The Fruits of Labor

Often noted as the most important factor in job satisfaction is the level of praise and appreciation an employee is shown.


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The secret of joy in work is contained in one word—excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.
— Pearl S. Buck

It’s nice when a hard day’s work brings with it some reward. For most of us at least, money can be a strong motivator. In many instances we may be able to find our way into work situations where hard work literally pays off—the more we do and the better we do it, the more money we earn. For many people, this situation is sufficient, and it’s hard to argue its fairness. But there’s more to life than only money.

Happiness and job satisfaction can be influenced by several other factors. Enjoying time spent with fellow employees, including the supervisor, goes a long way in creating a pleasant work environment. Having control of one’s work, from the responsibility of structuring the work day to the option of learning and taking on a variety of tasks, can make an employee feel more empowered. The ability to maintain a healthy work/life balance is important for emotional well-being.

Interestingly, among these other considerations, though, what is often noted as the most important factor in job satisfaction is the level of praise and appreciation an employee is shown. Regardless of what the job may be, people want to know they are appreciated for the work they do and that others recognize the value they provide to the organization and to the team of which they are a part.

The Individual

Last year, Production Machining kicked off an annual program to give shops in the precision machined parts industry the opportunity to recognize employees in a certain demographic. Shops and suppliers alike are encouraged to nominate colleagues as Emerging Leaders, whether from within their own companies or from other interactions such as customer relationships or professional associations. We are looking for individuals under the age of 40 who are making a difference in the industry, within their company and/or throughout the manufacturing community.

In the first year of the Emerging Leaders program, PM recognized 19 people (see the story at short.productionmachining.com/18emerging), from various levels of their companies, including owners and management personnel, machinists and programmers, product managers, engineers and quality leaders. These individuals have great stories behind them of how they’ve worked hard to advance while strengthening the teams around them.

Nominations are now open for the 2019 awards. If you know of a colleague who fits the mold, going above and beyond his or her job description to improve the work environment or the precision machined parts industry as a whole, complete the nomination form at short.productionmachining.com/nominate by May 1.

The Team

Not all recognition needs to, nor should be bestowed upon individuals. Often an entire department, or even company deserves to be called out for its achievements.

Since 2011, Modern Machine Shop has been running its Top Shops program—a comprehensive benchmarking program for machine shops of all types and sizes. Using data from surveys completed by hundreds of machining businesses, Top Shops identifies optimal shopfloor practices and operational and business metrics that define world-class competitiveness in discrete parts manufacturing. The data is shared among those who complete the survey, allowing them to see how they compare against the country’s leading machining businesses and make sound decisions to emulate those identified as top-performing operations. While the deadline for this year’s survey has already passed, Gardner Intelligence will continue to share valuable information and findings gathered from it at upcoming events, including the Top Shops Conference.

Part of the Top Shops program includes an annual conference (this year’s is September 9-11 in Cincinnati, Ohio). At the conference, four shops will be recognized in the Honors Program for outstanding performance in one of each of the benchmarking survey’s main categories: machining technology, shopfloor practices, business strategies and human resources.

The Top Shops Conference will also feature presentations covering real-world job shop applications involving machining technology, tooling and workholding, additive manufacturing, automation, and workforce development. To register for the event, visit topshopsevent.com. If you’re interested in presenting, submit a 200- to 300-word abstract at the website by May 17.