4. Set goals for your employees to reach.
It is good to have periodic employee reviews. It's happened more than once that after a review the employee seemed to have an extra set in them when working. We all need goals.
5. Employee training.
Training is such a valuable manager's tool. It could be in house training such as sales, fabrication or safety, or even outside the company. ITEC has an excellent selection of courses employees can benefit from. How about this year's solid surface show? Sending a few employees there shows you are committed to their training. It can motivate them.
6. Employee Recognition.
Amazingly, this was the single most mentioned factor. What's even more amazing about this is that it requires the least amount of money and time. One worker told me: "When a manager comes up to me and thanks me for my work or lets me know how much he appreciates me, it speaks volumes." (Be sure your commendation is genuine. Employees can tell when it's an act.)
I wrote this article based on experiences within my company. If you want to see what affects your people, why not come up with your own series of questions you could ask them?
I love museums, but not in the fabrication shop. We've said it before, "your employees are your greatest asset." Continue investing in them.
About the author: Jon Olson is production and operations manger for Sterling Surfaces in Sterling, Mass. A solid surface fabricator since 1982, he has gained experience in all phases of solid surface fabrication while helping the company grow from 10 to 50 employees. Currently, Olson teaches a course entitled, "How to Mange Shop Employees" at ISSFA's ITEC in Henderson, Nev. He may be reached at email@example.com