Case Studies

Take a look at some past and current job quality projects to learn more about how
WORC has advanced the goals of
employers
to create an economy where every worker has a job worth having

Building Engagement in Manufacturing

The Situation

A family-owned aerospace manufacturer was ready for a new strategic direction

A family-owned manufacturer in the aerospace industry was ready to take the organization to the next level by bringing in a Chief Operating Officer who would set a new strategic direction and build the infrastructure for sustainable growth.

The COO’s outsider perspective helped him quickly identify opportunity areas and he engaged his staff to build a comprehensive strategy. But driving change after the owners, who were beloved by employees, had stepped aside was a challenge.

Our Approach

Using robust evidence documented in our Job Quality Maps, we empowered the COO to boost employee engagement

Improving frontline performance to boost on-time deliveries and reduce “turn-backs” (process failures where parts could not be made correctly the first time) was a key aspect of the new strategy. Bringing employees who were skeptical of change on board was the lynch pin to success. Somehow, the COO had to generate higher levels of employee engagement at work.

The company had a long relationship with a local non-profit workforce development organization that knew the company and employees well and had their trust. WORC collaborated with the company and their non-profit partner to leverage that trust with exploratory research that surfaced barriers to employee engagement.

WORC activated the scientific evidence base using our Job Quality Maps (JQM), developed in partnership with the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, and identified frontline job characteristics that could be improved to build employee engagement at work. The robust body of evidence on engagement at work pointed to strong relationships between how supported employees feel and how engaged they are likely to be.

The COO’s next step for implementing the new strategy was to identify the specific actions and measurables needed to bring the new strategy to life. Flowing them down to the frontline presented a perfect opportunity to engage frontline workers in a way that would convey and deliver real support from the organization and supervisors.

The Outcome

Tracking measures are in place to assess production quality improvements

WORC is collaborating with the COO to build support into the flow down process and collect data that will help the organization measure change quarterly. In addition to measuring engagement at work and perceived support, production quality metrics will be tracked in tandem to provide a view into end-stage outcomes from the effort.


Creating Commitment in Home Services

The Situation

After a recent merger, employees started leaving the company

A fast-growing solar installation company had recently merged with another firm and turnover among crew members who “go up on roofs” was accelerating and costing money and opportunities. During exit interviews, departing employees told the Human Resource manager that their new jobs were paying $0.25 more per hour – but the HR manager knew there had to be more to it.

Our Approach

Using our Job Quality Maps, we targeted the drivers of employee commitment

The company had an existing relationship with a local non-profit workforce development organization that supported them by providing a pipeline of well-trained job candidates. WORC partnered with them both to find out what was really going on and discovered that employees hadn’t yet integrated following the recent merger – they simply didn’t feel committed to the new organization.

WORC activated the scientific evidence base using our Job Quality Outcome Maps (JQOM), developed in partnership with the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, and identified frontline job characteristics that could be improved to build employee commitment. The robust body of evidence on employee commitment pointed to strong relationships between how supported employees feel, how formalized HR practices are, and how committed they are likely to be.

The Outcome

Together, we made an evidence-informed "onboarding check-in survey" to identify opportunities for expanding loyalty

The organization had been hard at work building HR infrastructure and the HR manager had recently formalized onboarding practices for new crew members. WORC collaborated with the company and their non-profit partner to create an “onboarding check-in survey” designed to convey concern for new hires’ experiences and provide a way for them to offer feedback that will enable the company to support them effectively.

The survey will be administered one week after new hires’ start dates and again after 30 days on the job. WORC is analyzing the data to help the company find opportunities to improve the onboarding process and create feedback loops to provide new hires with the support that can help them integrate into the organization and grow their levels of commitment.


Managing Turnover in Hospitality

The Situation

A premier health club was beginning to struggle with turnover

Recognized as the premier health club in a large metropolitan area, this organization was beginning to struggle with turnover among frontline workers in particular jobs. Members, who expected exemplary service at the club, had been starting to complain. The club needed to respond in a solid way.

After the minimum wage in their city had increased in the past year, frontline wages at the club had not kept pace with competitors and their jobs had slowly become less attractive. But wages were not the whole story.

Our Approach

From rich interview data analysis, we made an impactful plan

After raising wages in a couple of key areas, turnover persisted. So, the Human Resource team set out to find out what was really going on by conducting interviews with team members and frontline managers in those jobs. They had good data but needed help understanding their findings and formulating a plan.

We convened the team who had conducted the interviews and facilitated a “sensemaking session” where each person reported out what they had learned about challenges and opportunities within each functional area and frontline job. Using large-scale displays, we created a rich visual data environment that allowed themes to emerge across roles, illuminating potential directions for change.

Using these insights, we helped the team craft a narrative around the themes that they used to present the findings to the club’s owner, along with recommendations for changes that would have maximum impact.

The Outcome

Wage bumps, job ladders, and listening exercises boosted morale

The club’s owner was convinced and wages were boosted above market levels for key frontline positions to make these jobs highly attractive. Yet wages were only one part of a wider-scope solution. Job ladders were created in some roles, highlighting paths to advancement for team members and enabling frontline managers to promote high performers immediately. Other changes resulted from the listening exercise, including the lifting of out-of-date grooming standards that raised morale.


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