Updated: May 2, 2021
I speak and reference often about creating “Emotional Attachment” between your Team Members and process … but what is the actual definition and how can you create it within your organization?
First the clinical definition:
Emotional attachment refers to the feelings of closeness and affection that help sustain meaningful relationships over time. ... You can become emotionally attached to people even without romantic or sexual attraction. Simply feeling close to someone helps you bond and increases your sense of connection.
Emotional Attachment within your workplace is completely a subliminal attribute or a sequence of attributes not clearly defined as a methodology by rather the important by-product that resides within a methodology. For example:
At our assembly plant, our leadership would constantly coach us to watch for the symptoms of a systemic issue that may not be immediately apparent or if you witness a symptom you could end up going down the wrong rabbit hole. We were advised that “Poor Quality” was typically the result of “Poor Performance” and that “Poor Performance” typically resulted and became visible through “Poor Attendance.”
If you really think about it there is a lot being packed into that analogy. If we decide to address Poor Quality, we will most likely introduce more stringent procedures, policies supported with enhanced jigs, fixtures and application of Poke-Yoke applications … but ultimately we are still at the mercy of our Team Member to be and remain engaged in the process.
Similar, to Poor Performance … we can add layers of supervision and add performance metrics for the incorrect reason … but ultimately the root cause resides with the initial selection process or the subsequent placement of our Team Member into the wrong seat on the bus … the downside is that as long as this negative behaviour is tolerated it sets a standard of acceptable culture or cancer within the organization.
Attendance however is digital and can be dealt with in a progressive manner which should be visible to all within the organization … but it is a critical indicator of how well you are creating emotional attachment.
How to improve Emotional Attachment?
Remember … it is subliminal … so it starts with your Team Member’s arrival. Does your employee entrance reflect the Brand Image you are attempting to portray to the world? Is your Break Area, professional and inviting?
The subliminal importance of 5S which cannot be quantified but still measured is when the Team Member arrives at the workstation. If it is unorganized, messy and unprofessional-looking mentally the Team Member degrades internally the importance of his contribution (they just don’t care or are engaged) this attitude is then conveyed through their performance and will be visible in the workmanship standard they perform. So a well-organized work area (5S) helps put our Team Member into a positive frame of mind.
Checklists … can be a curse or a deviation of liability but they are a very important and subliminal tool to create Emotional Attachment … I view checklists simply as “Alarm Clocks” for the brain … I am not degrading or attempting to insult our Team Members by having them complete the checklist but rather emotionally drag and attach them to the process. Indeed, our Team Members know what is required and may pencil whip through the check-list but the subliminal impact still will happen as the Team Member is reminded and gets emotionally attached to the process. To really amplify this subliminal effect, make your checklists visible and not a single point data capture but rather a collection of data points over a period. Hence why we like to promote the use of our TPM Stations.
Counter-intuitive in today’s technology era is the use of simple hourly run boards that are updated manually. Counter-intuitive because it is so simple to conduct data capture directly from the machine into a huge data cavern for later analytics … but it really does by-pass the opportunity to create Emotional Attachment. If you have your Team Member update their performance and progress on an hourly basis you have established for them a series of mini-goals and humans being very competitive will do their darndest to meet expectations .. so the simple use of a white-board and marker will exponentially increase emotional attachment of your Team Member to Process. This does not dismiss technology … I love it since it really allows me to deep dive into data analytics and modelling but more important to act as a verification to what my Team Member has already portrayed.
Emotional Attachment is not a single initiative but rather the integration and understanding of several subliminal attributes within your operating system.