“Positive reinforcement isn’t money. Don’t think the only element you have as a manager is to give someone a bonus, or a spiff, or a raise. Don’t get me wrong, money is important, but it is not the only touch you have, nor is it the most powerful.
“See that production line over there,” I asked, pointing toward three lone workers alongside a bank of automated machine presses. Travis looked. He was familiar with that work area.
“Did you ever wonder why those three workstations still exist?” Travis knew that seven other stations in the line had been replaced with automated presses.
“Yeah, sometimes, it’s like why do we still have people doing that?”
“Initially, that’s what we thought, but when we benchmarked the automated production with the manual production, we found one worker not only kept up, but exceeded the output of the automated machine. We started asking questions. How could this be?
“Turns out the workstation on the end, Rochelle’s station, is right by her supervisor’s office. Every time the supervisor comes out, he stops, looks at Rochelle’s production and smiles at her. It’s the only station he stops at. He never says a word to Rochelle, yet she has the highest production rate.
“Do you think she has the highest production rate because she thinks she is going to get a bonus? Or because she might be replaced with a robot. I don’t think so.”