The Motivation Factor

Read some strategies our past Leadtime Leader award winners use for employee retention.


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“It’s the Manager’s Fault,” the first article of the new Maintenance Matters column on page 30 by Steve Johnson, president of MoldTrax Maintenance Solutions, talks about the manager’s role in employee engagement within the maintenance and repair toolroom, and it got me thinking about what it takes to motivate moldmakers in general. The No. 1 problem facing our industry continues to be finding that next generation of moldmakers, but how do you inspire and motivate the workers you have now?

I did a little investigating using our past Leadtime Leader winners and discovered that the average length of employment for workers at those shops is 12 years. So I probed further to find out what strategies they use for employee retention. Here are some of the more common answers:

“We really focus on creating a work-life balance for our employees. This is not to say that they aren’t working as much or as hard, we simply feel it’s important to give them flexibility in the time that they do work. Knowing that they can adjust their schedule to be at their kid’s baseball games or other important events goes a long way.” 

“We invest a substantial amount of money in workspace design. Besides an ergonomically correct desk, each employee gets a Leap chair, two widescreen monitors and a 3D mouse. Some people would think we are crazy for spending $750 on a chair, but if it keeps my employees comfortable and without a backache, then it’s money well spent.”

“We conduct software and machine training, and have a tuition reimbursement program for any class, even fly fishing, in an effort to develop employees both technically and emotionally.” 
“We create a culture that promotes an open-door policy, maintains a steady workload, invests in new technology/equipment and listens to the employee’s opinion.” 

“Give back to the community. We come to work to do great work for our clients so that we can support good works in our community and for the families involved at the company.” 

“Continual investment in technology and reinvestment of profits in the company and not in the owner’s pocket.”

“We are an employee-owned company, which means that every employee has a vested interest in the company’s continued success and growth.” 

Share your motivation strategies with me at cfuges@gardnerweb.com, and for a more in-depth look at the toolroom manager’s role in employee motivation and engagement, read Steve Johnson's column HERE. Then check back for more from Steve in the coming months on shop systems and skills training for mold maintenance and repair.