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Frances Perkins, Secretary
Isador Lubin, Commissioner (on leave)
A* F. Hinrichs, A cting Commissioner

Im provem ent o f
Labor-Utilization Procedures

B ulletin N o. 807

For sale by the Superintendent o f Docum ents, U . S. Governm ent Printing O ffice, W ashington, D . C.

Letter o f Transmittal
U nited States Department of L abor,
Bureau of L abor Statistics ,
Washington February 8 1945.



T he Secretary of L abor:

I have the honor to transmit herewith a report on the principles which
may be used to increase production and productivity through improvements
in labor-utilization procedures. This study, written from the standpoint
of plant management, is made generally available at the present time because
of the immediate importance of the subject in connection with war produc­
tion. The report was prepared by W. Duane Evans of the Bureau’s Produc­
tivity and Technological Development Division.
A. F. H inrichs , A cting Commissioner.
H on . F rances P erkins ,
Secretary o f Labor.



Absenteeism of workers __________
Service for employees------------------------------------------------------------------------Labor tu rn over--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Full use of community labor resources------------------------------------------------Training and upgrading-------------------------------------------------------------------Wage structure -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Working hours and shift schedules---------------------------------------------------Supervision of w orkers---------------------------------------------------------------------Plant organization---------------------------------------------------------------------------Plant methods----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Working conditions and safety-----------------------------------------------------------Employee morale ----------------------------------------------------------------


Appendix ---------------------------------------


Table 1.— Average absence rates in selected industries, in specified
months, and first and third quartiles of distribu­
tion of wage earners by absence rates in November
1944 _____________________________________________


Table 2.— Monthly labor-turnover rates (per 100 employees) for
men and women in selected industries engaged in
war production,November1944________________


Table 3.— Women as percent of total wage earners, November 1943
and 1944, and extent o f late-shift work, November
1944, in selectedindustries_________________________


Table 4.—Industrial-injury frequency rates in selected manufactur­
ing industries, 1943 andfirst three quarters o f 1944_ 43
Table 5.— Earnings and hours in selected industries, November 1943
and 1944 _________________________________________




B ulletin N o. 807 o f the
U nited States B ureau o f L abor Statistics

Improvement o f Labor-Utilization Procedures
During the earlier stages of the war, emphasis was placed pri­
marily on the production of needed materials and weapons, ir­
respective of any considerations of cost. More recently, the need
for economy in the use of labor resources has gained increased
importance. It is therefore not surprising that the production
effort during the past year has been characterized by a growing
interest in all aspects of labor utilization. Now that industrial
mobilization is virtually completed, it is to be expected that im­
proved efficiency in labor use will be a major factor in permitting
increased production of needed munitions and essential civilian
An extensive library has been written on labor utilization. The
purposes of the present discussion are to point out briefly the
salient principles in this general field of inquiry, and to indicate
methods which may assist in an analysis of the effectiveness of
labor-utilization procedures within the individual plant. The text
is based not only on published studies dealing with various aspects
of labor utilization but also on the actual experiences of a large
number of plants during the war period.
Emphasis throughout is on principles to be followed rather than
on particular remedial methods, since the latter should be pat­
terned to fit individual circumstances. By way o f illustration, a
great many different methods and schemes have been successfully
used by different companies to combat voluntary absenteeism.
Since some of these methods are incompatible with others, there is
reason to believe that a particular administrative device, admi­
rably fitted to the situation at one plant, might fail completely
when installed at another. Accordingly, it would appear unde­
sirable and probably harmful to recommend that any single
scheme or group o f schemes be generally adopted.
Good labor utilization requires that satisfactory use be made of
all labor resources available to a ‘producing facility. Because of
the wide scope of this question, it necessarily includes a great
variety o f individual subjects.
Where scarcity of labor is a factor limiting production, all the
labor resources of the community in which a facility is situated
should be fully exploited. This may require an appraisal of hiring
practices and employment standards, and an investigation of the


extent to which women, handicapped workers, minority groups,
and part-time workers have been drawn into useful employment.
Full labor utilization also requires that all workers who are
employed shall contribute an adequate number of hours to produc­
tion. This in turn demands that the scheduled workweek be of
satisfactory length, that turnover and absenteeism be at a mini­
mum, and that wasted time or idle time be reduced as far as
Still another means of improving labor utilization is to direct
workers’ efforts in such a way as to achieve greater output. Job
simplification, adequate training procedures, and improvements
in manufacturing methods help to achieve this objective.
It is significant to note that although it is necessary to organize
a discussion of labor utilization under a series of headings (such
as absenteeism, employee training and upgrading, labor turn­
over, morale, plant methods, supervision, use of community labor
resources, working conditions, and others), these headings are
not mutually exclusive. For example, the effects of a single
unsatisfactory environmental condition may be reflected in turn­
over, absenteeism, worker morale, and labor-management rela­
tions. A survey of labor utilization is therefore a complex under­
taking and the interrelationship of all factors should be kept
clearly in mind. It is unlikely that any particular plant will be
below standard on all phases o f labor utilization, but at the same
time it is probable that in nearly every case there will be some
aspect in which progress is less satisfactory than in others.
Although many o f the problems discussed herein fall within
the field of collective bargaining, the present report is concerned
with the principles through which plant management should seek
solutions rather than with the specific means employed. However,
since collective-bargaining agreements cover the vast majority
of all workers engaged in war production, the proper functioning
of such arrangements is fundamental to good labor utilization.
The magnificent contribution to the war effort made by many
labor-management committees, with the active sponsorship of
labor unions, illustrates the potentialities which may be lost if
workers are not given an opportunity to participate in the solu­
tion of problems which nevertheless may deeply concern them. In
general, joint labor-management action on labor utilization, wher­
ever it is feasible, will enhance the chances o f successful results.
The recruitment o f new workers to staff expanded facilities or
to replace personnel lost to other industries or to the armed serv­
ices, the training of large numbers of inexperienced employees,
the control of absenteeism and turnover, the provision o f adequate
supervision—all these and many other problems have been thrust
before management in exaggerated form by the war. The resolu­
tion o f these difficulties has called for greater alertness and flex­
ibility from management, but the same methods of attack which
have always characterized good management have in most cases
proved effective. Even the most difficult problems of labor utiliza­
tion usually yield to an approach which recognizes the following
familiar but fundamental principles:
Means must be established to bring the problem to the atten­
tion of management.

2. A clear policy fo r dealing with the problem must be form u­
3. Responsibility fo r carrying out the policy, with coordinate
authority, must be specifically delegated.
4. A check on the effectiveness of the policy and the efficiency
o f those designated to carry it out must be provided.

Absenteeism of Workers
Absenteeism is potential working time lost because a worker
fails to report for work when scheduled to do so. The direct pro­
duction time thereby lost is important, but it is aggravated by
the inevitable disarrangement in working schedules which neces­
sarily ensues. Where work is handled in progressive steps, a
single worker’s absence may reduce the effectiveness of the labor
o f many others. Accordingly, good labor utilization demands that
absenteeism be held to a minimum.
Absenteeism may be voluntary or involuntary. Both voluntary
and involuntary absences are considered in computing an absen­
teeism rate. This policy is followed not only because o f the diffi­
culty of deciding in many cases whether an absence is voluntary
or involuntary, but also because both types of absence interfere
with production in the same way. Efforts to reduce absenteeism
should be directed at absences which are justified as well as those
which are not.
The actual causes of absenteeism cover a wide range. At one
extreme are involuntary absences caused by physical disability
of the worker through sickness or accident. A great many
absences are on the borderline between the involuntary and the
voluntary. Absences to visit ration boards, cash checks, pay bills,
shop for furniture and clothes, seek better housing, and obtain
medical, dental, or legal assistance are o f this type. Absences in
this category are generally under the control of the worker to
some extent, but they may be considered justified because of the
great personal inconvenience which would be required in order
to avoid them. At the other extreme, absences may occur for
some wholly frivolous reason.
In dealing with the reasons underlying absences, it is necessary
to distinguish carefully between the actual cause o f an absence
and the excuse which may be given for it by the worker. Unless
there is careful verification, a worker who has been absent under
circumstances of questionable justification may give as the reason
not the true cause, but rather an excuse which he knows from
experience will be readily accepted.

