There are several key problems that result in job dissatisfaction and high turn over rate at the Treadway Tire Company ‘s Lima Plant. The main issues that Ms. Wall must take into consideration before developing a recommendation include, but are not limited to morale, job responsibilities, long shifts, promotions within versus hiring young college grads, pressure to achieve results, and repercussions and threats due to poor results.
Identifying the Issues
According to an employee satisfaction survey conducted in August 2007 and exit interviews of departing foremen revealed solid discontent in the plant and highlighted concerns about the line-foreman position (Skinner & Beckham, 2008). Bellingham, a plant manager, attributed the morale problem of the foremen primarily to lack of communication. He commented, “Foremen feel isolated from the rest of the plant. They are the lowest players on the totem pole, and they fell their contributions are undervalued and their concerns ignored” (Skinner & Beckham, 2008 p. 4).
A union represents hourly workers and salaried employees. Discipline is one of many tasks the foremen must manage on a daily basis, but they do not have any real authority because of their perception of unions. In their minds, unions represent an adversarial relationship working against the discipline process and thus unraveling any consequences they place on employees. When an hourly employee felt the company had violated the union contract or disciplinary action was not justified, a union steward was called in and a grievance process was initiated. The foremen were typically not involved in the grievance committee’s ruling, and disciplinary decisions such as demotion and termination were out of their control (Skinner & Beckham, 2008).
A recent change of operating hours demands the plant to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with four rotating shifts. Most employees at Lima worked a 12-hour shift.
According to Wall, “Our most successful general supervisors and area managers have risen from the foremen ranks. However, currently there do not seem to be enough people in the foremen position with the potential to move up to the next level of management (Skinner & Beckham, 2008, p. 3). As of December 2006, foremen came from three sources, the majority (80%) were internal promotions of Lima’s unionized workers; a second group (16%) were young graduates from the local colleges; and a select few (4%) were experienced foremen transfers from other plants.
The selection process consisted of candidates successfully passing the First Line Test (FLT), of which 45% of applicants passed, a three-hour written portion and being interviewed by a screening committee for two hours. These positions offer no formal training.
According to plant manager Bellingham, “Meeting performance goals is the most important duty of a line foreman” (Skinner & Beckham, 2008, p. 3). Everyday a breakout report by line area of the previous day’s actual performance versus…