April 19, 2016

“She Loves Her Co-Workers”

By Paul Bieber

I had lunch the other day with a neighbor of ours whose daughter, Christa, has been in a new job for a couple of months. I asked him if Christa liked her job. His response, “She loves her co-workers.” Think about it. The first response was about her co-workers and not the job itself. He went on to say that she loved her job and was learning quite a bit.

Do your co-workers love each other? Are you fostering an environment that encourages your employees to be a team? Do your employees welcome a new employee as a member of your family… or is there a fear that a new person will take their job or move up the ladder faster?

Here are some tips to develop a team, rather than just a group of people who happen to work for the same company.

  • Have each new employee assigned to a mentor who will work side-by-side for a week or two. Have the mentor teach about the company as well as the direct job duties. If you don’t have a mentor in your company, make one. Choose one person for this role, train them in the history, make sure he knows and understands your employee manual, and let him know how important this is to the company. At your next employee salary review, give him a little extra.
  • Have a nice lunch room where employees can congregate and relax during lunch.
  • Have two special events a year, such as a picnic, a holiday party, a day at an amusement park, or a bus trip to a special destination. Invite the whole family of the employee. This does cost money, but it is well worth it to have a spouse involved. If the kids can come, the more the better. Let them see daddy’s employer is the great guy daddy talks about.
  • Bring the family to your shop and show them glass cutting, or how strong a piece of tempered glass really is. Dress each kid in the safety gear their dad wears and let each kid try to cut a small piece of single or double thick.
  • Teach all of your employees about the glass they handle, such as low-E, reflective and safety glass. If you get a speaker from your fabricator, let the lessons begin after everyone is back at the shop. Include your office staff. Have pizza and soft drinks. And pay your people for this hour or so.
  • Create an employee of the month, or if a small company, then use employee of the quarter, or even a year. Put a plaque up listing the names of the winners. Give them a reserved parking spot right next to the front door, and maybe a sticker to go on their hard hat if you wear hats.
  • At company meetings, ask an employee to explain something about their job that will help others. There is always one special trick that people know that is shareable. It is better for another employee to teach than for you to.
  • Let employees know how long you have been accident free. Put up a chalkboard which you change daily. Make safety everyone’s job. Give out a small gift at 100 days, at one year, and each successive year. No matter how much you spend on a pocketknife or special hat, it is by far less expensive than the worker’s comp cost to you after an accident.

There is more, but we’ll save that for another day.