A powerful, well-motivated and happy staff have made Clayton’s Kitchens an award-winner.
||Paul Bradbury, Managing Director
||Clayton’s Kitchens Australia
||Design, manufacture and delivery of kitchens and vanity units
||Laverton North, Victoria
||+61 3 9931 0088
Key Learning Points
Selecting and developing great people is important. Well-motivated self-starters need relatively little external motivation.
Provide staff with the best equipment available in your industry. The investment sends a message to your staff that they deserve the best because they are the best.
Provide your people with a quality work environment. Emphasising cleanliness and safety as much as productivity tells people that they are valued as much as the bottom line.
Create a fun, social atmosphere so that people enjoy being at work with one another.
Emphasise quality as much as, if not more than, quantity in setting your production standards. It pays your people the compliment that they know quality when they see it.
Monitor people’s performance and give them regular feedback. Let them set their own new targets - and then outperform their own expectations. Give them credit for being the best judges of what they can achieve.
The Clayton’s Kitchens Story
It was very significant that a Clayton’s Kitchens staff member entered her employer in the 2000 City of Wyndham Business Awards. Clayton’s won both “The Business of the Year” and “Manufacture - Large” awards. The judges noted the kitchen design and manufacturing wholesaler’s innovative use of technology to achieve efficiency, the quality of both Clayton’s product and workplace, and the company’s attention to detail.
Managing director Paul Bradbury acknowledges these factors, but emphasises the contribution of his staff first. He says: “I think [that] once you get a good group of people, they make it happen.”
Clayton’s management have learnt how to motivate staff in the manufacturing envrionment. Getting performance begins before staff are even hired: the company Web site’s employment page seeks “submissions from high performing, ambitious and passionate people”. Recruiting people who are already internally motivated is the foundation of a good workforce.
Paul says: “We’re so lucky like that. I think we’ve got the best equipment in the industry. And I think anyone who has experienced the industry appreciates that fact. For a cabinet-making company as busy as we are at the moment, it’s a fairly clean environment with our extraction units around the place taking the dust and fumes away.”
Clayton’s managers also work hard at creating a social atmosphere. In an industry in which people often eat lunch in their cars, or at their desks, or even by their machines, Clayton’s provides a lunchroom with barbecue facilities and drink-dispensing machines.
Paul says: “Our social club is pretty well supported with the functions we have there. I think it’s just the fact that people enjoy working here, because we try and make it as fun as possible. We don’t load the pressure on because we expect the quality.”
Giving feedback on performance is the final element of management’s motivational strategy. Staff are given statistics every week to show them how well they are doing. Paul says: “I think that helps in their striving to go well. Those guys on the bench tops out there are continually breaking records and they want to keep going at it, to produce more and more product. It’s just amazing how many tops we put through there each day.”