I just returned from conducting Focus Groups for an 80/20 Company. An 80/20 Company is an organization doing 80% of everything very well and is constantly working to improve the other 20%. 80/20 Companies are very rare. If you want to know if your organization is an 80/20 Company, contact me and Iâll send you âThe 80/20 Company Checklistâ and you can see if you make the cut.
Management at this 80/20 Company got high marks from every group of Employees until I visited The Companyâs Orphans â the Employees who work on the Third Shift. These Employees felt detached from the Company because Management had not been visiting/communicating with them on a regular basis. Especially in this period of uncertainty, this perception of neglect should not be ignored since it can cause an attitude to develop that the Company doesnât care about the Employeesâ issues and that attitude can adversely impact the Company in a variety of ways. For example, when I was a union organizer, I would often begin organizing campaigns by approaching The Companyâs Orphans – the third shift Employees – before any other Employees, since this was usually the shift with the most discontent and provided the fertile ground necessary to start a union.
Of course, The Companyâs Orphans arenât just Employees who work the Third Shift. The Companyâs Orphans are any group of Employees that management has been ignoring – perhaps because of the hours they work, or the work they do, or where they work, or because management has been told that there is no reason to visit those Employees because âeverything is just fine.â But there is no good reason for not regularly visiting The Companyâs Orphans.
Based on the information collected from the Third Shift Focus Groups, my recommendation to the Company was to begin treating visits with The Companyâs Orphans like they treat visits to their best customers: just schedule them and do them. And because this is an 80/20 Company, management has already starting visiting the Third Shift and are making sure everybody who works for the Company feels like a member of the Family and not an Orphan.
The Bottom Line: In the WorkQuakeâ¢ of the Knowledge Eco
nomy, the performance and attitude of every Employee â including The Companyâs Orphans – is important to the success of the organization. To make an impression on the entire Workforce â Supervisors and Employees â and get an unfiltered view of the operation, at least once a quarter management should have an unannounced visit with The Companyâs Orphans and talk to them without Supervision being present.
Question: When was the last time The Companyâs Orphans got a visit? Isnât it about time for another visit?
Paul Glover, President
Go to www.trainingeverydayleaders.com for more information about how to be an 80/20 Company in the Time of the WorkQuakeâ¢.