Volume 34, Number 8, August 1999

USGOpenings Column: Fenestration Focus

Employee Motivation and Retention Yields Profits

by Clark Halladay

Manufacturers in the fenestration industry know quality workmanship is the cornerstone of their business. But, finding, retaining and depending on a highly motivated and trained workforce is equally essential to a successful company. In light of today’s deflationary and price-competitive market, many businesses are having difficulty raising prices or maintaining profit margins. Add to that the difficulty in staffing your company with the quality workforce necessary to grow your business, and you may be faced with serious problems.
To develop a long term competitive advantage, it is important to invest in your employees and make them partners in your business. Doing so can help you implement two strategic initiatives critical to any organization: protecting and improving profit margins and enhancing the collective brain-power and skill level of your workforce.

Improved Job Performance
Quality job performance is based on two key elements—motivation and ability. Motivation can be expanded through positive reinforcement, equitable treatment, written goals and a reward system, which is tied to personal and corporate performance. Employees also respect structure they can count on, thus implementing effective rule and discipline systems is integral to streamlining daily activities.
Ability is a direct reflection of a person’s education and raw talent. Become involved with the employee by conducting routine reviews to determine growing skill levels and continue to challenge good workers.
It is also important to demonstrate how each employee’s role in the company affects the overall business. Make each job as rewarding and fulfilling as possible by providing direction and insight into how the employee can grow and develop beyond his current position. Your end goal is to create passion or excitement among the employees concerning the company’s direction and each individual’s role in the organization. Help provide them with reasons to look toward the company’s future and to embrace a positive attitude.

Career Development Opportunities Create Staying Power
As the company grows, so too should your employees progress and develop with the new and expanded opportunities. As more sophisticated, automated equipment and machinery is brought into the manufacturing location, work hard to train and educate existing employees to operate and maintain the equipment. While you invest in equipment to improve productivity and efficiency, you should make the same investment in your employees.
The company’s vision must align with the employee’s vision to build a successful growth strategy for both parties. Establish or build a sense of trust in your organization by listening to employees at all levels, and encouraging them to offer their ideas concerning how to improve the workplace or a particular job. By sharing information about the business in a timely way, both the positive and the negative, you can gain trust and build open communication.
As your business advances, your workforce will become more motivated, more productive and more efficient. By giving your workers a sense of involvement in the company’s future, you foster a staff that is more likely to stay on board to grow and develop with the company. And to the benefit of all, you will be developing a more competitive and profitable organization with a workforce that eagerly awaits the challenges the fenestration market offers.

Clark Halladay is the sales and new business development manager for TruSeal Technologies Inc., based in Beachwood, OH.


USG

Copyright 1999 Key Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.