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Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

Why Job Training Is Better Than A Pay Raise

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Most employers understand the value of training, but a new study suggests that its value may actually be underappreciated. I was amazed to read in a Harvard Business Review publication that employer-provided training can have an incredible impact on job satisfaction, the equivalent of a nearly 18% pay raise. This finding came out of a study of nearly 5,000 workers by the University of Madeira.

Employers have long asked how they can motivate employees when pay raises are not an option. Well, here’s one answer to that question. And while training is certainly not free, the cost is much less than giving every one of your employees an 18% raise…and that’s not even considering the educational benefits of the training.

Employee training at Tech Air

Employee training at Tech Air

The author of the study suggests that many employers tend to overlook the non-traditional, more subjective benefits of training, particularly when they don’t see immediate gains in employee productivity. That said, it’s hard to ignore the bottom line. As I mentioned, training is not free, and it takes up employees’ time.

GAWDA member Tech Air in Danbury, CT, has found a unique way to maximize of training its employees and get the most out of monthly training sessions. In the latest issue of Welding & Gases Today, Tech Air Director of Safety and Compliance Marilyn Dempsey talks the company’s new “Train the Trainer” program, where training is led by the company’s own employees.

What makes Train the Trainer unique is that it capitalizes on the knowledge and experience of individual employees. Employers have long fought against the “brain drain” that happens when experienced employees retire or leave without passing on their knowledge to others. This is one way to bridge that communication gap.

Employees attending the training may also be more responsive when learning from a peer, someone they know, trust and respect. Train the Trainer is also highly scalable, with the ability to add new trainers as a company grows.

You can learn more about Tech Air’s training program here. It’s definitely worth a look, especially at the value of an 18% raise.

What are you doing to maximize the value of employee training? Share by leaving a comment.

March Madness, Business Edition

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Last week, employers lost $175 million to distracted workers during the NCAA tournament. How much did March Madness cost your company?

With any luck, your employees remained productive throughout the first two days of the tournament. But even with the cost of the tournament, many employers also feel that the games can be a way to heighten employee morale. According to a recent poll by OfficeTeam, 68 percent of employers say that tournament games are either welcome or acceptable in moderation in the office. Perhaps these happy employees will return to work more productive than ever on Monday.

Whether or not you are a fan of watching basketball games in the office, there is at least one thing gases and welding distributors (and other businesses) can learn from the NCAA tournament.

Cinderella stories are a staple of the tournament. The last few years, there has been a 12- or 13-seed to make it through several rounds, with unheralded programs like Butler and VCU in the Final Four, or even the championship game. March Madness is a reminder that the little guys can win, and sometimes it’s the team that plays harder that comes out on top.

This brings me to an interesting conundrum:

I read a comment that said, in referring to small distributors in the gases and welding industry, that the niche for small players will always lie in supplying welding equipment. The commenter went on to say that small distributors will always struggle to grow in the gases side of the business due to the need for capital and a larger infrastructure required for delivery and production systems.

What do you think? Can a small distributor excel in the gas business, or does the need for capital limit the small operator to a hardgoods focus?

Then again, when it comes to the NCAA tournament, who would have thought that teams like Butler, VCU and Gonzaga would develop into more than Cinderella stories, but perennial threats?

Distributors’ Motivational Methods

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

There’s no doubt that the past two years have been hard on most businesses, and GAWDA members are no different. However, in speaking with distributors, there is a certain pride I have noticed among those members who have been able to maintain their staff through the economic downturn. In many cases, sacrifices were made to make this happen, and in the midst of an economic mire, pay raises were sacrificed by workers in all industries.

A few months back, I posed the question: How do you motivate employees when raises are not an option? (See post here.) These may be slow times, but employee motivation is a constant need.

Well, the answers are in, and I want to share what distributors are saying. If you have your copy of Welding & Gases Today handy, the distributor responses are on page 110 of the Winter 2011 issue, or you can view the article online. (Look for the box that says “Six Ways To Get To Yes”)

Many distributors said open communication was the key to keeping employees motivated. We highlighted some of the more unique strategies for stirring up productivity and keeping employees happy. One such example is Jackson Welding Supply, who recently held a sales contest to give its employees a boost. “We hold a month-long sales competition, with separate categories for outside salespeople and branch managers, to make sure we hit our target,” he says. “The individuals and branch locations with the greatest sales growth receive $500 gift cards to a store of their choice. The employees love it, and we get great results.” This was just one of the great ideas distributors had.

What do you think? Could any of these motivational practices work for you? What else does your company do to keep employees motivated?

Motivating Employees When Raises Are Not An Option

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

MotivationHere at Welding & Gases Today we’re underway with our annual industry forecast, and it’s full steam ahead. We’re calling GAWDA members all across the country to find out what we can expect for 2011. This is officially the first forecast I’ve taken part in, and it’s been a great experience so far.

I’ve been hearing a lot of cautious optimism. Distributors are hopeful about increasing business. The good news is that many companies are investing in new people and new equipment. A number of people I spoke to were fortunate enough to maintain their entire staff throughout the economic downturn without having to lay off any employees. If the welding and gases industry is any indication of the rest of the economy, then it’s a good sign.

While things are looking better, there are still tough challenges facing distributors. A number of companies discussed the challenge of motivating employees when money is not flowing freely. How do you encourage productivity when you can’t provide raises? Maybe it’s through praise, or is just having a job motivation enough? One distributor said he motivates his salespeople by turning their work into a competition among the company. Another distributor said he has pizza parties and get-togethers with employees to boost morale.

What is your company doing to keep employees motivated during slower economic times? I’d love to hear your ideas. Share your tips by responding to a brief survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ZHSJ5ST. Feel free to leave your ideas in the comments section as well.

UPDATE 1/19/2011 : The answers are in! Find out some of the strategies distributors are using in my follow-up post, Distributors’ Motivational Methods