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Be Fair and Use the Triage Principle to Make Ideas More Effective
By Michael Stahl   Printer Friendly Version

Keeping all members of the team happy and productive involves fair and equitable treatment for everyone in the company. Giving employees appreciation and a feeling of importance will take your company to the next level of success. An example from two top companies, Aptar Group Inc. and Chick-fil-A, shows that taking care of your workers in every area of the team reaps big rewards. Aptar Group Inc. is a manufacturer of aerosol valves and pumps in Crystal Lake, Ill. The company has only a 10 percent turnover rate which is half the local average. Chick-fil-A is an Atlanta based fast food chain with a turnover rate of 40 percent in an industry where rates of more than 300 percent are the norm. The companies believe in some basic philosophies that they never stray from.

Ethical employment practices - Chick-fil-A has never laid anyone off, thanks to a strategy of gradual growth. If business for Aptar slows, the company prefers to ask people to voluntarily take time off rather than cut jobs. Generally, enough people volunteer to tide the company over until business picks up again.

Good perks and appreciative recognition - Both companies provide awards to employees for good work. For example, Chick-fil-A gives cars to store operators who increase sales by 20 percent in a year. In 1995, it gave away 18 cars. Store employees who are students can get $1,000 scholarships from the company, just by asking.

Communication and employee "team" involvement - Each quarter, the president of each Aptar division holds a meeting for all division employees. The presidents discuss finances and assess how much progress has been made toward business goals. They present customer feedback and ask for employee feedback.

Industry competitive pay - Aptar conducts an annual survey of other companies to be sure its compensation package is near the top of industry norms.

Advancement - In addition to offering above-average compensation, Aptar offers people opportunities to advance within the company. There is always something to look forward to achieving.

As a business owner/manager it is not always possible to give away expensive rewards such as cars, for example, but the basic principles of recognition, praise, ethical treatment and attractive incentives will work for your business too.

If you have more ideas at one time from your team than you can realistically implement immediately then you can use the Triage Principle. This technique is typically used in hospital emergency rooms to diagnose the condition for patients by putting them in prioritized categories so a limited staff can be most effectively utilized.

You can do this too by making quick judgments on what tasks or ideas are most and least important to accomplish. The first category involves Things That Need No Thought. You know these ideas will work and are easily accomplished.

For Example: Move the sign with your policies closer to the door so customers can get a clearer view of your corporate philosophy as they enter and leave.

The second category of tasks is Good Suggestions That Can Be Used. These things will work but also will take more time and effort to accomplish.

For Example: Create a monthly hard-copy newsletter for your customers to keep up with current news and views.

The third category involves things that are Good Suggestions That Cannot Be Presently Used. These ideas will work but cannot be presently put to use.

For Example: Reroute your supplies driver to access a new, more efficient highway that is not yet completed.

When using triage, category one tasks and ideas get immediately implemented; category two ideas have the best chosen from them and category three things are put on the back burner. When you are fair AND organized, your company will reap tremendous rewards.

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