Figures showing the general absence rate o f a plant should be
regarded as necessary management statistics, not only for show­
ing whether at the moment absenteeism constitutes a serious
problem, but also for indicating the trends in absenteeism experi­
ence. If absence rates are not regularly available, arrangements
should be made to obtain them. In compiling such figures it is
probably desirable to follow the definitions and procedures estab­
lished by the Bureau o f Labor Statistics for collecting absence

data from war plants. Not only is it convenient to follow a set of
established definitions, but in addition this procedure will permit
comparison of the results with figures for a large number of other
plants. A copy of the form used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics
to collect absence data (B'.L.S. Form 1415) will be sent on request.
The best method of determining whether a facility is above or
below standard with respect to absenteeism is to compare its
absence level with the average fo r other similar establishments.
If the plant’s rate is below average, there is probably no problem
warranting further investigation. Monthly absence rates for
about 30 important war industries, based on reports covering
about 5,000 establishments and 5,000,000 wage earners, are avail­
able from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the period March
1943 to December 1944 (see Appendix, table 1).
In all war industries together, absenteeism rates recently have
averaged between 6 and 6V2 percent. Any company with a lower
rate accordingly has a record which is at least as good as that
of the average war plant. At the same time, there is in virtually
every industry a substantial number o f establishments which
report rates below 4 percent; the entire petroleum-refining indus­
try usually reports an average below this figure. At the other
extreme, the shipbuilding industry usually averages between 8
and 9 percent. The minimum long-term rate for any large estab­
lishment is probably in the neighborhood of 2 percent, since sick­
ness alone is likely to account for this proportion of absences.
Late-shift work, long hours, new and inexperienced workers,
and large proportions of women*tend to increase absence rates,
but such conditions in themselves do not explain an unsatisfactory
absenteeism record. Many firms, unfavorably situated with
respect to the above and other factors, nevertheless have been
able during the war period to keep their absence rates well below

One of the most important steps in a program designed to
reduce voluntary absences is the establishment o f a definite policy
with reference to unjustified absences. This should make clear
the attendance standards which management expects the workers
to meet, and the disciplinary steps which will be taken in the case
o f repeated unjustified absences. It is usually desirable to indicate
that violation o f attendance rules will be subject to disciplinary
action in the same fashion as violation of other company regu­
A policy on absenteeism must not only be in existence, it must
also be known to employees in order to be effective. Accordingly,
it should be established whether each employee is fully informed
regarding the company’s policy. It is hardly necessary to add that
it is important that the company’s policy be fair and equitable and
accepted as such by the employees themselves. I f employees do
not understand or do not approve of the company’s policy, dis­
ciplinary action instituted under it is likely to cause resentment.
To avoid this, many companies have found it desirable to discuss
their policy on disciplinary treatment of absentees with employee

representatives, either through their unions directly or through
a labor-management committee.
To carry management policy into effect, it is necessary that
some notice be taken of each absence. Therefore, workers should
be required to account for the periods when they fail to report
for scheduled work. Frequently, a written statement giving the
reason or excuse for the absence is demanded. This may be
supplemented by an interview. As far as possible, the interview
should be conducted by an individual who is interested in the
work of the employee. The worker’s foreman or assistant fore­
man may meet this description, but in a number o f cases commit­
tees of fellow workers have been used with success. The control
will be ineffective if the requirement to account for an absence
becomes merely a routine obligation.
The record of an absence and explanation for it furnish the
material for checking on habitual absenteeism. Many companies
keep individual files on each worker. Each new entry o f an
absence is accompanied by a routine check on the worker’s past
record, and repeated absences become apparent quite readily.
A regular program, to locate and discourage repeated absences
should be based on these or similar records.
The reasons assigned by workers for their absences, even when
not verified, may furnish valuable information on the causes
underlying involuntary or semi-involuntary absences. This
material cannot be fully utilized, however, unless it is periodically
reviewed, assembled, and brought to the attention of management
at a sufficiently high level to insure that any corrective action
indicated can be taken. Some person in the plant should have the
specific responsibility for carrying on this work.

The main source o f wholly involuntary absence is, o f course,
sickness. Some firms have attempted to reduce sickness absentee­
ism by various means. Commonly, such programs are instituted
under the supervision of the plant medical department and are
usually educational in nature, although sometimes they are pre­
ventive. Examples of the latter are distribution of vitamin prepa­
rations during the winter months in an effort to reduce respira­
tory illness, and re-examination of workers after absence because
of sickness to insure that a communicable disease will not be
transmitted to other workers. Special measures are usually taken
in departments where the work is of such a nature that sickness
hazards are increased. Examples of such conditions are found
in forge shops or places where paint or solvent fumes are present.
Many absences are semi-involuntary. In such cases, personal cir­
cumstances make it difficult to avoid some loss of working time,
but the worker may have partial control of the time when the
absence will occur. Absences o f this type are caused by the ne­
cessity for shopping, getting laundry, having personal automobiles
repaired, attending to gasoline, tire, and food rationing problems,
seeking adequate housing, providing for care o f minor children,
and the like. Because such absences are closely related to plant
working hours, increases are to be expected during the wartime
period. General adoption of a 6-day workweek has reduced those

daytime hours in which workers are free to attend to personal
business. Increases are also to be expected because a greater num­
ber of families have no adult members who are not working.
Semi-involuntary absences are closely related to labor turnover.
The same personal difficulties and inconveniences which cause
such absenteeism may eventually move the "worker to seek a
more permanent solution by changing his conditions o f employ­
ment. For example, a close relationship between poor housing
and inadequate transportation on the one hand and high absen­
teeism and excessive turnover on the other is fairly obvious.
To reduce absences o f the semi-involuntary type, the plant
should be aware of the important types o f worker problems and
should institute any appropriate services and programs which
seem to be necessary. Accordingly, if absenteeism at a given
facility appears to be excessive, the extent o f such activities may
profitably be examined. Some o f the types o f services which may
help to reduce absences are described in the following section.

Services For Employees
Unavoidably, a part of the time of every person must be de­
voted to personal affairs. In the normal course of events, it is
expected that an employee will discharge his personal obligations
during hours when he is not scheduled to work, but wartime
operating conditions have made this more difficult. The crowded
and overloaded condition of community facilities in many areas
has augmented the worker’s difficulties in obtaining necessary
services. These factors and the additional responsibilities con­
nected with rationing and Selective Service which have been
imposed on him have increased the demands on his free time.
Moreover, the longer working schedules now commonly in effect
have reduced the number of hours available to the average
worker for personal affairs. Finally, the reduction in the number
of families with nonworking adult members has made it more
difficult for the average worker to shift part of the burden of
his personal affairs to another family member. Because of this
situation, many companies have established various services to
assist their employees in meeting the conditions of wartime liv­
ing. Such programs may have an important bearing not only on
absenteeism, but also on turnover, worker morale, and employee
Extra services for workers are, in general, necessary only
because of wartime operating conditions, and frequently they
have had no counterpart in peacetime. Consequently, the different
plans adopted are extremely varied in nature, depending on
individual circumstances. Because o f their temporary nature
they are sometimes administered very unevenly. A few examples
will illustrate the types of services which may be rendered.
The necessity for workers to appear at irregular intervals at
ration boards has led some large companies to establish branch
ration boards at the plant itself, so that such matters may be
attended to in a relatively short time during the working day.
Some employees have experienced considerable difficulty in
obtaining adequate housing within reasonable transportation dis­

