Pennsylvania Salt Manufacturing Co. had a two day workshop for secretaries. Management stayed out of the meetings so that the girls could open the complaint valves and air their problems. New techniques and procedures were taught by outsiders.
When a pen owner has trouble, he is prone to write the manufacturer in unvarnished language. The Parker Pen Company with millions of pens in the public's hands got its share of such letters, and found that the girls in its correspondence section tended to develop a stereotyped response to such complaint letters. To overcome both depression and boredom the company set up a letter writing clinic for two hours a week on the company's time. The instructor, a capable writer with a flair for the diplomatic touch, suggested methods for individualizing responses and gracefully handling various types of problem situations.
The Norton Company had a program in which once a year each employee had a heart to heart chat with the supervisor SECOND above him. The result of the practice was a marked improvement in human relations.
Swivelier Company offered interested employees free instruction in painting on Saturday from the company's design engineer.
The name "Seagram's Family Achievement Association" was given to a plan for training and advancing qualified young men in Seagram Distiller Co. The young men involved were sons and sons in law of people in the Seagram Company and its distributors.
Sears, Roebuck & Co. had some correspondence courses to help employees advance. If a truck driver did well in a merchandise course that went on his record. He got the nod when a vacancy occurred.
The Chesapeake and Ohio RR gave executives two extra weeks of vacation to use in traveling to and from an annual meeting via competing railroads and other passenger carriers. Each executive was asked to compare and report competitors' treatment of passengers.
Electronic Engineering Co. of California wanted employees to read trade publications for their training benefits. But, they didn't want it done on company time. They offered to pay two thirds of the subscription cost, if the employee had the publication sent to his home.
The Stop and Shop Super in Boston insisted trade magazines in the stores be made available for all employees to read. The idea was to facilitate things for an ambitious employee. The head office suggested reading racks in the lunchroom.
Rather than drop a suggestion in a suggestion box, Aldis Bros., Ltd., Birmingham, England, required the employee to explain it verbally to the executive on "suggestion duty." The executive would then help the employee put the suggestion on paper. The process provided good training, and identified the worker with the executive.
Republic Steel developed a comprehensive basic economics program with the University of Chicago for 6,000 supervisors. Keever Starch Co. held a contest for employees to guess the cents per dollar of sales in its net profit. Northwestern Life Insurance Co. held meetings in which its people were briefed on business trends, and the company's plans. Armco Steel did the same, but in a weekly newsletter written by its executives, including the bitter news with the sweet. Nash Kelvinator of American Motors distributed to employees a budget book Your Hidden Treasure explaining how payroll deductions are future treasures including social security.
The Parker Pen Company does a world wide business. In fact, foreign sales have run as high as 40 per cent of all sales on occasion. To help employees and residents in Janesville, Wisconsin, appreciate their stake in free flowing world trade, Parker one time paid employees 40 per cent of their pay in Mexican pesos, which were accepted in trade by merchants locally for 10 days. Everyone who had any of the 367,000 pesos pass through his hand knew his livelihood was influenced by foreign trade. It was quite an awakening for this community in the heart of a traditionally isolationist minded area. The community pitched a "World Trade Fiesta" complete with window displays of U.S. products made possible by foreign raw materials, a parade, and street dancing to foreign music.
As a switch on this "Peso Pay Day," a Canadian firm paid a percentage of its payroll in U.S. silver dollars to dramatize the importance of trade between Canada and the United States.
Locally in Belleville, 111., the Stag Brewery led the way for many companies by putting a portion of the payroll into silver dollars to dramatize the impact of industry on the economy of the area.
Among the rather unusual projects to inform employees, a small mid west company posted a "fact a week" on its bulletin boards. These were facts they wanted known and remembered. After each "fact" was removed from the boards two employees were chosen by lot. If they could remember the "fact" each got $5.
Also off the beaten trails, U.S. Rubber Co. at its Scottsville, Va., plant arranged for employees to visit suppliers' plants. And suppliers' personnel were invited to return the call.
General Motors, and many other companies, put economic education on a voluntary basis. There were information racks with a great variety of literature strategically located in all plants. Employees could take what they wanted, or ignore the racks.
To help employees become interested in the history of General Analine Chemical, there was a quiz game in the cafeteria at lunch called "Quick." A free lunch went to those with the highest scores.
Hardware Mutuals of Wisconsin in its house publication printed the dialogue of an employee's family at the dinner table discussing the annual report.
Aids to Productivity:
A mid west company discovered that many employees wore bifocals. One reaction was prompt. All bulletin boards were lowered three to five inches.
Soon after Procter & Gamble initiated a profit sharing plan in 1887, an appropriate legend made its appearance on every Ivory Soap wrapper. It read, "Factories Conducted under the Profit Sharing Plan."
Motorola, Inc., is a company with a conviction that the value of profit sharing as a foundation for employee relations varies almost directly with the continuity of interest that can be sustained. Among the devices used creation of a bewhiskered Profit Sharing in cap and gown, who distributed profit sharing account books to employees. Profit sharing was plugged in recruiting advertisements. New people received a booklet, "Your Future Security," and a series of 10 P S letters went to newcomers' homes from the president and the director of human relations. Annually there was a contest to guess the size of the company's contribution. Annually also there was an election of P S employee representatives.
At the Minneapolis Star and Tribune, all departments were divided into two teams for a "Wipe out Waste" WOW campaign. The employee offering the greatest number of acceptable suggestions, and the captain of the team with the best record received an all expense, extra week of vacation at a Minnesota resort.
The Title Insurance and Trust Co., Los Angeles, conducted a "Blooper" contest among its people. The prize was ten shares of T. I. & T. stock for the best description in 50 words of any act that cost the bank either good will or money. Bloopers were dramatized on posters in the bank. One year's contest produced a courtesy slogan of the month.
In Brooklyn, American Safety Razor Co. used a graphic highway map to depict quality in manufacture. On the map the safe driving area indicated high quality merchandise. The soft shoulders of the highway signified danger areas. The ditches were for scrapped products.
Various programs, large and small in magnitude, have been applied to the effects of layoff on productivity. Pioneer Procter & Gamble more than 30 years ago inaugurated a guaranteed wage plan, and pamphleted it in 1940 and 1945. Oneida, Ltd., Canada, when faced with production slumps due to fear of layoff, gave loudspeaker broadcasts on the backlog of new orders and quotes from retailers on reactions to new lines of merchandise. Pitney Bowes, when it cut back 3 per cent of total work force, ran advertisements locally to announce the availability of employees for work elsewhere.
Pullman Standard ran a series of "This Is Your Job" articles in the house magazine. Each explained one department's operations.