Boating Industry

November 2016

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November 2016 | Boating Industry | 25 [ Not Another Dead End Job ] needed their help to turn the business around, and we set up specifi c goals in each of those areas, and we got tremendous participation." Employees across all departments are asked to hit a goal of a certain number of suggestions per months, using scorecards to track progress and help supervisors, managers and employees submit suggestions that are meaningful and ac- tionable. In the fi rst year, MasterCraft received 353 implemented suggestions. In the most recent year, the company received 20,000. In 2015, MasterCraft won IndustryWeek's Best Plants award and the Employee Empow- erment Program was a key driver to Master- Craft's selection. "We've nearly doubled production in four years and our net inventories are essentially fl at, which is phenomenal. And so it really takes the employees to achieve it," said McNew. "What they see in it for them is a safe environment. They know that we, the management team, care about them. We're out on the fl oor all the time and they see that their ideas are important and getting implemented." Legend Boats rewards its employees for Ideas of the Month, which can be anything from ways to save money, increase effi ciency or even just fun things to do at the offi ce. Man- agement discusses the ideas and one person wins the Idea of the Month, which comes with a preferred parking spot and a $25 gift card to the restaurant of their choice. "The best ideas come from the people who are doing the work every day. There's so many companies that get it wrong and they have their upper management or high-level execu- tives who are making all of the decisions and trying to come up with everything, and typi- cally they don't know what the issues are as well as the people that are running into the issues every day," said Dewar. "So I think de- mocratizing that process in order to give ev- eryone a say and the opportunity to voice their opinion, I think that's crucial." Ideas that cannot be implemented right away go into a list to be addressed later. And if an idea comes in that the company can't implement, the leadership team can provide transparency by discussing why they can't, and most of the time employees hear the explana- tion and understand. "It brings issues to the forefront. So if there is something an employee or team member is frustrated with or unhappy about or a process, a lot of times the ideas come from that unhap- piness," said Dewar. "It allows you to address that unhappiness as well so you can keep your employees happy, and at the same time prob- ably increase effi ciency or minimize expense. It's a win-win situation for everybody." APPRECIATION IS KEY It's human nature to want to be thanked and feel your work is appreciated. If you want to appeal to your employees on a human level, you need to show them how much you value them through action. As great as the on- the-spot "thank yous" on the fl oor and Christmas bonuses are, employee appreciation needs to go a bit deeper than that. Legends Boats takes this very seriously. Upon hiring at Legend, team members create a list of their favorite treats, restaurants, hobbies, hobby stores of choice and more. The director of processes and training keeps an inventory of $10 gift cards for hobby stores to give managers in the event a team member goes above and beyond. This allows managers to instantly reward employees. "It's more impactful and it shows that we care. It's not the actual gift – it's not a gift card – it's the fact that they know you take the time and have enough care to personalize it for them," said Dewar. "And ultimately, people just want to feel appreciated for the work that they do. Those little things are just little tokens that show our appreciation." The list is also referred to when employee birthdays and work anniver- saries occur. In many cases, the treat will also be accompanied by a fully- decorated offi ce space for the employee, which helps create awareness and excitement around those events. "That one happy birthday we might have sent them turns into 50 or 60 happy birthdays, and it really just makes their day," Dewar added. "And we want to make sure they realize that being here for one year, two years, three years, 10 years does mean a lot to us. We realize that they can work any other place with any other team." Legend Boats also goes all out for its annual employee appreciation parties. Last year, the company held a "rockstar" Christmas party where employees were picked up in limos and brought to a local science center where Legend had hired 50-100 people to act as "paparazzi" taking photos and asking for autographs. To get to the hall where the party was held, employees had to walk through a rock-lined tunnel where the company had printed walk-of-fame stars with each employee's name. "We do a lot of those kind of cool, out there, wacky Christmas parties and events," Dewar said, "and I think that fun portion makes it a place you want to stay, a place you look forward to coming to every day." Employees stay with companies where they have fun and feel appreciated .

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