Q: In your discussion about rough mill yield improvement, you mention the role of employees. How can I get them to work better? I think that their work ethic today is a big problem.

A: FACT: Most employees (perhaps all) always believe that they deserve a raise. They deserve what they get paid. So, pay raises are not a good motivator. Whether you give a person a raise or not, he/she will still not be motivated to work better or harder.

To motivate an employee, and thereby achieve a better working employee (safer, high quality, higher production), you have to give them something that is special something that they do not think they deserve, something that helps them feel important. Some ideas are to give them a sign with their name on it for their work station (Bank V.P.s always have their name on their door; maybe you do too!); give them some business cards with their name on them and a good title; give them a hat, shirt and jacket with their name on it; give them two tickets to a sporting event; give them two free dinners at a good restaurant; have their picture in the paper and a story about their accomplishment (team leader, special suggestions, etc.).

I always suggest that the boss prepare the workers lunch one day a month with food cooked on the BBQ grill the big boss! Also, invite them and their families to a special luncheon on Saturday, once or twice a year. Maybe have the luncheon at the plant so that they can show the family where they work and what they do. Make sure you have plenty of "name signs" so the family can easily see their special place.

Have the boss personally (face to face) wish them happy birthday, happy anniversary, congratulations on their child's accomplishment that was in the paper, etc. Make sure that their break room is a pleasant place it shows that you care. All supervisors should have a supply of $1 Dairy Queen coupons that they carry around, so that when they see a good activity by an employee they can immediately reward them, encouraging such behavior to continue. These sorts of things will end up motivating the person many times more than a pay raise, a big stick or whatever. And this is just the beginning of a list. You will need to keep doing this day after day after day. In fact, doing these sorts of motivational things is the job of a supervisor and his boss!

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