tance o f the plant. Accordingly, some companies have listed the
available housing facilities, for the benefit of their employees.
I f sufficient housing was not available, companies have also co­
operated with local and Federal Government agencies to provide
additional facilities.
Inadequacies of marketing, laundry, and cleaning facilities in
crowded war centers have sometimes made it difficult for workers
to take care of such things in off-duty hours, especially if women
who would normally take care of household tasks have been
brought into factory employment. Some companies have made
arrangements to permit these responsibilities to be carried out
at or near the plant at convenient times. Other companies have
joined with community organizations to insure that shopping,
laundry, recreation, banking, and medical facilities are open and
available to the worker during off-duty periods.
Adequacy of child-care services has an important bearing not
only on the ability to recruit for employment women with minor
children, but also on the continued and regular attendance of
such women. Some companies have been active in seeing that
child-care facilities were available in convenient locations.
The activities of different companies in attempts to insure
adequate transportation for their employees have been o f many
different types. With respect to transportation by private auto­
mobile, centralized arrangements for the formation of car pools
are frequently established. Centralized responsibility for assist­
ing workers through the intricacies of gasoline and tire rationing
has also been helpful. With respect to public transportation, some
companies have arranged with nearby firms to stagger the shift
schedules in such a way as to reduce peak-load demands on limited
transportation facilities. Other companies have been able to
obtain additional facilities by bringing the problem to the atten­
tion of local transit companies or the Office of Defense Trans­
At many war plants, a large proportion of the employees de­
pends on privately owned automobiles for transportation. The
increasing age o f these vehicles has made breakdowns and the
necessity for mechanical repair more frequent. Since at the
same time it is becoming more difficult to get repairs made,
some firms have attempted to make central arrangements through
which employees can secure repair services.
Arrangements to cash workers’ pay checks have in some cases
helped reduce absenteeism, and facilities for granting emergency
loans have assisted in limiting both absenteeism and turnover.
There have been cases in which workers quit their employment
because it was the only way for them to secure promptly their
accumulated earnings for an immediate need.
Company assistance in meeting the personal problems of
workers contributes directly to the reduction of absenteeism; it
also limits the number of excuses for absenteeism which might
be considered acceptable under an absence-control program, and
makes it more difficult for a worker to furnish reasonable excuses
for casual absences.
It is important to note that no single company should neces­
sarily engage in the entire series of services mentioned above.

Rather, such activities should come only after the need for them
has been established, and the details of any particular plan should
be carefully fitted to the particular circumstances. The lack of any
organized program for dealing with the problems mentioned above
may, however, have an important bearing on the effectiveness o f
labor utilization. The possibility of a joint labor-management
approach to problems of this type should not be overlooked.
Labor participation should not be limited to bringing the need
for specific action to the attention of managements; in many cases
a program may be administered most appropriately and effectively
by an employee group.
There is danger that management interest in a program may
lag after it is instituted, with the result that its operation becomes
haphazard and unreliable. Under such conditions an originally
sound and well-conceived program may become a liability rather
than an asset. During its life, any program o f service fo r em­
ployees should be actively prosecuted; otherwise it may become
a focus for employee dissatisfaction.

Labor Turnover
“ Labor turnover” occurs whenever there is some change in the
working personnel of a plant. The term covers both accessions
and separations, but it is usually the latter phase of turnover
which receives principal attention.
A certain amount o f turnover is unavoidable, and some should
be regarded as beneficial, especially in the early stages of a war
production program when turnover is the process whereby new
and expanding plants secure a necessary nucleus of experienced
workers. However, if turnover represents simply the planless
movement of workers from job to job without regard to the needs
of the war effort, it may be detrimental. It is always difficult to
maintain production at proper levels with a working force which
includes a large proportion of new workers. Moreover, excessive
turnover needlessly multiplies the costly and time-consuming
process o f inducting and training new workers. It increases the
supervisory work load, since supervisors must usually shoulder
a large part of the burden of training new employees. Rapid
changes in personnel can quickly disrupt a smoothly operating
The direct and indirect cost of replacing a single employee who
quits and of integrating the new worker into the labor force o f
a plant may amount to as much as several hundred dollars,
depending on the training which may be needed. The process is
seldom inexpensive. It is obvious that reduction of turnover by
even a few cases each month may result in substantial cost sav­
ings; extra time and effort spent on preventive measures may
represent a worthwhile investment.

In large plants, summary information on turnover should be
regularly available to management fo r control and policy purposes.
In smaller plants, because of the more personal setting of employ­
ment questions, there may not be an equivalent need for figures.

Statistics on turnover are usually compiled on a monthly basis
and are expressed in terms of the number of separations and the
number of accessions per hundred employees on the pay roll. When
compared with similar data for other plants, turnover figures help
to show the magnitude of the problem at a given plant; the trends
established by continuing figures may indicate the need for new
action on recruitment policies before the problem becomes acute.
Tabulation of figures in somewhat greater detail, by departments,
shifts, or sex, may point out trouble spots which would other­
wise be obscured in the general picture and in which corrective
measures may prevent future quits. It goes without saying that
statistics on turnover will be of little value if tabulated merely
fo r purposes of record keeping; they should be used as guides to
management policy.
Current figures on labor turnover, by industry and sex, which
may be used for comparative purposes are published monthly by
the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These figures, together with
descriptions of the methods used in computing turnover rates,
may be obtained on request (see Appendix, table 2).
Separations from employment are usually classified, by type,
under the following headings: Quits, discharges, lay-offs, military
separations, and others. In peacetime, discharges and lay-offs
account for most of the separations; in a war period, quits pre­
dominate. In 1939, quits accounted for about one-fourth o f the
average monthly separation rate of 3.14 percent for all manu­
facturing industries. In 1943, quits represented nearly threefourths o f a monthly separation rate averaging 7.23 percent. At
the end of 1944, average quit rates for particular industries varied
from less than 3 to more than 7 percent, and the quit rates for
individual establishments covered a much broader range. In
general, a quit rate exceeding 5 or 6 percent per month is regarded
as a danger signal, although the critical level will vary with the
circumstances of each individual plant. If much casual labor is
used, a quit rate of 7 or 8 percent may not be regarded as serious.
On the other hand, a rate of 3 percent may cause concern, if
experience is an important factor for most classes of employees.

Many quits are avoidable. The process of reducing a plant’s
quit rates should begin when a worker is hired. A worker is far
less likely to seek other employment if he is placed in a job for
which he is physically and psychologically suited. Hiring inter­
views, aptitude tests, and medical examinations are carried out
mainly to insure that the worker will meet the employer’s mini­
mum standards for a job, but proper placement from the worker’s
standpoint should also be kept in mind. A worker placed below
his proper skill and wage level may be no bargain if he quits after
brief employment.
It is important to help a worker adjust himself to the condi­
tions surrounding his new employment. Company policy with
respect to wage payment, promotions, attendance, vacations,
safety rules, and the like should be explained to him as soon as
possible. He should be acquainted with the details o f any grievance
procedures or benefit programs. It may be helpful to describe

the contribution of the worker’s job toward the final product
of the plant, and to relate this product to the war effort. Such
instruction is especially important at the present time, when so
many persons without previous industrial experience are being
employed. The use of a systematic rather than a haphazard
induction procedure may pay substantial dividends in sound
employee adjustment to new working conditions. It is possible
to prevent the many serious misunderstandings which may arise
if the new employee must depend principally on fellow workers
fo r knowledge of plant policies and programs. Information
obtained in this casual manner is often both incomplete and
Even with due attention to proper placement and induction,
it cannot be assumed that satisfactory adjustment will follow
automatically. A systematic follow-up some weeks after entrance
on the job may locate potential trouble in time to permit prevent
live action. Such a check should cover both the worker and his
supervisor, and it should reveal whether the worker is satis­
factory in his job and satisfied with it. This period, when the
worker has become acquainted with plant routine, but has not
yet become fully geared into it, is probably the most critical of
all in determining whether the worker is likely to continue in his
employment for any long period. Placement at the wrong skill
level or in the wrong job, personality conflicts, inconvenient shift
assignments, and similar difficulties may be located and remedied
at this stage before they cause the worker to seek other employ­
In some war plants it has been necessary at times to assign
virtually all incoming workers to departments with acute per­
sonnel shortages, irrespective of the capacities or preferences
o f the individual workers. High turnover naturally accompanies
such a practice, but it has been minimized in some cases by an
active follow-up program. The promise of more appropriate
placement later, plus evidence of real management interest in
the worker, has given employees a better appreciation of the
emergency nature of the situation and helped prevent separations.
It is usually desirable in any plant to have some person
attached to the management to whom workers can go fo r a
sympathetic discussion o f personal problems which may affect
their work. In large plants,, trained personnel counselors may be
used. Such counselors should be carefully selected for their
ability to inspire confidence among employees, and they should
have a feeling of genuine interest in employees’ problems. It goes
without saying that such persons must also have tact and sound
judgment. If their work is to be effective, they should avoid dis­
cussing matters which should properly be taken up through
established grievance channels.
E xit interviews may help to reduce turnover. Two main
objectives should determine the form of such interviews: (1) A
genuine attempt should be made to induce the worker to remain
on the job. Such an effort will not usually be effective if the
person conducting the interview feels that the worker’s decision
is irrevocable, and therefore permits the interview to become

