1 Associates have the freedom to encourage help and allow other associates to

1 associates have the freedom to encourage help and

This preview shows page 48 - 49 out of 520 pages.

1. Associates have the freedom to encourage, help, and allow other associates to grow in knowledge, skill and scope of responsibility. 2. Associates should demonstrate fairness to one another and everyone with whom they come into contact. 3. Associates choose their own commitments and they should keep them. 4. A waterline situation involves consultation with other associates before undertaking actions that could influence the reputation or profitability of the company and otherwise ‘sink the ship’. Gore ignores the conventional wisdom when it comes to production. Although the company manufactures a vast range of products ranging from medical devices to guitar strings, it limits the size of the employee base at a plant to approximately 250 workers – small for a company comprising 9 000 employees. The underlying philosophy is that the cost savings from large plants cancels out the loss of efficiency and productivity that is a consequence when employees do not know one another well. Committees at Gore determine performance, following a comprehensive review process. Every year, each team ranks every member relative to all of the others by asking them who has made the biggest impact on the organisation. They leave the question deliberately undefined, to allow people to interpret it as they wish. Special committees sort through the rankings and use it as the basis for decisions on compensation. The process works because associates perceive it as being fair. All associates are part owners of the company through a stock plan; therefore, Gore associates expect much more from one another in terms of innovation and creativity, high ethics and integrity, and making commitments and delivering on them. Gore is more informal than most workplaces. Relationships between associates are open and informal, and everyone  is treated respectfully and fairly. This type of environment naturally promotes social interaction and many associates have made lifelong friends with those they met working at Gore. Because the organisation views its associates as their most valued asset, they try to provide tools and resources to allow flexibility in balancing work/life needs. This includes internal training, continuous learning, and external education, resource and referral programmes for childcare, adoption assistance, domestic-partner benefits, and flexible work hours. While all of these processes sound very complex, the feeling at Gore is that it contributes to a freer, more innovative and flexible workforce. Bill Gore once commented that the aim of the organisation is to make money and to have fun doing so, and the results seem to bear this out. Although Gore is private, it has been growing revenues consistently for the last decade.
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