One of leadership’s important responsibilities is to check in


In a world of manufacturing machines, engineering products, and working with metals and materials, it is difficult to remember that your largest company asset is actually human — which requires a different approach when taking inventory. There comes a time in business when the relationship of a boss to an employee can develop into something more personal, and now, more than ever, leadership needs to check in to make sure their humans are operating properly.

According to John Hopkins Medicine, 1 out of 4 adults (18 and older) suffer from some sort of mental health that is diagnosable. With potentially 25 percent of the workforce facing daunting depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder, or something else, it is likely your plant floor is being affected. Furthermore, you add in the confinement of COVID-19 restrictions and lack of interaction and traveling, a person who might have mildly suffered from issues could now be experiencing symptoms tenfold. So, as a manager, company owner, or leader, what can you do that doesn’t involve you violating HIPPA laws or personal boundaries?

Here are some things to think about:

Make sure your staff understands what mental health is

Enable your leadership and managers to know the signs when someone might be suffering.

Knowledge is powerful. People working at your company might be the best engineers or operators in the world, but they are not psychologists. They might see an employee calling out more, taking longer breaks, or working slower and just think it is lack of effort. But maybe there is something else there that warrants a conversation to understand the signs. Training your leadership and employees with the tools to understand might make a difference, and it signals you care about this subject and encourages them to talk about getting help.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Some believe communication at work should be limited to tasks at hand — otherwise it is time and money wasted. But did you know that “research shows that nearly 86 percent of employees treated for depression report improved work performance. And in some studies, treatment of depression has been shown to reduce absenteeism and presenteeism by 40 to 60 percent.” (“Workplace mental health: How to support employee mental wellness | Understood – For learning and thinking differences”)

So, financially, there is incentive to talk about what is going on with your employees to avoid bigger issues of lost productivity down the road. In addition, talking to your employees truly makes them feel seen and involved, and it creates a sense of importance to the team.

Todd Palmer, President of Extraordinary Advisors and speaker at the 2021 Annual Meeting said, “As a leader, if you only do one thing with your team … communicate. You have to relentlessly communicate, communicate, communicate.  In the absence of information, employees will fill in the gaps of communication with their own narrative, which is often inaccurate and negative. By communicating, you are giving the gift of information and mental well-being. And with that gift, you calm the negative chatter inside the minds of your leaders and your teams.”

Put your money where your mouth is

Training and talking are great first steps, but without a call to action, some employees might still be lost. To finalize a real approach to handling mental health in your company, you need to offer resources. Include mental health in your health plan coverage. Allow people to know they don’t have to worry about the financial repercussions of getting help. Additionally, start an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) where you can post flyers around the office, supply numbers of hotlines to call, bring in healthcare professionals to talk to your team, use your newsletter or daily team emails to remind people to take breaks, feel safe at work and let them know they have confidential resources to get help.

Mental health issues are no secret, and the sooner your company stays on top of it, the better your employees will be, work, and the longer you will have them. Mental health is a leading cause of why people quit their jobs. Don’t be part of that percentage. Manufacturing is critical to our world, and the people that work for you are a part of that.


The 2021 AGMA/ABMA Annual Meeting Online is ready for you

Join us for the Annual Meeting Online, March 18-19, 2021. Attendees at the Annual Meeting Online will experience an exciting program featuring cutting-edge educational content along with engaging and memorable networking opportunities — all from the comfort of your home or office.

We are all disappointed that we could not meet face-to-face for the 2020 Annual Meeting, and there is a pent-up demand to network with peers to catch up on how other companies are facing the new reality of life post-COVID-19 and make new business connections to keep the conversation going once the meeting is over. It might not look the same as our normal in-person years, but attending online might virtually be the best decision you make this year. 

This is the place where Industry Leaders Advance the Future.

Registration: 2021 AGMA/ABMA Annual Meeting :: Events :: American Gear Manufacturers Association

Upcoming Education

Design Basics for Spur and Helical Gears
Live Virtual Online Training

April 8, 2021 | Noon-4 p.m. ET
Deadline to register for this online course is April 1, 2021.

Integration and Trade-offs in Gear and Bearing Systems
Live Virtual Online Training

April 13-14, 2021 | Noon-4 p.m. ET daily
Deadline to register for this online course is April 5, 2021.

Ongoing Recorded Virtual Training

  • Detailed Gear Design — Beyond Simple Factors.
  • Gear Failure Analysis.
  • Gearbox CSI: Gears Only.
  • Online Workforce Training: Parallel Gear Inspection.
  • Online Workforce Training: Hobbing.
  • Online Workforce Training: Fundamentals of Gearing.

Motion & Power Technology Expo Has Industry Leaders All In,
Are You?

The Motion + Power Technology Expo, produced by the American Gear Manufacturers Association, connects the top manufacturers, suppliers, buyers, and experts in the mechanical and gear power, electric power, and fluid power industries.

Over three action-packed days in St. Louis, Missouri, end-users can shop the latest technology, gear products, and services, and compare benefits side-by-side. Prominent exhibitors will conduct demos and host information-rich seminars as well as offer up technical expertise.

Where: St. Louis, Missouri.

When: September 14–16, 2021.

How to Exhibit: Contact Christine von Steiger, P: 703-706-8252, E:

More information:

Q1 Gear Market Report is Now Available

“Under a faster recovery scenario, gear demand should increase 8.5 percent during 2021 rather than 4 percent under the baseline with no fiscal stimulation.”

This was just one piece of vital information from the Q-4 (December release) AGMA Gear Market Report. Imagine receiving more than 100 slides each quarter filled with graphs, charts, and economic indicators you need to understand where to pivot toward a successful path with information that includes pandemic outlook, global perspective, important policy updates, and trade-war information. This is what you get when you subscribe to the AGMA Gear Market Report.

This valuable report is only available to AGMA member companies. We have kept the 2020 discount subscription rate of $1,000/year for 2021. Sign up today to assure you receive the first report later this month. The Q1 report has been officially released and is ready for purchase.

Calendar of Events

March 11 — Powder Metallurgy Committee Meeting — WebEx

March 25 — Nomenclature Committee Meeting — WebEx

March 30 — Metallurgy and Materials Committee Meeting — WebEx

March 31 — Bevel Gearing Committee Meeting — WebEx

April 1 — IIoT Committee Meeting — WebEx

April 8 — Cutting Tools Committee Meeting — WebEx

April 14 — Plastics Committee Meeting — WebEx

April 15 — Lubrication Committee Meeting — WebEx

April 22 — Gear Accuracy Committee — WebEx

April 27 — Nomenclature Committee — WebEx

April 27 — Robotics & Automation Committee Meeting — WebEx

April 29 — Metallurgy & Materials Committee — WebEx

May 6  — Market Intelligence Committee Meeting — WebEx

May 13 — TDEC Meeting — WebEx

May 20 — Lubrication Committee Meeting — WebEx