164: How to Cut Turnover in Half by Leveraging Data and Empowering Frontline Leaders with Mike White, Founder & President of Secchi

Performance management is critical to keep your manufacturing processes running smoothly. So, as the capabilities of technology continue to advance, how can leaders leverage tech and data to build strong, meaningful employee relationships and cut their turnovers in half? 

This feels like a classic episode of Manufacturing Happy Hour, and joining the show is Mike White, Founder and President of Secchi. Secchi is a platform providing clarity for HR professionals and helping them make data-driven performance decisions.  

Mike shares details of his career, from his early days in frontline work to the experiences that led him to create Secchi. He explains his simple philosophy, telling us why effective employee relationship management comes down to respect and treating people right. Plus, he explores how frontline teams are responding to leaders making data-led judgments. 


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3 Quick Things from this Episode

  1. We are entering the era of the frontline worker. 
  2. Manufacturing leaders must avoid letting bad employees chase away good ones. 
  3. Good employee management boils down to treating people with respect.

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Tweetable Quotes

  • “What I noticed is that most issues are completely solvable for people. It’s just treating people with respect. That’s where I came up with my philosophy that everyone is a leader.” 
  • “The frontline is like the O line. They have to go every day, grind, run into problems and fix things. They’re underappreciated.” 
  • “When you think about employee relationship management, you don’t think about data. We want to bring this level of transparency with data that we’re no longer making feelings decisions with folks. We’re making data-driven decisions and letting great workers do great work.” 

Please Scroll Down for Recommended Resources from this Episode

Do you want to connect with other leaders that are moving the needle in manufacturing everyday? Then make sure to join us in the Manufacturing Happy Hour Industry Community on LinkedIn. 

Gray Solutions isn’t just a systems integrator. They’re a team of intellectual rebels on a mission to revolutionize smart manufacturing through innovation. They in specialize in Digital Transformation, OT Cybersecurity, Robotics + Vision, Process + Packaging, Turnkey Solutions, and more. Make sure to check out Episode 158 of Manufacturing Happy Hour for a full interview with their Founder & CEO Walker Mattox, or head to their website to connect with a Solutioneer today. 

3M’s Clash of the Grinders: Student Edition is a high-stakes grinding and welding competition that pits soon to be pros against each other to find the next best in the skilled trades. 3M is committed to skilled trade education with a goal of creating 5 million skilled trades and STEM learning experiences designed to inspire curiosity, improve educational outcomes, and provide transformational opportunities for underrepresented individuals. Make sure to subscribe to the 3M Abrasives YouTube channel to catch Clash of the Grinders today. 

What We Discuss with Mike

  • What Mike noticed when he first entered the world of frontline manufacturing with Johns Manville in 2006 
  • Why great people management comes down to ‘treating people right’ and why Mike believes ‘everybody is a leader’ in their own way 
  • How Mike leads HR during economic ebbs and flows and how he continued prioritizing people during the financial downturn in 2008 
  • Mike explains why we are ‘entering the age of the frontline worker’ and why AI and tech may not affect frontline work as much as we think 
  • How problems Mike encountered in the workplace led him to create Secchi, improving employee relationship management and cutting turnover in half 
  • How frontline employees respond to the fact that there is data on their performance, leadership and relationships 
  • Why ‘data, teamwork and courage’ are held dear at Secchi and how they relate to employee relationship management 
  • Mike explains how bad employees can chase off good ones, emphasizing the importance of rewarding great behavior in the workplace 

Recommended Resources

  • Secchi, generate instant performance reviews based on automated data, including attendance, warnings, and recognition 
  • Pete’s Pub, a laid-back neighborhood pub & restaurant located in a historical building in the heart of Milwaukee’s Brady Street 

Connect with Mike and Secchi 

LinkedIn | Mike White