Tuesday, June 15, 2010

America's Return to Financial Greatness-some straight talk

Ford Motor company in the early 80’s came up with the slogan “Quality is job one.” This statement really evolved out of its production manual called total quality management. It was implemented to combat the foreign car invasion of America as American’s were increasingly put off by the poor quality and highly plasticized cars coming out of Detroit in that time period.

In my last article, I reviewed Stanley C. Allyns extraordinary booklet about his life in Dayton and work career at NCR, rising to be president and CEO. In his booklet, Allyn gave his 4 big jobs for management teams. I would like to look at point number three: Earn the enthusiastic support of all employees. Sounds good right, but the problem is that many companies today have fallen victim to employing Temporaries, Contractors, Casual Hires, and Short term hires, and then expecting that they are gong to get the same attention to quality as the company would receive from an employee. This is pure fantasy!

Let me define each of the categories: Temporary (or temp) a person who comes in to substitute for a permanent employee. These people usually work 8-12 weeks, but some times as much as 6 months. Usually they do grunt work (although many these days are highly skilled and impressively experienced). A casual hire is much like a temp except he or she works directly for the company. A casual hire is not offered benefits or company perks and usually does routine work. Sometimes retirees fill out their income as casual hires. A short term employee does not usually know that they are what they are. These people are fully benefited and work for the company, but the company management knows that they are hired to work a certain project and then layed off or terminated. Sometimes working conditions become so bad that they leave of their own accord (and this is fine with the company). Contractor’s either can work for themselves or a contracting company (you will find Contractors in engineering and accounting very often).

The problem with this group is that they probably are being under paid and looking for the minimum they can do and then go home. The second is that these people are looking for another, better full time gig. If they figure out that this greener pasture is not with your firm, then you only have this employee’s partial attention, and they might leave at ANY time, some times not giving any or little notice. Some temporary agencies, try to tell temps that this job is “temp to perm” but experienced temps know that this is generally “the agency sales pitch to do a good jab and maybe you will get hired (but is rarely true).” Finally some companies still in down sizing mode (or their ridiculous term “right sizing”) even encourage employees to search on monster job or some related site! You will never have what Mr. Allyn states as point three: earn the enthusiastic support of all employees!

If in your small business, quality is job one, then you can not populate your work force with Temps, Casual Hires, Contractors, and short term hires. What you need from your employees is that they do everything that is both explicit and intrinsic to “doing a good job!” Your small business needs people who want to work for your success (and their own).

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