Motek Software

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The Challenge: This small, privately-held southern California firm customizes

industrial computers for use on warehouse forklifts and dominates its

market niche. The goal of Motek’s founder and CEO, Ann Price, is to

attract the very best IT workers and make them want to remain in a work

environment that allows them to have a life outside of work.

Strategic Actions: Price expects her twenty employees to keep 9 .. to 5

.. hours. She also buys lunches for them at the best restaurants, brings in

a hairdresser for employees once a week, and gives new employees one

month vacation per year. When employees postpone taking their vacation,

Price has been known to book it herself and go along with them to make

sure they take it. ‘‘We’re robbing ourselves of the best years of our lives,’’

she says. ‘‘I’m living proof that you can achieve the same goals and not give

that all up.’’

The Results: A turnover rate of less than 1 percent and a highly stable workforce,

which helps to avoid disruption of service to its clients.4

The Challenge: Even though this IT consulting and training company was

growing and succeeding, owner Eric Rabinowitz realized that a 113 percent

turnover rate was threatening the future of the business. On further

inspection of company data, he found that 20 percent of turnovers were

happening in the new hires’ first month on the job.

Strategic Actions: Rabinowitz began asking employees what he might do

differently and he got an ear-full. He had expected that offering full-time

work and good benefits would be enough, but his employees saw themselves

as temp workers with no career path, and were always looking for

their next job. Because most of them worked off-site, they felt like they

were working for the client. They also mentioned that they wanted more

training and a clearly defined career path.

Rabinowitz realized that most employees would not stay with the

company more than two years, but resolved to give them whatever training

that would cause them to stay at least that long. He surveyed employees to

find out what kind of training they wanted, then set upWeb-based training

programs that met their needs. He also started a communication program

to make workers feel less isolated at remote locations—he created a newsletter

and hired an employee advocate to visit work sites once a week and

create a stronger bond with the company. The company also improved its

benefits plan to include dental and life insurance, and started incentive and

employee recognition plans.