Creating the Great Workplace: What NOT to Do: Case Study #2, Part 3: Continue the Beatings
By Admin

February 9, 2011

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Let me digress a moment to this particular organization’s problems with stabilizing “employment” (keeping people who can do the jobs, and keeping people who WANT to do the jobs): The organization is assembly-line oriented, where hitting hourly/shift numbers of parts made and assembled is the #1 concern. It is a REAL concern. They price their products based upon THEIR customers beating them into the sand on price, volume and quality. They are on CONTRACTS with brutal customers. The customer does not care HOW the supplier makes the product, or what it costs the customer. They will pay $X for each product delivered that passes the quality test (if one does not, even out of 100,000, this company could lose their contract, or have to spend more money correcting the problems, including hiring outside quality control or being “Quarantined”).

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All revenue is fixed. To make a buck, this organization needs to first: Beat the crap out of their vendors on price and delivery and quality, therefore shifting all accountability to the vendor (Want to do business with us? We set the rules. Produce or get out). Next: Reduce costs. Next: Reduce costs. Next: reduce costs. Next: quit making excuses, Increase productivity, while reducing costs.

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This is a great strategy when you are working with robots, machines, parts made by machines, commodities, bulk energy costs, and more. Those things don’t rely on “motivation”, desire, feedback or respect. They work or don’t work.

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The people who make those products and assemble the parts, DO function on motivation, desire, feedback and respect (they are HUGE on the perception of Respect).

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Here’s the kicker: All the jobs there begin at $9 per hour. After taxes, that is a net of about $15,000 per year, not including overtime. Burger King and Mickey Dee’s pay close to that. And no one yells at you there. And you can get discount food. Yeh, you will smell like food, but people will smile at you, and it is warm. The boss even knows your name (and uses your real name, not “Hey You”).

At $9 hour, most of the people working there “stay” somewhere. They live WITH other people. They don’t drive great cars, have no health insurance, and collect some sort of welfare (food stamps). They could get by on unemployment (no rent). Most guys have Child Support tracking them, and when they catch up to them, their already meager check gets nailed for back support, and they leave the job, or start to act like they don’t care. (For $3 per hour, would you?). They are already hanging on by a slim fingernail.

Then … walk into work, run into the foul-faced HR people, a boss who looks sideways at you, no one in management says “HI!”, and you are supposed to be highly motivated to bust yer butt to make stuff for products you can’t afford (ever). You are not sure how many hours you will work this week (the machines might not work), nor if you will have a job (they let 10 people go yesterday you thought were doing okay). If they tell you that you will HAVE to work weekends, you going to lose your job. The kids HAVE to spend the weekend with you or you will lose visitation. Maybe you can get the neighbor to watch them, then there goes the last $10 you have in your pocket. What can I find to eat, get for the kids to eat.

And your mind spins to the point that you forgot to put those 3 screws in…. damn, here comes the pink slip …

(By the way: The HR people have no kids, drive decent cars, work 9-5 and no overtime, are never on the shop floor, never ask how you are doing, never say hi, never eat with you, never say a word about how you are doing, and look the other way when they see you in the parking lot)

To be continued…..(yeh, it gets even worse….)