Lincoln Electric, a welding manufacturing company based in Ohio, has not laid off any employee for economic reasons since World War II, even in recession periods. How did they do it?
Through a specific incentive management system, they foster both high competition and strong cooperation inside the company. Bonuses almost always exceed 60% of an employee’s basic earning, knowing that the average worker compensation is 68.000$ a year. Have they found the grail? Maybe not, yet through unusual managerial practices, they found a way to protect workers as well as profits.
Journalist Frank Koller has written a book about Lincoln Electric (“Spark”, in August 2011). F. Koller offers an interesting glimpse into this remarkable yet, in many ways, ordinary organization, which survives, even thrives, in a sunset industry where overseas outsourcing is the norm. Readers follow the company through the days of Carnegie and Rockefeller, recessions in the 1950s, and the present crisis, and witness how it weathers challenges. Instructive and heartening, this book offers a proven model for companies that not only want healthy bottom lines but also satisfied, dedicated employees.