While creating a team of engaged workers isn't easy; there are examples of manufacturing companies that have lit self-sustaining fires under their workforces -- companies regularly recognized as good places to work and build a career.
One example is Alcoa.
"We have a saying at Alcoa," CEO Klaus Kleinfeld says. "'People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.' It starts with respect, treating employees with dignity, ensuring that their ideas count, and including them as part of the team."
In the metal manufacturing sector -- and Alcoa, which employs 60,000 people in 30 countries, is among the world's top aluminum makers -- the most meaningful way to build trust and ensure that employees understand they're valued is to keep them healthy and out of harm's way.
"That's the best way to show we care -- safety," Kleinfeld says. "It's a core value, and we're proud to be known for our focus on, and success in, employee safety."
More on companies successfully engaging employees on IndustryWeek.