Continuously motivating a highly skilled team can prove to be challenging, but the rewards can be extremely beneficial.
Uniting staff to encourage them to work more effectively together can result in enhanced business productivity, alongside increased creativity, and an overall boost to morale.
But how do you keep motivating a team of over 400 workers?
This a challenge which Sony UK Technology Centre faces every day.
The Pencoed-based factory, which produces thousands of HD broadcast and professional camera systems annually, including the latest 4K, has seen its staff numbers soar to 540 over the past two years, thanks to its internationally recognised reputation for high-quality manufacturing.
Projects including production of the best-selling computer the Raspberry Pi, which has just marked its 10 million manufacturing milestone, have helped attract highly skilled team members.
While the landmark Advanced Manufacturing Research Operations Centre (AMROC), numerous third party manufacturing projects, and the Ffilm Factory 35 have also added to its rapidly increasing staff numbers.
To ensure its talented Welsh workforce can continue achieving world-class manufacturing standards, managers including operations director Gerald Kelly are tasked with organising an annual team building day to bring its staff together.
Mr Kelly said:
“At Sony UK TEC we recognise the value our dedicated workforce contributes in helping us achieve international success. As such it is in our ongoing interests to ensure they feel supported, valued, and motivated, so that we can continue to achieve industry-leading results.
“With our workforce expanding significantly over a short period of time, we always attempt to find the most effective way to reach hundreds of staff, while also supporting each individual in their own aims.
“This is a particular challenge, especially as we have multiple departments across Sony UK TEC, which have team players who have never met each other before.
“We researched thoroughly how we could effectively bring all these people together, while challenging their departmental skills, and also encouraging them to work collaboratively.
“As we work in an engineering environment, it seemed logical to test their analytical skills, as each one could use their experience to contribute to a task. However, we also wanted to challenge them by taking them out of their comfort zone, so we have also introduced creative elements which will encourage team players to pool their knowledge and work together.
“With this in mind, we hold an annual team building day bringing together our talented teams to encourage collaboration, communication, and co-operation.
“We try to vary the activity annually to continuously challenge them and appeal to different skill sets and team players.
“Previous activities have included building a tent blindfolded with only one person guiding the team; or solving a complicated riddle together. Last year teams had to work together to build a series of bridges, which, when combined, could support the journey of a toy train or car.
“The important thing to take away from this is that it isn’t the end result that is crucial, it’s the journey. As cliché as that may sound, it is while the process of working through a challenge is ongoing that people really learn, communicate and progress.
“Each year these events prove to be hugely beneficial to the work ethos of our teams which translates onto the factory floor. And while we recognise that building a strong team doesn’t happen in a single day, we believe that co-operative events like this certainly play a vital role in continuously motivating them and giving them the confidence to achieve.”
The third annual event this year will see 400 employees heading to Cardiff City Stadium, which Sony UK TEC has partnered with to work across the community. There they will be undertaking a creative project aimed at encouraging communication, co-operation, and collaboration.
Mr Kelly said:
“This year’s task will be creatively focussed with the overall result helping to highlight the benefits of collaborative working in our facility.
“Our staff will be working together to create a large canvas, which will be proudly displayed at Sony UK TEC.
“We have chosen the design, so our team players must work together effectively to bring this vision to life.
“It will be a test of many of their skills, not least their artistic sides.
“The activity is a hugely rewarding experience surrounding sharing, communication and co-operation in a challenging environment, and is suitable for all abilities in order for everyone to participate
“The aim of this event, as with all our team building challenges, is to improve morale within departments, increase collaboration and communication within and between departments, and encourage engagement to ensure we continue to promote best practice across Sony.”
Its emphasis on staff progression, motivation, and improvement, has driven international success at the Welsh factory, with Sony UK TEC consistently recognised among the most progressive in the industry.
This has included the facility championing the industry 4.0 next generation manufacturing standards through its AMROC project, working closely to develop team players to achieve the best results through its Sony Wales Academy, and adopting third-party manufacturing for industry-leading products including Telensa and Iviti lighting.