up a bank account, building an emergency fund, creating a budget, and making spending decisions. You can also help reduce stress with training that teaches employees about housing basics, like comparing different housing options, providing an overview of renters’ rights, and covering what steps to take when leasing or buying a home. And finally, many employees don’t have a reliable car for their commutes, so it’s important to train them on how to navigate often complex transportation options to and from work.


Physical health

Staying physically healthy can improve mental health, energy, relationships, and overall attitude. Manufacturers should offer training that focuses on developing habits that boost employees’ physical health, including preventive care, physical fitness, and diet changes. Exercise strengthens immune systems, reduces stress, and improves sleep. Employees can receive training and materials that focus on the importance of regular medical checkups and getting better sleep. These lifestyle changes can ensure that workers are not only more productive at work but live happier, healthier lives overall.


DEI practices
 There is a great deal of attention placed on corporate requirements for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) these days, but DEI training should be viewed as more than just checking a legal box. The importance of respect and consideration underscores the need for company-wide DEI training. It’s about ensuring every employee feels welcome and safe from harassment. 

These training courses should cover real-life scenarios and topics such as overcoming bias, understanding race and equity, proper workplace conduct, and social skills in the workplace. Making DEI training part of your standard HR training curriculum can ensure that all employees feel welcome and comfortable in the workplace.


Time management

We all know what it’s like to feel burned out and always running behind during a particularly busy time, and often it’s caused by chasing unattainable personal and professional goals. Utilize adult learning materials that help your employees understand what they want to accomplish and devise a plan to get there. 

Some courses encourage workers to brainstorm what they want to achieve and set realistic deadlines. Others teach how to set “SMART” goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound with clear target dates. Getting time management under control is a huge stress reliever that allows employees to focus and perform at a higher and happier level.


Listening skills

Many frontline workers believe they are rarely listened to by management when it comes to health/well-being. That’s why training on active listening skills is needed to create an environment where employees feel included and valued. 

Training can help emerging leaders improve how they listen and show empathy to a diverse group of employees. In manufacturing plants with numerous cultures and nationalities, it’s essential for leaders to understand what drives and motivates employees before and after work.  

Today more than ever, manufacturing employees are dealing with outside forces that bring stress into their lives. While training programs must continue to focus on skills, safety, hygiene, and other job-related tasks, expanding coursework to include broader employee well-being factors beyond the job can improve lifestyles, reduce stress, and create happier, healthier workers who are more productive in life and on the job.