a mere formality. (2) An intensive effort should be made to
discover the true reason why the worker wishes to quit. This
may require some time and ingenuity; it cannot be assumed that
a worker will state immediately the real cause for his dissatis­
faction. The records of termination interviews should, of course,
be used systematically to help prevent future quits by improving
or correcting conditions which might cause them. If these records
are used as guides to action they may be of real value; as papers
in a file cabinet, they are useless.
War Manpower Commission regulations concerning granting
of certificates of availability for other employment should be
followed carefully. In general, these certificates should be given
(1) when a worker faces real personal hardship because o f con­
tinued employment in his present job, (2) when the worker is
not being used at his highest skill, or (3) when he is no longer
needed. The propriety of granting a certificate should bo care­
fully established in each instance; to issue them in a perfunctory
fashion defeats the entire purpose of the arrangement.
It is important to remember that quits may occur for a great
variety of reasons. Among the in-plant conditions which cause
quits may be mentioned dissatisfaction with the job, inequitable
wage structure, unsettled grievances, limited opportunity for
promotion, unpleasant working conditions, unsatisfactory rela­
tions with supervisors, and unwillingness to be assigned to late
shifts. Community factors may also be important. Difficulties
with housing, transportation, child care, shopping, and the like
are especially likely to cause women to quit. The most effective
means of reducing quits is to discover their basic causes and
correct them as far as possible. All available sources o f informa­
tion which may reveal why workers are dissatisfied with their
jobs or why former workers have quit should be exploited.

Comparison of the military separation rate with that for simi­
lar establishments may indicate that a particular plant is espe­
cially vulnerable in this respect. It is the responsibility o f the
management of the particular plant to. determine whether the
withdrawal of eligible men under Selective Service is likely to
impair operating efficiency and to institute such steps as may be
necessary. In this connection, familiarity with Selective Service
regulations and procedures is important, and, accordingly, it may
be desirable to centralize responsibility for dealing with draft
boards in the hands of a specified individual. In requesting defer­
ments, it should be remembered that a technical job title will not
indicate the importance of an individual’s job to a nontechnical
draft board. Moreover, where the war use o f a plant’s product
is not obvious, it should be explained carefully in clear and simple
terms. The burden of proof that a deferment is necessary to the
war effort rests on the employer, and to be successful a request
must carry this conviction to the draft board. If numerous
draft eligibles are involved, the preparation of a replacement
schedule certified by the State Director of Selective Service maj
assist in the orderly withdrawal and replacement of workers.

Full Use o f C om m unity Labor Resources

Because of the great demands of the war program, many com­
panies have found it increasingly difficult to obtain enough
workers to man their production operations adequately. To
remedy this, they have found it necessary to use more intensive
recruitment procedures and to utilize labor groups which were
not previously employed. The use of local labor reserves, includ­
ing women, older workers, boys and girls, racial minorities, per­
sons with physical handicaps, and part-time workers, helps to
relieve labor shortages and reduces the need for in-migration of
workers, with accompanying additional strain on community

Recruitment practices which were satisfactory in the pre-war
labor-surplus period may be entirely unsuitable at the present
time. The company which still depends exclusively on calls at
the employment gate to staff its plant is least likely to meet with
success. Some plants in isolated places have found it profitable to
move their employment offices to conspicuous locations on main
streets and make arrangements by which prospective workers
can be interviewed and hired on the spot. Many firms have found
it necessary to launch intensive recruitment campaigns, fre­
quently in direct cooperation with the U. S. Employment Service.
Some have treated recruitment as a sales problem, and have made
us.e of the abilities of their own sales departments. Carefully
prepared newspaper advertisements and appeals on the radio
have been supplemented by contacts with local schools and col­
leges and requests to employees to refer friends and relatives.
It may be necessary to revise employment standards in order
to obtain enough workers. Former restrictions on the age, sex,
or physical condition of prospective workers may seem less inflex­
ible in the light o f an acute labor shortage. Persons who were
not previously in the market for jobs constitute the principal
labor reserve now available.
Recruiting is likely to be most effective if responsibility for
hiring is centralized in a plant personnel department which is
thoroughly familiar with total labor requirements of the plant
and with the labor supply o f the area. Wherever possible, recruit­
ment should be planned in advance of actual need, especially for
skilled workers and supervisory and technical employees. The
recruitment program should be carefully integrated with pro­
duction plans. If marked expansion is likely to take place, this
coordination is of sufficient importance that responsibility for it
be specifically designated. Adequate turnover records may assist
in the anticipation o f needs for replacements. Plants in increas­
ing number are finding it necessary to depend largely on upgrad­
ing for filling quotas of skilled workers, with recruitment plans
largely geared to supplying sufficient numbers of inexperienced
Under recent Office of War Mobilization and War Manpower
Commission directives, the U. S. Employment Service is the
official channel for priority referral of all male workers through­

out the Nation, and for women as well in a number of designated
areas. All companies, even in areas where a labor surplus exists,
are now required to cooperate with the Employment Service.
Priorities are assigned by local, regional or National Manpower
Directors for specific numbers and kinds of workers, based on
the type of war production in the plant at the time the order is
assigned. All other requests for referrals are considered as non­
priority orders. The manpower-priority status of any plant may
be impaired by failure to observe War Manpower Commission
regulations, by improper utilization of labor, or discriminatory
hiring practices. It is important that each company become
acquainted with and adhere to all War Manpower Commission
hiring and release regulations, and that utilization of labor in
the plant m eet the standards recognized in the area. A showing
of satisfactory labor utilization is necessary for receiving prior­
ity referral in labor-shortage areas. In some areas, representa­
tives of the War Manpower Commission are available for plant
surveys of labor utilization, and will make suggestions to aid
companies in meeting area labor-utilization standards.
Even in areas where extensive labor controls are not in effect,
the U. S. Employment Service plays an important part in recruit­
ment, and is responsible within an area for relating the demand
for and supply of labor. Accordingly, it is always desirable for
the plant personnel department to maintain close and cordial
relationships with the local office o f the U. S. Employment Service.
That office should be the plant’s principal contact with the War
Manpower Commission, and it may be in a position to offer
valuable services to the plant.

