A Customer Success Story

Morgan: Engaging and Retaining Offline Workers With Recognition

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Morgan Truck Body, LLC is North America’s leading company in light- and medium-duty commercial truck body manufacturing and upfit. With roots deep in U.S. history, Morgan has been designing, building, selling, and supporting the most reliable truck bodies on the road since 1952. In fact, according to Brady Bagwan, VP of HR, almost 50% of truck bodies you see today are built by Morgan.

Morgan’s culture centers on four shared values: appreciating the people who make success possible, acting with integrity, delivering results for customers, and bringing an unbridled passion for the products. The company’s 2,400 team members across 14 manufacturing sites and eight service centers are driven to provide innovative solutions that connect the world’s supply chain.

Once a year you may have a performance review, but on a daily basis, what are you going to do to reinforce those values?

Brady Bagwan
VP, Human Resources Morgan Truck Body

This case study explores how Morgan Truck Body partnered with Workhuman® to implement a peer-to-peer team member recognition and rewards program that drives human connection by reducing cultural friction points, democratizing gratitude, and retaining skilled workers. While this can be a challenge for companies with large offline and deskless team member populations, Morgan’s story shows it’s possible.

Reduced turnover: Of all team members who received recognition, only 6.3% have separated

The challenge

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Morgan Truck Body lacked a formal recognition program. Each business unit was responsible for its own homegrown solution to engage team members – and there was no way to measure the results, especially across teams. Their old-school approach to recognition wasn’t supporting the culture that leadership wanted to build, and engagement survey results were beginning to drop.

This was bad news in an environment where “the target for adding employees was 100%,” as Brady explained during an HR Tech breakout session in September 2022. Leaders knew they couldn’t effectively increase headcount if their current team members weren’t feeling engaged.

“If you bring on this many people at a high rate of speed in a short amount of time, that’s going to drive your turnover,” he continued. “That’s the number one problem this business faces – you don’t reach your budgeted revenue targets not because of materials, but because there are not enough team members.”

To reduce turnover by a targeted 20-30%, Morgan needed to attract, engage, and retain workers in a tough market. So, it embarked on an exhaustive search to find a partner to support its culture. After whittling the field to four finalists, the team welcomed Workhuman as vendor of choice.

Increased engagement: 70% of sites with the most effective recognition also score high on favorability surveys

The solution

Morgan wanted to democratize recognition, meaning anyone at the company can easily recognize anyone else, so they chose to launch a peer-to-peer, cross-departmental Social Recognition® program. Each team member has a unique feed based on their team, their past interactions, and their previous recognition moments. This creates a network that connects people and a team member experience that is fun, engaging, and focused on gratitude.

But do they use it, especially when they don’t sit in front of a laptop all day? “In Morgan, everything revolves around the hourly folks,” Brady explained. “That’s where our turnover is – on the factory floor. So, whenever we put a program in place, the first thing we solve for is how we get traction within that population.”

They decided to add the recognition program to tablets that team members already use to access the training management system from their work centers. “Most of our sites have between 20 and 30 tablets each,” he said. “That includes access to the awards feed and this platform. Separate from that, we’re pushing the Workhuman app they can use on their personal devices.”

Workhuman’s dedication to culture and values also helped Morgan Truck Body leadership come full circle with their original goals. Brady explained: “The values were a big thing for our president … so it was a very easy sell to say, ‘When you put those values out there and communicate them, what are you going to do to reinforce them?’”

Having a formal recognition program tied to values makes it so when team members want to recognize one another, they must take a moment to decide which value the behavior aligns with. This enables them to think about company values in an active, participatory way.

Within Workhuman Cloud®, people leaders can see who is getting recognized most often and for which of Morgan’s company values. Not only does this data show which areas of the company are best living by a core set of beliefs and behaviors, but it can be a powerful resource during performance reviews and leadership planning.

“You can see what behaviors are happening in your facilities almost in real time,” Brady said. “That type of behavioral intelligence and insight is why we decided to go with Workhuman.”

The platform has helped HR and people leaders at Morgan gain a more holistic view of their team members: “Now I can start seeing potential future stars – people we should be investing in and promoting. That’s the easy button. Conversely, I also want to
see the people who are not getting rewarded and recognized over a period of time; those theoretically could be opportunities for improvement in those positions.”

“You want to give people an easy way to execute positive reinforcement,” he said.
“You have to give them a way to do the right thing.”

Developing team members: More than 90% of sites that properly used the recognition program have an internal promotion rate greater than the company average

Before we implemented this platform, I could literally count on two hands the number of awards that were processed. ... With this, it is instant.

Brady Bagwan
VP, Human Resources Morgan Truck Body

The result

The Morgan team’s focus on making the platform simple to access and use is leading to accelerated recognition reach and frequency. In the first quarter after launch, which included the holiday season, team members at Morgan gave and received about 1,540 recognition awards. In the first three quarters of the following year, that number more than doubled to nearly 3,460 awards.

Brady was pleased with how easy it is to track and manage budget and spend in Workhuman Cloud through a built-in feature called Award Advisor:

“Award Advisor has kept things consistent in terms of how much is being awarded for what, and it’s keeping the budget in check. Nobody’s going for the maximum because you have concrete questions you have to answer. That is definitely a good feature.”

All this recognition has contributed to four key business goals:

1. Reduced turnover: Of all team members who received recognition, only 6.3% have separated; overall, sites with more effective recognition have lower turnover.

2. Increased engagement:70% of sites with the most effective recognition also score high on favorability surveys.

3. Developing team members:More than 90% of sites that properly used the recognition program have an internal promotion rate greater than the company average of ~13%.

4. Raising gain-sharing metrics:70% of sites that properly used the recognition program have seen improvements in productivity, safety, and quality year over year, as measured by hourly compensation incentive payouts.

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