Boating Industry

November 2016

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24 | Boating Industry | November 2016 [ Not Another Dead End Job ] even boaters in their personal time, but they be- lieve in the core values Soucy and his brothers have clearly outlined for the company. "It's not just about money, it's not just about benefi ts – it's about how you're treated, how you're cared for and really believing what the owners and the company are all about," he said. "You've got to look at what type of employer are you and how do you treat your people, and are you creating an environment where they want to be there every day?" Communicate, communicate, communicate Employees stay with companies where there is mutual trust between themselves and lead- ership. The best way to show you trust your employees is to be transparent with them. Communicating regularly about that state of the business, the direction it's headed and how everyone's roles play into that success is key. "We have fi ve meetings a year with every- one in the company: a welcome back meeting when we start the year, and then we have four quarterly meetings. And we talk about where we are as a company and what we're doing, and we're open with them," said Soucy. "We share information so there's a high level of trust, and they know we're going to try to do whatever we can for them." That communication needs to go both ways. Your employees need to feel empowered to speak up when they see areas for improvement or reoccurring problems. Creating some type of incentive program not only encourages employ- ees to speak up, signaling that you care about their feedback, but it also rewards them for ac- tively participating in the company. MasterCraft began an Employee Empow- erment Program four years ago, which is tied to the company's "Wildly Important Goals," or WIGs, which are safety, quality, delivery and cost. Prior to starting this program, "the com- pany was essentially break-even at best and the employees had not been getting regular bonuses or annual pay increases," said McNew. "So we helped them to understand that we THE BENEFITS OF HAVING GOOD BENEFITS A competitive salary and benefi ts package alone will not motivate employees to stay with your company. But, they certainly don't drive them away. You need to be sure you are taking care of your best assets by giving them the opportunity to live a comfortable life where they can provide for their families. That – combined with a positive culture, advance- ment and training opportunities, and apprecia- tive recognition for their hard work – is the best way to keep quality employees working in your company. Port Harbor Marine has continued to add to its benefi ts offerings, even during the downturn when other companies ceased matching 401Ks or cutting their contributions to healthcare. "It's still very tough, especially as a small business here in Maine where there's not a lot of choices for healthcare providers. It's expensive," said Soucy. "There is a limit, unfortunately, where you have to maintain a healthy bottom line for the company, but at the same time you want to help your people out as much as possible. … You want to do as much as you can for them." Thanks to the success of the MasterCraft's Employee Empowerment Program, the com- pany has also been able to increase wages by 2.5 to 3 percent and hand out annual bonuses of 3 to 4 percent of the base salary. MasterCraft also increased its contribution to employee 401Ks by 16 percent and funneled profi ts back into the company with new lighting on the fl oor, better safety equipment and more. "They realize when they are involved the company is successful, and when the com- pany is successful we give back to them," McNew said. He added that MasterCraft doesn't target to be the "premier employer" in terms of wages and benefi ts but works hard to be above the mean. "You don't necessarily need to be the highest-paid in terms of dollar, but we do have extremely good medical and dental and vision benefi ts with relatively low cost in employee contributions," McNew said. "All those things, we think just in wages and benefi ts we're above average, which is intentional, and then you add all that other aspects of our culture and operating principles, and we think that's signifi cant enough to attract quality people." Every year, the MasterCraft department with the most implemented suggestions in its Employee Empower- ment Program receives an engraved plaque shaped like a wakeboard.

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