Women constitute the only important reserve o f full-time
workers now available to many establishments. During the
present emergency, they have replaced men in ma'ny jobs tradi­
tionally held by male workers, and experience indicates that they
may be equally efficient. On jobs of a repetitive nature or which
require considerable manipulative dexterity, women are fre­
quently more productive. The most obvious limitation on the use
of women is their lesser average physical strength, but, on jobs
within the range of their strength, their physical endurance may
equal or exceed that of men. Comparison of the percentage of
women in a given plant with the proportion utilized in establish­
ments of a similar type may indicate that full opportunity has
not been made of this labor resource. Information on the pro­
portion of women workers in various industries may be obtained
from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (See Appendix, table 3.)
Selection and Placement

A careful and systematic analysis of existing occupations
within a plant will usually reveal many which are suitable for
women. The physical strength required is usually the most im­
portant criterion of suitability. To facilitate the greatest possible
use of women, it may be desirable to divide certain unsuitable
occupations and regroup the functions into new jobs, some of
which are appropriate for women. Consultation with employee

representatives, before regrouping functions, is desirable even if
job duties are not covered by collective agreements. The intro­
duction of mechanical handling and transportation equipment may
also increase the possibilities for use of women. The Women’s
Bureau o f the U. S. Department of Labor will furnish, on request,
information as to particular types of work in which women are
being successfully employed in various war industries.
The systematic selection of women for jobs is as important
as the selection of jobs fo r women. Women vary in physical
ability as widely as men, and a job which can be adequately filled
by most women may be wholly inappropriate for some. Adequate
pre-employment physical examinations may be of considerable
assistance in preventing poor placement. In the case of women,
also, it is more important before making an investment in place­
ment and training, to seek assurance that outside responsibilities
or home duties will not interfere unduly with job performance.
Pre-employment training which simulates actual job conditions
and working schedules has proved useful to some firms in reveal­
ing such conflicts.
Induction and Training

It should be kept in mind that many women will lack previous
industrial experience and will therefore require extra assistance
in adjusting to factory routines. It is usually desirable to provide
them with a broad picture of the purposes of and processes used
by the establishment, orienting their place in the structure, in
addition to the more usual information on rules, regulations,
safety practices and the like.
I f women have not previously been employed, unusual care
should be exercised at the time of initial placement, to insure
their acceptance by fellow workers on an equal footing. Special
care in selection, placement, and training will help, since full
acceptance will usually follow, once efficiency is demonstrated.
Because women frequently lack prior experience, detailed train­
ing is usually necessary. In such training it should be assumed,
until the contrary is demonstrated, that the worker has no pre­
vious knowledge of tools or techniques. Each step, from the begin­
ning, should be carefully demonstrated, and additional steps
should not be undertaken until it is certain that all previous
instruction has been thoroughly understood. Training should
be carried on only by persons who have the patience to work
with those lacking previous mechanical experience. Continuing
sympathy with the problems of the beginner is essential. It may
be noted that attempts to bring women into a plant by creating
special all-women departments have usually been less successful
than when women were employed on the same basis as other
Supervision and Counseling

Supervisors who work well with male workers may be less
satisfactory in connection with women. The supervision of women
frequently presents different problems in worker psychology, and
this should be kept in mind in selecting supervisors. I f numbers

of women are employed, women personnel counselors should he
provided; they are almost universally used to act as liaison be­
tween the women workers and management. Women acting in
this capacity are usually far more satisfactory than men in han­
dling the special problems of women workers. The number of
such counselors will vary with circumstances, but, for full effec­
tiveness, it should be large enough to permit dealing with the
worker’s problems in an unhurried manner.
Special Considerations Relating to the Employment of ITomen

Plant environment is especially important in determining the
attitudes of women toward their jobs. Special toilets and rest
rooms should be installed close to work areas and should unfail­
ingly be maintained in clean and sanitary condition. The lack
o f adequate or clean facilities quickly leads to dissatisfaction.
Policies with respect to permissible types of work clothing should
be decided on and adopted before possibly conflicting habits or
customs are formed. Companies usually require women to wear
shoes with low heels and closed toes, and frequently recommend
slacks. Women working around machinery are usually required
to wear some head covering. Information on sanitary facilities,
work clothing, and safety practices as they relate to the employ­
ment o f women may be obtained on request from the Women’s
Bureau of the U. S. Department of Labor.
In most States, employers of women must observe certain
restrictions relating to hours and working conditions which do
not apply equally to men. Many of these restrictions, especially
those relating to night work, have been relaxed during the war
period. Usually an exception to the regulations is granted by the
appropriate department of the State government, upon appli­
cation and a showing that the health of the women involved
will be adequately protected. Information regarding the status
of such regulations may be obtained from the State government.
It is highly desirable that a company formulate a clear policy
on the employment of women during pregnancy. Some plants do
not hire pregnant women, and discharge women workers as soon
as pregnancy is apparent. Such a policy encourages concealment
of pregnancy and frequently contributes to injury of the worker.
Moreover, it results in loss o f the services of experienced workers
during a considerable period when useful work can be performed.
Other companies have found it desirable to inform women that
they will be continued in employment during pregnancy until it
appears that the work may endanger their health. In some cases,
the company’s policy includes transfer to less strenuous work, if
this is feasible, and a guaranty o f reemployment rights after
conclusion of pregnancy.
It should be remembered that, even though a woman is indus­
trially employed, she may continwe to have important household
duties. She will usually retain the major responsibility for shop­
ping, care of children, care o f the sick, and maintenance of the
home. Accordingly, it is to be expected that absence rates for
women will be somewhat higher than for men. This need be no
drawback, provided absences are kept within reasonable limits,

and the experience of firms which have successfully used women
workers for many years shows that this is entirely feasible.

Many physically handicapped persons are efficiently employed
in war work today. Experience indicates that such persons, suit­
ably placed, are as productive as those considered unimpaired,
and usually they contribute less to turnover and absenteeism than
nonhandicapped workers. Full utilization of the handicapped in
industry is important not only because it permits the use of a
significant labor reserve during this emergency, but also because
it provides the only satisfactory solution to a social problem
which will necessarily become more pressing as a direct conse­
quence of the war. The attitude and interest of employers will
determine whether those injured in the war or in factories become
in large measure wards of society or self-supporting, self-respect­
ing, and responsible members of the community.
The principal bar to the utilization of the handicapped has
been the undiscriminating physical prerequisites for employment
imposed by many employers. The key to the effective use of the
impaired is full application of the principles o f selective place­
ment. This implies that a job which is to be filled will be analyzed
in terms of the specific mental and physical requirement and
experience that its successful performance entails, and that all
workers who meet these requirements will be given consideration.
If the job analysis is carried through in these specific terms it
will frequently be evident that the possession of certain physical
handicaps is completely irrelevant to satisfactory performance.
For example, a leg impairment may not preclude efficiency in a
sedentary job, but, under the undiscriminating physical standards
for employment adopted by some plants, it might prevent the hir­
ing of a highly productive worker. Positions for some handi­
capped workers may be found by spot placement, but full utiliza­
tion can be achieved only by a systematic policy of selective
placement. Further information on the application of selectiveplacement principles in war plants may be obtained from the U. S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Employers are sometimes reluctant to hire handicapped persons
because of fear of higher workmen’s compensation costs in the
event of a second injury. Many States have made provision for
this contingency by limiting the employer’s liability to the injury
received in his employ. Information on this subject may be
obtained from any State workmen’s compensation commission
or from the Division of Labor Standards of the U. S. Department
of Labor.

National policy demands that war plants utilize without dis­
crimination all racial groups within the community. The problems
encountered in bringing a racial minority into a plant work force
for the first time may pose unusual difficulties, but they are simi­
lar in nature to those involved in gaining acceptance of other new
groups of employees. B efore initial placement, a special effort
should be made to insure that the new group will be accepted by

both workers and supervisors. Points in favor of the step should
be carefully explained, and all objections should be met as far as
possible at that time. The logical starting point is a discussion
of the problem with unions or other employee groups. The coop­
eration of such groups, if it can be obtained, will vastly facilitate
an initial educational effort.
Special attention to the adequate training and proper placement
o f the first members of a racial group to be added to the work
force is most important. Proof of personal efficiency is usually a
major element in securing acceptance by other workers. Once
some members of a racial group have been accepted, others may
be added with a minimum of difficulty. A proper choice of super­
visors during the initial stages must also be given careful con­
sideration. A supervisor who is unsympathetic to the undertaking
may render wholly untenable the already difficult personal posi­
tion of the new worker, and in any case the supervisor’s attitude
is likely to influence unfavorably the attitude of other workers.
It should also be remembered that members of a racial minority
newly brought into a plant will probably be confronted at first
with a series of difficult and even embarrassing situations.
Accordingly, they may require and should receive extra help in
adjusting to the new environment.

