Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fiat/Chrysler versus 7 Eleven

Never short-change your employees and their work environment. If they can't stand working there, they're not going to be excited about doing great and remarkable work. The 7 Eleven CEO learned this lesson in one of the early episodes of "Undercover Boss" on TV. I always advocate Open Tour Policies instead of Open Door Policies. This CEO discovered in one of the setup assignments that taking care of the employee areas was a priority 7 (or some number lower than 5) while customer areas were a priority 1 (top, urgent). I can't remember but I'm thinking the CEO learned to change the maintenance priorities.

Likewise, an article reported that the head of Fiat that owns Chrysler was touring factories. He was willing to spend money, not just on retooling the production, on bathrooms, lunchrooms, parking lots and reception areas. Says Marchionne, "The state of disrepair, of neglect of the work environment that people were offered to make a high-quality product that was supposed to compete internationally with the best of the best, right? You can't do that when you can't walk into the bathroom at one of the plants because they're just not presentable."

You might also have heard about the great Hawthorne Works experiments: ask employees what would help improve productivity (turn up the lights); ask again (turn down the lights). The main lesson is to ask. Employees are important so pay attention to what their work experience is like.

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