Would You Work Here?

Would you join the your own company?

The past few years I have heard many company runners complaining about their work force. They tell me that the government is paying people too much money not to work, young people are not interested in working every day and that there is just not the work ethic there once was when they were young.

Many of these leaders tell me that they hire ten people at a time and in the end only four of them stick to the job longer than a week and the rest stay only a month, tops.

Seth Godin in his book “The Song of Significance” claims that in 2012 Amazon lost a quarter of their profits – more than eight billion dollars – to attrition. Only one out of three hires stayed more than three months.

From what I hear and read about working in those Amazon distribution centers with their strict hours, surveillance cameras and regulated bathroom breaks, I am surprised they can keep anyone in those jobs at all.

Now when it comes to our industry and those complaints I hear from people who own or run those shops I have to ask, “Would you work there if you were starting out?” I ask them to take a look at their own companies. I mean take a really serious and critical look at the working conditions they are providing to their employees and ask them if this is the kind of company they would like to join and work at today? Or even when they started out a million years ago?

I was lucky. I started my career at the top of the industry with Rockwell International company. From the very first step I took into that shop I could feel the pride of being something great. And I certainly felt an immense pride of product. But then again that was Rockwell. We were building boards for everything from the Minuteman Missile to the MK-92 Frigates all the way to the Space Shuttle. Even when we went to the movies and watched blockbusters like “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” those engineers around the foreign space were all wearing whet lab coats with the Rockwell logo on the backs.

But today, sorry guys, your PCB companies just don’t seem that glamorous. 

Does it look like a great place to work? Do your people understand the vision and mission of your company? Do they know why you are in business? Do they have pride of product? Do they even know what your products, your boards, go into? When was the last time you had an all-hands meeting? When was the last time you had any meeting, especially one designed to make your folks feel good about where they work? Have you laid out a clear and well-defined career path to your future with your company? Think about these things and think carefully because if the answer to any or all of these questions is no then we you met your enemy, and it is you!

Speaking of career paths John Mitchell (yes our John Mitchell) in his book, “Fire Your Hiring Habits: Building An Environment That Attracts Top Talent in Today’s Workforce” gives a great example of how one company is succeeding at hiring and keeping the best people. 

The company he talked about had developed a clear and well-defined path to promotions and success. As he says in the book, ‘The people at the factory could think, ‘If I stay here and learn these things and these skills, then I can become a level two at this position in four weeks. Then in another six weeks, I can move to this position. And then in another four weeks I could be at this level if I work hard.”

Mr. Mitchell goes on to state – in boldface type I might add – “Every Day, employees know exactly how they could become the supervisor- and more importantly, that it is really possible. They could see their peers moving up in the organization.”

I think that’s brilliant! And I am sure that there are certain milestones they can strive for where monetary rewards will be realized.

Earlier in the book Mr. Mitchell had said that the headcount turnover in that country was 20 to 30% but that this company’s turnover rate was less 10% a true measurable testimony that their plan is working.

Think about that. Getting the employees so turned on that they are self-motivated to learn and grow on their own. And that they can grow at their own speed.

Of course, you as a company runner will have to develop and implement the plan. But that exercise in and of itself will be a tremendously productive and rewarding project.

And in the end if you implemented a training and growth plan creating a true path to success your company would be so much better. In fact, it would become a company that you would want to work for!

It’s only common sense.