ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

March 1998


Teaching An Organization To Learn

Scenario Planning

The Sinking Of The Titanic

Through Rain, Sleet And New Quality Initiatives

Striving To Deliver Excellence

Not Your Typical Oil Change


Reality: What A Concept
by Peter Block

Reflections On The Baldrige Winners
by Cathy Kramer


Brief Cases
Business News Briefs

Views for a Change

Book Review


Brief Cases
Business Briefs

Overlooking the Middleman
Middle managers are playing many roles to help their organizations succeed, but their supervisors do not recognize the extent of the managers' contributions or the measure of their satisfaction, according to a recent benchmark study by Price Waterhouse.
The survey identified communications, planning or strategy implementation, and serving as a change agent as the three most important roles of U.S. middle managers. However, supervisors are not recognizing many of the roles these managers play. On the positive side, managers experiencing considerable change, and in turn expanded roles, are more satisfied with their employment.
The study of middle managers employed by the largest companies in the U.S., Germany, France, Spain and the United Kingdom evaluated how middle and senior managers regard strategic job roles.

Paychecks vs. Perks
In a time of high turnover rates and continual employee job changing, employee retention relies more on career development than monetary rewards.
Career development opportunities are the number one reason people leave or stay at a company, according to Jamie Hale, regional practice leader for the human capital group at Watson Wyatt, a Dallas-based human resources consulting firm. And pollster Louis Harris & Associates says that 53 percent of all working people expect to quit their jobs within five years.
So how do organizations retain good people? The Watson Wyatt survey found that there is little differentiation between employee attraction and retention tools.
The five most effective ways to attract employees are paying above market, providing training and development opportunities, offering flexible work schedules, sign-on bonuses and group incentives.
The five most effective retention strategies are flexible work schedules, training and development opportunities, paying above market, stock options and group incentives.
Only about one-third of the 614 companies surveyed have formal employee retention strategies.

Working Toward the Best
The most empowered facilities are achieving and reporting the best results, according to the IndustryWeek Census of Manufacturers 1997 Research Report, an anonymous study of plant and corporate manufacturing trends.
Teaming employees has proven successful, however only 122 of 2800 (4.4 percent) plant leaders report a workforce of 100 percent empowered or self-directed teams. That falls notably below the corporate executives' feelings that empowered and self-directed teams are fundamentally critical to achieving world-class manufacturing status.
But empowerment can not operate alone. Training, in particular, is another pertinent HR enterprise. The IW study reported generally better performance measurements in plants with higher levels of training. Facilities with the highest levels of training were not only inclined to be more empowered, but also had the wealthiest corporate parents and reported high rates of modernization in the last five years.

March '98 News for a Change | Email Editor
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