Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tuesday, Oh, Tuesday!

I was hog tied and placed in a room full of middle and executive management today. It seems we need a little training. We had some pesky yellow jacket stiffs there talking about lean manufacturing. It's good stuff-really. It's just I have heard it about a dozen times with the same big pep rally and then the eventual fizz of emotion only to be dropped along the curb in order to make way for more "production time" and less "non production time". We can't meet customer needs if we are sitting in some room talking and not out producing product. We never hang onto the training part long enough to see the results of a better employee.

Hence my question/discussion to my readers. What motivates an hourly employee these days? Our plant workers make somewhere between $10 per hour and up to probably $16 to $17 per hour. An 18 year old walking from his high school graduation dripping from his ears will start at $10 per hour. Then you build from there. At $10 per hour, that is $20,000 per year.

Now, let's talk motivation. Our plant is air conditioned, clean (Japanese style) and set up fairly nice. Good 401K, insurance and paid time off. Trust me, it's not labor intensive. What motivates an employee to get up and show up everyday?

The stiffs say it's employee empowerment and feeling of worth and trust. Walk out on the shop floor and all you hear is "we need more money". We joking use the phrase "the beatings will continue until morale improves". The culture is one where a director can only sign a purchase order up to $500. That doesn't sound like trust to me.

What motivates you to put a good days effort into a good days work?


Family - After dinner tonight, I was out taking pictures of the house they are building across the street from us. Little One started posing and asked if I would take her picture. These are the results.

My plans are to take a photo just about every day until completion.
Then make a movie maker video of it.
(set to brooks and dunn - "hard working man" song of course)
That's my humble plan - execution of that plan is subject to my laziness.

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butterflygirl said...

Your little one is just darling!

Anonymous said...

Promoting within works wonders. Show employees that hard work is rewarded with more responsibility and more hard work, better pay.

AaroN said...

Accomplishment and recognition.

"The Rake" said...

I agree that promoting within works wonders for the overall employee morale. However, I have witnessed in our company people being promoted and failing. A little of the employees fault and a lot on the companies fault. A certain percentage of employees use the promotion to get out of work and think they are on easy street. While in others, they work hard but the company does nothing to help train them in the advance technics of manufacturing. ie:lean, TOC, 5S, Visual control systems.

They find it easier to hire from outside where some other company has already trained them.

One Scrappy Gal said...

Do you have flex schedule options? Employee events maybe once a month that everyone can attend and just unwind and enjoy each other's company outside of work? That might make people feel like they know their co-workers a little better and feel more comfortable with them? Open door policy with management? You could always drug their water. ;-)

CarmenSinCity said...

She's quite the little model!

mowenumdown said...

I have been in many of those meetings so I have felt your pain. Motivation is a funny thing, many people think that money is the major motivator. But I can say that in my case, money ranks pretty low on my list. I have made as little as 20k and as much as 100k+ per year and the thing that pushs me in each job was to simply be the best that I could be. I have always been very competitive.

surflexus said...

Hey Rake,
I like to use the "sore thumb" analysis method when I am trying to impact a culture in my employees. Ask yourself, "What is unacceptable that I want to correct?" Make a list and prioritize it selecting one improvement at a time. Have a meeting with everyone and bring them in on the item to be improved. Revise job descriptions for each employee including the accepted behavior desired. Focus on this one thing until you have no more "sore thumbs" in this one area. Then move to number 2. If I can be of any assistance, you are welcome to email me at surflexus AT comcast DOT net.

Duck Hunter said...


#1. great pictures of you daughter!
#2. good luck on the house building project. I took pictures every stage of the construction of a water tower...with the intention of building a video of it. The pictures are still on the hard drive, untouched. Maybe you can motivate me.
#3. Motivate workers. I agree with a previous comment that promotion helps. Showing they have opportunity to grow with the company. Also, at my work, we have monthly meetings to discuss issues. With my employees, I let them know what my expectations are from them, and then we talk about what THEIR expectations are. It's already been said, but it's true that money if normally not the issue.

Anonymous said...

nothing motivated me at my last job. even being offered a crap load of money couldn't make me stay there.

but i love my new job. the whole environment, the people, my position. and the money, no doubt. everything makes me get up in the morning glad to be going to my office.

and after 11 years at a miserable job, that sure makes all the difference!


p.s. do i have to say again how absolutely gorgeous your kid is? love her smile.