The employment o f part-time workers will enable a company to
increase its labor force and to utilize the special skills and train­
ing of persons not available for full-time work. The use of two
or more part-time workers may release a full-time employee for
another job for which split-shift scheduling is impractical. This
type of recruitment also reduces absenteeism, since it permits the
employees with outside responsibilities to work shorter hours.
Many employers use part-time workers in order to provide time
off for regular employees. Housewives probably comprise the
largest potential source of part-time labor. Other groups include
high-school and college students, white-collar workers, handi­
capped persons, and retired workers. Students used as part-time
workers can become an important source of trained and experi­
enced full-time workers during vacations or upon the completion
of courses.
In employing part-time workers, the scheduling of satisfactory
working hours is of major importance. The hours during which
part-time work is scheduled will largely determine the type o f
worker obtained. Housewives are most likely to be available dur­
ing the daytime. Late-aftemoon and evening shifts will attract
students and workers who have full-time jobs elsewhere. A few
companies have part-time employees working in teams, one
worker employed the first half of an 8-hour shift and the other
the second half.
Office and clerical work involves many jobs o f routine nature
which are particularly adaptable to part-time workers. This prac­
tice often permits the transfer of regular workers to production
The recruitment o f office workers and businessmen fo r parttime production jobs has been especially satisfactory in some

cases. Employers report that such workers have lower turnover
and absence rates, and in some cases higher rates of production,
than full-time employees. The more strenuous production work
supplements sedentary office work in a way that seems to be
beneficial to the individual. Workers who attempt to carry a
part-time job in addition to a physically exhausting full-time
activity are usually less satisfactory.
Some additional record keeping must be expected in connection
with the use of part-time workers, but this will seldom be an
important consideration. The assimilation o f part-time workers
into regular operations will be most difficult if their use is
deferred or is withheld as a last resort. The limited use of parttime workers can provide valuable experience in advance of their
possible utilization on a larger scale. The scheduling of part-time
personnel requires as much planning and initiative as fo r full­
time workers.

Training and Upgrading
Training services must be provided on a far more extensive
scale during the war period than has been common in industry
during peacetime. The need for preparing personnel quickly for
new production routines and for training large numbers of recent
recruits, many without previous industrial experience, requires
the full utilization of all established types of training— super­
visory, pre-employment, on-the-job instruction, and preparation
for upgrading. Yet many companies managing large plants have
expanded from small-scale operations and have had only limited
experience with training. Other establishments which have grown
only moderately often do not recognize the need of some training.
It is frequently not realized that adequate training programs
can be of considerable assistance in combating turnover and poor
Of similar importance, at the present time, is the improvement
and acceleration of upgrading procedures. The rapid expansion
of establishments in war production, together with losses to the
armed forces, creates unusual demands for skilled workers and
supervisors. Since new employees with experience are ordinarily
unavailable, these jobs in large measure have to be filled by the
promotion o f those already employed. This necessitates for many
plants an advancement of upgrading methods to meet these needs,
and enlarged facilities for supplementary training to insure that
sufficient workmen will be qualified for promotion when needed.
Well-organized upgrading systems also contribute to general
efficiency by giving employees an added incentive to do good work
and remain at the plant. An evaluation o f existing facilities for
pre-employment instruction, job training, and training fo r pro­
motion is therefore o f real importance.

The training of supervisors is probably neglected most, since
the effects of inadequate training are often not directly perceptible
in plant operation. Actually, poor supervision has many serious
and pervasive consequences, ranging from employee dissatisfac­

tion (with its resultant excessive turnover) to production defi­
ciencies. A t the present time, when supervisory work carries
additional heavy responsibilities for new processes, new products,
and the training o f other workers, the adequate preparation o f
leadmen, foremen, and superintendents is especially necessary.
A satisfactory basic training for supervisors which demands
a minimum of cost and participation from management may be
provided by the WMC Training Within Industry courses. Infor­
mation on these courses may be secured from the nearest War
Manpower Commission office or from the Bureau o f draining,
War Manpower Commission, Washington 25, D. C. Three 10-hour
courses are available in Job Instruction, Job Methods, and Job
Relations training. The first of these gives the essential points
involved in training others, the second covers the improvement o f
specific production methods, and the third stresses the principles
involved in working best with subordinates. The courses are
stripped to essentials and geared to the tempo of war needs. PlanJ;
officials in charge of training may take 4-day institute courses.
These may be supplemented by any variety o f additional training
developed by the individual company or by private management

Pre-employment training may be necessary when large num­
bers of recruits must be taught certain operating skills or when
workmen must be prepared for assignment to relatively complex
duties. Procedures for formulating the courses and determining
the number o f trainees for various jobs are important initial steps
in planning such training. Arrangements are often made to carry
out this training with the help of outside institutions or Govern­
ment agencies. Government services are available for the preemployment training of production employees through vocational
schools (the Vocational Training for War Production Workers
Program), and for training engineers and other technical per­
sonnel in colleges and universities (the Engineering, Science and
Management War Training Program ). Both programs are admin­
istered by the U. S. Office of Education, Washington 25, D. C.
Close collaboration between the plant and training agencies is valu­
able in developing an appropriate program, since pre-employment
training is necessarily on a more formal basis than other types
o f employee training. Such programs, whether inside or outside
the plant, are most effective when the equipment and operating
methods used in teaching are closely related to those used on the
job. Since pre-job training fo r most plants wiU be new, or on a
greater scale than before the war, formal provisions by manage­
ment should cover the entire program of preliminary training.

Since on-the-job instruction comprises the major part o f plant
training, the adjustment to wartime training needs will ordi­
narily be greatest here. Instruction methods vary from plant to
plant and are usually evolved from individual technical require­
ments and the previous experience of the company in job instruc­
tion. Nevertheless, substantial modifications or expansions in

training facilities may be necessary. After planning, they should
be introduced carefully and reviewed continually for adequacy.
The Apprentice-Training Service of the War Manpower Commis­
sion may be found useful in connection with on-the-job training
and upgrading programs and apprenticeship plans.
An accelerated rate of training may require special help for
those who teach, whether these instructors are fellow employees
or supervisors, in order to insure a satisfactory level in the
quality of instruction. A common fault is an inadequate number
of instructors. A supervisor heavily burdened with other duties
can give only cursory attention to trainees. The training load balanced against other responsibilities. Another fault
is inadequate preparation. Successful teaching, especially under
pressure, demands complete familiarity with training materials
and methods. The instructor must know not only what to teach
but how to teach. It is evident that the key point in successful
on-the-job training is more likely to be the instructor than the
trainee. Use of the WMC course on Job Instruction methods,
mentioned previously, may help in improving the results of onthe-job training.

