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Some of the Problems and Symptoms:
* Foremen were pulled in conflicting directions by hourly staff, management and union. They did not get respect from any of the three constituencies.
* Foremen had too many responsibilities yet not enough authority to effectively deal with them. They needed to do lots of juggling with daily personnel, resource and administrative issues. They felt unsupported by upper management and felt that felt their locus of control was external (which in large part it was). They had little disciplinary power and had to go through the union and often had no explanation of the union’s actions with regard to deciding to discipline or not.
* Lack of training. Foremen were thrust into a sink or swim situation with little guidance and little preparation. Most did not have college degrees and without training or educational background many probably lacked the skills necessary to navigate the job. The system all but set them up for failure.
* Emotions and attitudes are contagious. The symptom, dissatisfaction, of the foremen spread to other employees exacerbating and exponentially growing problems that manifested.
* Long shifts (12 hours) contributed to absenteeism. This move saved immediate money for the company but cost more in the long term and contributed to making the foreman’s job harder in having to constantly scramble for substitute workers.
* Mentoring Program. The foremen definitely need more support, guidance and tools to work with. Also, the company indicated they were having budget problems that precluded incorporating a formal training program. First, off the company seemed to have a problem and a pattern of looking only at upfront costs and not being able to see the big picture. A formal training program, while an upfront expense, would probably more than pay for itself once up and running and gained a little maturity. As a second-best-option, a mentoring program could achieve some of the same...
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