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Employee Retention of Ideal Industries -
April 12th, 2011
Ideal Industries is an American company that produces connectors, hand tools, testers, and meters for the electrical and telecommunications industries.
Ideal was founded in 1916 by J. Walter Becker as the Ideal Commutator Dresser Company in Chicago, Illinois, manufacturing commutator dresser stones. In 1924, Becker relocated the company to its current location in Sycamore, Illinois.
In 2010, Ideal acquired Western Forge and Pratt-Read. On August 25, 2010, Ideal acquired SK Hand Tools.
The evidence of a direct correlation between employee retention and increased profitability continues to mount at the exact same time employee turnover statistics have reached their highest level ever.
These escalating turnover rates are being blamed on everything from demographics to the labor/skills shortage to the work ethic of our younger generations, and yet there are examples in every industry--retail included--of companies that are wildly successful at keeping their best people on board. The annual Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For included The Container Store, Starbucks, Nordstroms, and the Men's Wearhouse.
Without exception, one of the best practices many of these exemplary firms have in common is a great employee orientation program, and new research data underscores just how sound this practice is.
A study at Corning Glass found new employees who went through a positive orientation were 69% more likely to be with the company three years later than those who did not. A similar study at Texas Instruments concluded that employees who were carefully oriented to the company, and their jobs, reached full productivity two months sooner than those who weren't.
Today's best orientation programs recognize the fact that new employees will never be more enthusiastic, hopeful and energetic than during their first few days and weeks on the job. The content of their orientation will either spark a fire of enthusiasm or fan the flames of doubt about the commitment the new worker has made.
Today's worst orientations are spent filling out forms, memorizing rules and regulations, reading dry policy manuals and are in solitary, computer-based training sessions. This is the kind of program that can turn a new recruit into a cynical slacker or even worse: someone not bad enough to fire, but not good enough to add value either.
An important topic to discuss in any HR training program or HR studies course is the idea of employee retention. During a down economy, retention tends to be higher across all industries because people need jobs, and fewer opportunities exist out there. However, when the economy recovers, people will "jump ship" if they find other companies treat good workers better than their current employer. If a company can build a strong and loyal base of employees, it will have an advantage over other companies that cannot create that same loyalty.
We believe moving up the "relationship chain" is critical for organizations. A long-lasting relationship that converts to strong retention is the desired result for companies that want to sustain themselves through good times and bad.
One might define the employee relationship chain in three parts:
--First Stage: The Start of an Opportunity
--Second Stage: Building a Partnership
--Third Stage: A Strong Relationship
These stages have been studied and utilized extensively in the world of marketing and branding, and are common lessons in HR studies or HR training. Let's discuss each stage in more detail.
First Stage: The Start of an Opportunity
Some people say that initial act of hiring an employee can be considered "entering a relationship". We do not agree: the initial contract is just that - a contract - not a relationship. It is an opportunity to create a relationship between the employee/company and the employee. The employee is looking to be provided with good work in a stable environment. Sometimes there are still feeling of uncertainty (for the employer, employee, or both) - employee orientation can help to assuage this. At this point both employee and company are focused on continuing the opportunity and beginning to build a relationship.
We can look at the vocabulary of the employee as an indicator of which stage of the relationship chain we are in. In this first stage the employee is simply saying, "give me assignments; how will you rate me?"
Second Stage: Building a Partnership
In this stage, the employee has experienced consistency and decided there is a fit. This stage is achieved only if you have engagement where the company delivers what is promised especially in the way of meaningful work, compensation, and measurement. As an HR professional, it is important to deliver these things, which you can learn how to do in various HR studies or HR training programs. You have the employee's share of mind where his or her skepticism turns to confidence. At that time (s)he starts becoming engaged in areas beyond the scope of the specific work assignments. Maybe this means joining task teams or participating in employee forums and events. The focus at this stage is on the outcome, with less emphasis on adherence (though remember, confidence can be lost faster than gained).
The vocabulary that indicates this stage moves from "give me assignments" to "let's figure out how to achieve this", and from "how do you rate me" to "how can I grow and improve".
Third Stage: A Strong Relationship
This last stage, the highest stage, is the sought-after stage in the employee relationship chain. The employee trusts the company and the company's leaders, and sees them as advisors. The employee is fully invested in the company and the employee becomes an ambassador for the brand. This is beneficial for both the employee and the company. Employee and company share the same goals and values. At this stage of the relationship employee and company work together to co-create the best opportunities and build a great business. Now the employee's vocabulary reflects a long term commitment to his or her position. The employee wants to work on building a plan for the future and growing the company is in his or her best interests as well as the company's.
In summary one might as the question, "why is it important for employees to progress in the relationship chain" Think of it as a geometric progression of retention. If the people in the first stage have an average retention variable of X, then in the second stage the average retention is 2X, and the top stage is 4X. You can get a more in depth look at these topics through various HR studies and HR training programs.
Oil, dirt, excessive heat or cold, vibration and moisture can all damage electrical insulation, threatening equipment operation and endangering employee safety. To combat this serious problem, IDEAL today introduced its new 61-797 Digital Insulation Meter, a rugged, industrial-grade tester designed for commissioning, routine troubleshooting and preventive maintenance.
"The periodic testing of insulation for signs of deterioration will spot breakdowns in electrical systems, generators, switchgear and motor windings before failure occurs," explained Dave Skowronski, Product Manager, IDEAL Test & Measurement Group. "More importantly, insulation testing can prevent the dangerous occurrence of short circuits or short to grounds."
Compact enough to be held in one hand yet durable enough to withstand the rigors of heavy commercial and industrial usage, the 61-797 is purpose-designed to identify whether insulation is performing at an effective, safe level. Using test leads, the technician can quickly determine the integrity of insulation in new and existing wiring by identifying capacitive, absorption and leakage current at multiple test voltages (50V, 100V, 250V, 500V and 1000V) and resistance up to 20G ohms. In addition, this versatile tester measures earth-bond resistance to assure verification of the continuity of the protective bonding, automatically senses and displays AC/DC voltage to 600V, plus calculates the Polarization Index (PI) and Dielectric Absorption Ratio (DAR).
Insulation testing is most effective when it is part of a scheduled maintenance program. Repetitive testing is made easier with the 61-797's straightforward Pass/Fail function and its internal storage of values. Another convenience feature that will be appreciated by maintenance staff are the included "twist-on" alligator clips that fit over the test leads. There is also a remote test button for two-handed operation.
The IDEAL brand is synonymous with safety. The 61-797 was designed with a 600 V Cat IV overvoltage rating and will safely disable itself if connected to a live circuit exceeding 30 volts. A live voltage hazard indictor is also prominently displayed on the front panel to warn the technician before use on an energized circuit. Once testing is complete, the 61-797 automatically discharges capacitive voltage from the equipment under test that may be a shock hazard.