A systematic upgrading procedure is an important step in
meeting requirements for experienced workmen. Success in build­
ing up working staffs for new plants or fo r plant expansions
ivill depend largely on the capacity of upgrading methods fo r
developing supervisors and skilled employees. Although the pro­
cedures regularly employed at most facilities may be generally
satisfactory, the large scale and accelerated rate at which upgrad­
ing must take place will usually require some modifications. These
will include a more careful search for ability and skills among
workmen, a review of the standards for upgrading to higher
jobs, improved rating methods, more effective means of acquaint­
ing employees with opportunities for promotion, and supple­
mentary training programs.
The volume of upgrading necessary to staff new facilities and
maintain adequate numbers of workers in critical occupations
in spite of high turnover rates will demand more elaborate plan­
ning to meet the needs of the different departments. An impor­
tant initial step is the exploiting of every possibility for promo­
tion within the plant. This may require some analysis of the
employment backgrounds of all personnel. The failure to utilize
fully the previous experience of workmen is common, and is re­
vealed by recent studies which show that in many plants, despite
shortages of skilled help, significant numbers o f employees are
working at jobs requiring lower skills than those for which they
are qualified. Factors contributing to such situations are hasty
placement and failure to review the standards for promotion in
the light of changes in job content and the abilities of current
labor recruits.
Periodic rating of employees is becoming more essential in
larger plants in order to provide supervisors with standards on
which to base upgrading. Whether formal ratings are employed
or not, extensive upgrading can be attained best when the selec­

tion of men for promotion or for enrollment in upgrading courses
proceeds with a minimum of friction. Even in the absence of
collective agreements covering upgrading procedures, consulta­
tion with employee representatives is important in assuring ac­
ceptance of a plan. Employees should "be well informed of all
possible avenues of promotion open to them. The basis for selec­
tion, whether merit, seniority, or some combination of these and
other factors, should be applied as objectively as possible to
avoid any suggestion o f favoritism.
The knowledge that systematic upgrading is practiced, and
that promotion from within is an established policy, is a powerful
stimulus to morale and an effective means of reducing turnover.
In weighing promotion from within against recruitment from
without, it should be remembered that the company usually has
full knowledge of the weaknesses as well as the strengths of the
old employee, whereas only the good points of the prospective
worker are usually apparent. The advantages offered by the new­
comer should be great indeed to outweigh the accumulated experi­
ence of the man on the job and to balance the possibility of dam­
aging worker morale generally.
A fter selection of workers who may he upgraded, it may be
desirable to provide supplementary training. This may be on-thejob instruction of an informal nature, following the idea of pro­
viding an alternate for every critical job. In some cases, outside
training in vocational schools may be used to advantage. Here
again the Vocational Training for War Production Workers Pro­
gram of the U. S. Office of Education may be of assistance.
Wage Structure

The effect of the wage structure of an establishment on labor
utilization is usually somewhat indirect, but it is none the less
important. Substandard wage levels encourage turnover and in­
crease recruitment difficulties. Maladjustments in wages within
the plant may lead to dissatisfaction, poor morale, and unsatis­
factory labor-management relations.

Wage rates which are generally below those available to work­
ers at other plants in the same area will create dissatisfaction,
cause workers to seek other jobs, and make difficult the recruit­
ment o f replacements. It cannot be assumed that the general wage
level is satisfactory simply because there is no direct or organized
complaint from the workers. Careful analysis of reasons for
quits and a coordinate study of the sources from which new work­
ers are obtained may help in establishing the relative position of
a plant with respect to wages.
Arbitrary adjustment of wage rates is counter to the wartime
national stabilization policy, but a company may petition the Na­
tional War Labor Board for permission to correct substandard
scales. If the necessary data are not already available from pre­
vious studies, such a petition will usually result in a survey to de­
termine if the wage levels of the petitioner are, in fact, out of
line, and the results of the survey will form the basis for a deci­

sion. A company which appears to experience excessive turnover
or unusual recruitment difficulties as compared with other firms
in the same area should examine its wage levels as a possible
source of the difficulties. (Figures on average hourly and weekly
earnings by industry, arid on wage rates in certain key occupa­
tions by area, for comparative purposes, may be obtained from
the Bureau of Labor Statistics on request. Also see Appendix,
table 5. Information on official wage brackets, as distinguished
from wage rates, may be obtained from the War Labor Board,
Washington 25, D. C.)

Inconsistencies in wage rates paid for similar types of work
may easily develop at any time, but they occur most frequently
during periods when plants are expanding rapidly or are chang­
ing their product lines. Such inequities inevitably produce irrita­
tion and discord between employer and employee, and a continu­
ing effort should be made to discover and eliminate them. Simpli­
fication and standardization of job titles should be an accompany­
ing objective.
It is essential that any system, of wage or job-content review
which is adopted be accepted by employees as fair and equitable.
Once so recognized, such a plan can smooth and speed collective­
bargaining procedures with respect to wages.

Many workers do not know how their actual take-home pay is
computed. This lack of understanding may cause dissatisfaction
and disputes. For example, at the time the withholding tax was
applied in July 1943, some workers quit their jobs in protest
simply because they misunderstood the purpose and effect of the
deductions. It is desirable that the worker be furnished an ex­
planation of the method used in computing his earnings, and a
statement of the type and amount of any deductions which are
made. One means of accomplishing this is to include with each
payment a slip of paper which indicates the number of hours
worked, the amount earned at each rate of pay, total earnings, and
any deductions from pay. It is also helpful to indicate a specific
place where the worker can go to secure information on wage
computations and where any dispute over the amount of pay can
be settled promptly.

Most plants which operate more than one shift have found it
desirable to establish some form of wage differential to compen­
sate for the inconvenience of late-shift work. The lack o f an
adequate differential may explain difficulty in recruiting sufficient
labor to man the late shifts. The same factor may contribute to
difficulties in obtaining adequate supervision on late shifts.

Wage payments for pre-employment training must be related
to the job opportunities available to inexperienced workers. Some
pre-employment training is frequently desirable, especially in

plants where the supervisory staff is overloaded and not able to
give sufficient time to training new workers. Wage payments dur­
ing training should be so adjusted that the necessary balance
between pre-employment and on-the-job training is maintained.

Recently, proposals have been considered by many companies
for the installation o f incentive wage-payment systems. The gen­
eral purpose of such systems is to provide the individual worker
with an incentive to increase his efficiency, by basing his earnings
on the amount of production achieved. If piece-rates are in
effect, there is, of course, a direct relationship between output and
earnings. Most of the newly proposed incentive systems attempt
to provide a similar result in situations in which piece-rate sys­
tems cannot readily be applied. Incentives are frequently on a
group basis, since the output of a group may be subject to meas­
urement although that of an individual is not. In general, the
efficacy o f such a scheme declines as the size of the group to which
it is applied increases.
While the success of incentive wage systems depends to a large
extent upon the particular type of incentive plan adopted, even
more important is the day-to-day administration of the plan and
the degree of its acceptance by the workers and supervisors
affected. No incentive-wage plan can succeed if it is not thor­
oughly understood by those immediately concerned; employees
paid on an incentive basis must know how their weekly pay has
been computed, if suspicion and antagonism are to be avoided.

Working Hours and Shift Schedules
The effort to obtain maximum production from existing facili­
ties and from a limited labor supply has led to a greater use of
.extra shifts and to longer working hours for the average em­
ployee. However, the goal of full facility utilization
from and may be in conflict with the goal o f full labor utilization.
The attainment of maximum production from a given plant may
easily require an inefficient use of at least some workers. Which
of the two objectives receives principal emphasis will depend on
the situation at each individual plant.

Maximum plant utilization would require that all work stations
be manned continuously. This is seldom achieved, even when pro­
duction demands are heavy and labor is in ample supply. Few
plants attain such perfect balance between departments that all
can consistently operate at peak levels.
A precise measure o f facility utilization would require an actual
count of all work stations and a study of the percentage o f time
each was manned. Beyond the difficulties involved in defining
work stations, the time and effort required to obtain such a
measure is usually out o f proportion to its value; less exact
measures are adequate for most purposes. The most common
measure of facility utilization rests on the assumption that the

daytime weekday shift is likely to be fully manned. Late-shift
and week-end employment is then expressed as a percentage of
the number working on the first shift during the week.
Figures on relative shift employment for a number of indus­
tries during the period March 1943 to December 1944 may be
obtained from the Bureau o f Labor Statistics (see Appendix,
table 3). These may be used to show the position o f a specific
plant relative to other similar facilities. However, such compari­
sons should be made with caution, since in many plants, even in
continuous-process industries, it is common practice to schedule
during daylight hours operations such as maintenance and repair
which do not depend on factory equipment. Consequently, even
when equipment is fully utilized, first-shift employment may sub­
stantially exceed that on the second and third shifts.
The extent to which plant facilities are used will depend pri­
marily on production demands. Greater facility utilization is of
interest in connection with labor utilization mainly as it imposes
on management the necessity for scheduling longer working hours
or extra shifts in an efficient manner.

