Harvard Business Publishing: The Treadway Tire Company-Job Satisfaction and High turnover at the Lima Tire Plant

This is an interesting read on the foremen turnover with Treadway Tire Company’s Lima plant. The problems started at the beginning of the foremen placement. Foremen did not get a formal training to start the work or improve their skills. The informal training was also at the discretion of the general supervisor and area manager. This was a poor policy of the plant administration. Ashley Wall, the new human resources manager recognized this issue. She came forward a month-long rotational training program. This is a joke. Nobody can learn inside and out with one day with payroll and another day with human resources. Again when there was a shortage in budget, this program was taken out. I want point out that Nevada Department of Transportation (my employer) employed a rotational program for young engineers which last for 22 months.

The other issue was the conflicting interests of management, workers, and the union. The employment contract should be precise with the roles and responsibilities for each position including foremen. It looks that the foremen did not have much authority over the hourly employees while they were responsible to meet the target production.

The third issue was the career growth prospects. One General Supervisor admitted that though he recommended experienced foremen for promotion, Human resources focused on hiring outside college grads. I understand the human resources’ attempt to get more college grads into the company, but there should be balance between hiring outside grads and promoting qualified foremen. If people don’t see any growth potential, their moral and passion on work will be diminished.

Communication was another issue. Foremen felt they were isolated from the Lima plant family. It was a good gesture of Brandon Bellingham, the Lima plant manager, to introduce occasional social events. It was unfortunate that the general supervisors and area managers were not accustomed to such level of interaction. I see this as a plant wide problem or company wide problem that need immediate rescue.


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