Just rewards Featured

10:00am EDT January 24, 2005
Everyone is offering rewards these days -- airlines give frequent flyers free tickets, online stores pay for shipping, and even credit cards give members cash back.

But what if people were rewarded for doing things they do every day, such as going to work? That's the idea behind JACO Manufacturing's Rewards Based Incentive (RBI) program.

JACO, a plastic injection molding manufacturer, was experiencing high employee turnover and high absenteeism, forcing it to rely on expensive temporary labor to fill in the gaps. In addition, there were a number of workers' comp injuries, and workplace safety was becoming an issue.

"We've always been an organization that has really believed in employee involvement," says JACO president and CEO Stephen Campbell.

JACO implemented the RBI program in 2000 that targets attendance, safety, service, performance and recruitment. Employees who don't miss any shifts, who recognize and improve unsafe work conditions and who perform above-and-beyond the call of duty are nominated quarterly to receive incentives.

Incentives include monetary bonuses, collectible items and entry into a quarterly raffle for items such as television sets. By the fourth consecutive quarter of perfect attendance, an employee can earn $250.

"You're always looking at the things you do poorly, and, as a result, it's easy to get caught up and look at what you're doing wrong all the time, where this gives us an opportunity to really focus on what we're doing right and recognize those people that are doing the things that are right," says Campbell.

In 2003, a Performance Shared Bonus Pool was added. The pool is determined through a formula based on the company's return on assets. At the end of the year, each employee's attendance points and hours worked are tallied, determining their percentage of eligibility. Hourly employees with 100 percent eligibility received a $746 bonus at the end of 2003.

With the programs, absenteeism has dropped by 35 percent and turnover was reduced by 30 percent. JACO eliminated reliance on a temporary work force, saving more than $186,000, and cut employment advertising costs more than 60 percent.

And in 2003, JACO had 130 employees in a manufacturing setting, and not one had a recordable injury or lost time due to a work injury.

And the greatest reward for Campbell?

"This is the best quote, one that really sums it up for me," he says. "An employee cornered me one day after an event and said, 'You know, it's nice to know we do more than just make plastic parts here.'"

How to reach: JACO Manufacturing Co., (440) 234-4000 or www.jacomfg.com