Bonus of bonuses

Glass companies rely on incentive programs to motivate employees

Read about retirement plans and rising health care costs in the next two parts of the
e-glass HR series


Whether it's annual bonuses or performance-based pay raises, glass company executives say financial incentives improve employee attendance, increase motivation and advance overall job performance.

“Sharing the profits with the people that made it possible is important and is motivating,” says Jeff Bear, president of JMD Architectural Products Inc. in Tipp City, Ohio.

JMD offers annual bonuses to supervisors and estimators based on company profits. The company has given bonuses for all but one year in the last 20, Bear says. “[Incentives] are based on how the company does,” he says. “If it’s a bad year, there are no bonuses.”

Bill Evans, president of Evans Glass Co. in Nashville says he also offers bonuses based on the company’s success. “Last year, bonuses ran from about $6,000 to $1,000 a person,” he says. “This year they’re going up from that.”

Because bonuses ride on the company’s overall success, peer motivation becomes common as employees police one another to maximize productivity, Evans says. “If they have someone slacking off, they realize that money is on the line,” he says.

In addition, Evans says employees pay raises also can act as incentives.

“I don’t directly give pay raises predicated just on performance,” Evans says. “I’m more likely to give them based on attitude, when attitude is backed by sufficient work.”

Craftsman Fabricated Glass in Houston rewards employees through wage increases that are based on individual performance, says Alan Grater, plant manager.

Craftsman performs annual reviews for all employees, salaried and hourly, to carefully assess all aspects of employee performance, including safety record, equipment operation capabilities and attendance, Grater says. Pay raises are issued individually based on the review process, he says.

“The real objective is to make sure we are taking care of our top performers,” Grater says. “We aren’t giving increases just to performance efficient employees. … We are communicating the fact that you have to be valuable to yourself and your company in many ways.”