Employee Satisfaction and Productivity

Eaton Corporation is a diversified manufacturer with sales of $1.8 billion in 1976 and 18,000 employees in 65 plants in North America. Recently, it embarked on one of the most venturesome attempts to counter worker alienation in the U.S. The approach, referred to as the “new philosophy,” actually dates back to the late 1960s. Eaton was building a new plant in Kearney, NE, and the manager-to-be wanted to avoid the kind of deterioration in employee-management relations he had seen in his old plants.

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So he turned to Baton’s employee relations research and development manager, Donald N. Scobel, for help. Scobel suggested neither job enrich¬ment, job redesign nor participative decision making as possible solutions. Instead, he created something he re¬fers to as “an enriched environment.” Continue reading

Sharing the Wealth – HRD’s Role in Making Incentive Plans Work

Employees do a better job when they’ve got a piece of the business,” declares a Chicago and Northwestern Railroad ad in a recent Business Week. It goes on to suggest that, since C&NW em¬ployees own the business “down to the last spike,” they work a little harder, smile a little wider, frown less, take more pride in their jobs, control costs better and are more profitable, in-novative and productive than people at other railroads.

Though C&NW is an extreme example, a number of organizations are coming to see the point the C&NW ad makes: Employees do perform bet¬ter when they have a piece of the action. Continue reading

Training from the Trainees’ Point of View

Gypsy trade is the picturesque term given to businesses with inherently high employee turn over. Restaurant employees, whose average national turnover exceeds 200 percent, typify this phenomenon. Speed’s Koffee Shops, Inc., recognized this problem and decided to re-examine its training program and adjust it to the vagaries of a classic gypsy trade.

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They launched their project with a five-question form, to be completed by all employees and returned to their immediate supervisors. Out of more than 400 employees, a gratifying 92 percent obliged. And their responses went a long way toward educating management in its areas of strength and weakness. Continue reading

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