Motivation at Morning Star: an interview with the company’s top manager
The main type of motivation that is understood and used in Russia is financial, or simply a salary. In American companies without bosses this system is also used, but much less often and not as the main one. Therefore tour participants ask a lot of questions about motivation and money.
How do you motivate employees if you don’t have a boss? There is no way.
The bottom line in a system of government without bosses is free will. Emmanuel Kant said that we all have free will. And each of us decides for himself whether or not to go to work in the morning. And how hard to work, what priorities to set in life, with whom to communicate. To every minute of every day we apply this benefit of free will. If you believe that people have that will, they don’t need to be motivated. They will do it themselves because it is their choice.
To give you an example, I want to show an excerpt from a #maliktrip meeting with a top Morning Star executive.
A large number of people only work here during the season – 3.5 months. What motivates them each year to leave the job they found for another time of year and come back to the company?
Senior Manager: People just love working here. We once tallied up statistics and found out that 100% of the people came back to us for the new season. That is, they worked off their contract the first year and came back again after 9 months to work the next 3.5 months. Just because they like it here.
Maybe it’s the salary? Is it higher than the market here? Or maybe there are increased bonuses?
Top manager of the company: Recent studies show that most people agree to earn less if they have comfortable working conditions, freedom in decision making and warm relationships within the team.
Our salary is in line with the market, but higher than our competitors. Because we take into account the fact that every person here is already a manager. This requires a lot of additional skills: the ability to plan and coordinate work, apply different methods, process information, and even manage budgets and recruit new people to the team. That’s why in addition to the basic salary we provide a bonus.
There are also bonuses for innovation. A couple of years ago, one of the mechanics came up with an idea that improved the process of working with chemicals. I will not go into the technological details. He created a design sketch, then designed the mechanism, shared it with all the colleagues who might be affected by the implementation of his design. When all these people approved the project, the mechanic and his colleague in finance agreed on the cost and started the work. The company saved several million dollars from using the mechanism. And the mechanic got bonuses. Such an opportunity can be used by any employee.
Compensation for the implementation of such projects is also decided by the employees themselves. Each factory has a committee that includes representatives from all subdivisions of the factory. They are not supervisors, just representatives. Once a year, towards the end of the period, they meet and decide issues. For example, if someone thinks their salary is lower than the total cost of living where they live, they bring documentation and show that they need a raise. The committee decides together with that person whether the salary needs to be raised.
And how do you motivate an employee to cope with difficulties, raise your spirits?
Top manager of the company: If there is a need to discuss difficulties or get additional education, we have mentoring.
But a system without bosses puts a big burden of responsibility on every person in the company. With great freedom comes great responsibility. And we expect that if any conflict or problem arises, the person has to deal with it on their own.
For example, if I have a misunderstanding with a certain person, it’s my responsibility to go up to him, talk to him and solve the problem personally. I don’t have to complain to my boss because I don’t have a boss.) If my choice is that I want to avoid resolving conflict, that’s my decision too. In our company, everyone has to act like an adult.