Diminishing labor reserves and increasing recruitment diffi­
culties tend to shift the current emphasis to intensive utilization
of the existing labor force. Practically all war industries have
increased their weekly hours above peacetime levels. By increas­
ing weekly hours, the demand for additional labor is reduced and,
to some extent, employment is stabilized, since overtime payments
provide an opportunity for higher earnings. (Current informa­
tion on the average number of hours worked per week for com­
parative purposes may be obtained from the Bureau of Labor
Statistics. See Appendix, table 5.)
As working hours are increased, hourly output tends to decline
and absenteeism to increase. Long hours for relatively short
periods may not result in lowered efficiency, especially if the ur­
gency of the need for increased production is apparent to the
individual worker. However, sustained long hours may reduce
efficiency to a point at which total production is actually less
than might have been achieved on a more moderate working
There is no optimum workweek for all workers and all types
of jobs. Since heavy work cannot be continued over as many
hours as light work, the physical effort required must be con­
sidered. On the other hand, many jobs which could not be classi­
fied as heavy work require such sustained application, concentra­
tion, or mental effort that fatigue developes rapidly. Workers vary
in their resistance to fatigue, and this factor is of special signifi­
cance at present when the labor force is abnormally heterogeneous.
The extra effort demanded of the worker by longer hours is
not the only, and perhaps not even the most important, factor
influencing his efficiency. Extra working hours reduce the time
available to the worker for rest, recreation, and personal affairs.
If the hours spent at work, in traveling, and on necessary per­
sonal business, taken together, do not leave sufficient time for
proper rest and relaxation, the worker’s efficiency will almost

certainly decline. Chronic fatigue o f workers must be carefully
Experience indicates that a schedule of 18 hours per week,
recommended fo r and adopted by most war plants, does not result
on the whole in any serious deterioration in worker efficiency.
Some plants have had success with longer schedules and others
have not. Even a moderate increase in working hours above the
48-hour level may substantially increase strain, fatigue, accident
rates, and absenteeism, and may require great effort from man­
agement to prevent what otherwise might be minor difficulties
from developing into serious problems.
The length of the workweek is determined both by the number
of hours per day and by the number of days per week. If daily
hours are set above the customary eight, a policy of organized
rest periods at regular intervals during the shift may help to sus­
tain output. Lengthy workdays are especially likely to create dif­
ficulties, if the shopping and transportation facilities available to
the workers are limited.
The number o f consecutive days worked may be even more
important than the number of hours, per day. E very worker in
a plant should have regularly scheduled days off. If the facilities
are being operated continuously, provision for this may require
considerable ingenuity in scheduling. Some plants have adopted
a schedule o f five 10-hour days in place o f the more conventional
six 8-hour days, and report that the provision of two consecutive
days off, one necessarily a weekday, more than balances the
effects of the longer workday. Plants operating on such a sched­
ule and reporting to the Bureau of Labor Statistics have a lower
average absenteeism rate than do other plants in. the same

If the shifts do not rotate, most workers prefer assignment
to the regular daytime shift. Since it is preferable to have
employees work the shift of their choice, late-shift work should
be made as attractive as possible. A bonus or differential in pay
is almost essential and will serve as an inducement to some work­
ers. Many of the objections to night work can be eliminated or
minimized by providing night workers with opportunities for
recreation, shopping, and necessary services. It is important that
adequate transportation be available.
Late-shift workers should not be the plant’s “forgotten men.”
They should be able to obtain food and refreshments as readily
as daytime workers. The quality of their supervision should be
as high. They should be able to present grievances or complaints
to responsible quarters with equal convenience. Disregard of this
principle will result in dissatisfaction and inefficiency.
Although it is. not always possible to have employees choose
their shift, it is essential that all workers feel that they have been
treated fairly. Workers are sometimes assigned to shifts on the
basis of seniority, but this method may not always be satisfactory
since it concentrates the most-experienced employees in the first
shift and attaches the stigma of inexperience to late-shift workers.
In some cases, shift assignments may be made by the personnel

department as workers are hired. Workers will accept late-shift
work with a minimum of discontent if it is clear that there is no
discrimination or favoritism.

If shifts are rotated, there is no basis for employees to feel that
they are singled out for unjust treatment. On the other hand, the
rotation of shifts itself creates new problems. If shifts are
changed frequently, many workers will find the continual rear­
rangement of hours difficult and tiring, and efficiency will suffer.
It is usually recommended that shifts be rotated not more fre­
quently than every U weeks, if that often. Service groups should
rotate with production workers in order to maintain established
relationships. Plantwide rotation is important if the workers
rely heavily on share-the-ride clubs for transportation.
Certain workers will regard rotating shift work as wholly un­
acceptable. Plants employing large numbers of women generally
have found that stabilized shift arrangements are preferable.
Women frequently have fixed home responsibilities and will accept
employment only if they can make fairly permanent arrangements
for working hours.

Supervision o f Workers
Foremen and other supervisors are responsible not only for the
technical phases of the operations with which they deal, but also,
in increasing measure, for the administration of a variety o f per­
sonnel duties relating to the employees in their charge. In addi­
tion to training new employees, they must often help them adjust
to their new jobs, explain the importance of their work and its
relationship to the rest of the organization, and indicate promo­
tional possibilities open to them. They explain company policies,
hear employee grievances in the first instance, check on absen­
teeism and turnover, and take general disciplinary measures.
Eesides keeping production and employment records, they some­
times help employees with annuity, tax, and thrift forms. The
status of employee-management relations is largely determined
by the effectiveness of lower-grade supervisors. The foreman is
the representative of management with whom the worker is most
frequently in contact, and the employee’s relations with the fore­
man will strongly affect his relations with the company.
Continual watchfulness is required to maintain satisfactory
supervision. With the pressure for increasing production, the
selection of new supervisors has frequently been made solely on
the basis of technical competence. Actually, the ability to lead and
develop workers is probably more important. Supervisors them­
selves have been inclined to devote a great part of their time to
output, with insufficient attention to the personnel and morale
phases of their work.

In order to maintain an adequate and qualified staff in spite of
both turnover and expansion of employment, systematic plans for
anticipating losses of supervisors and for training replacements

are almost indispensable. Lack of planning will usually result
in a series of minor crises and hasty adjustments when changes
occur. Plans may take any form designed to suit individual com­
pany needs, as long as the nature and extent of forthcoming losses
and possible replacements are compared. Replacements and addi­
tional supervisors can be provided by upgrading within the plant,
new hirings, and transfers from other departments or other plants
of the same company.
If a plant has had extensive turnover among supervisors, active
training will be necessary in order to maintain an adequate quality
o f supervision. The kind and volume of training needed will de­
pend on the particular situation. Training programs designed for
supervisors differ widely from plant to plant. Some are of a
formal classroom type, in which companies present courses of
their own in indoctrination, instruction technique, and personnel
relations. Others are more informal, consisting of regular meet­
ings in which similar material is presented. All material pre­
sented for supervisor training should be prepared carefully as
part of a regular program. Many programs include the War
Manpower Commission Training Within Industry courses. Even
if regular training is not carried on, periodic foremen’s meetings
can help to bring the knowledge of the more effective supervisors
to bear on the problems o f those with less experience.

Plant efficiency w ill inevitably be less than the optimum if the
number of supervisors is inadequate. This condition is more com­
mon than might be thought. Efficient ratios of supervisory to
operating personnel will vary with the complexity o f the work and
with the number of new employees who require close supervision
or training. The adequacy of given supervisory staffs will also
depend, in part, on their technical background and on various sub­
jective factors. Recent experience indicates that about 15 work­
men to 1 nonworking supervisor is a valuable rule-of-thumb
measure, but ratios may vary from 10 to 1 in cases in which
workers require much attention or training up to 20 to 1 if ex­
perienced employees carry out routine tasks. At higher levels,
each individual tends to demand more of the supervisor’s time,
and an official may be forced to choose between undue delays and
unconsidered decisions if more than 6 subordinates regularly re­
port to him.

Unsatisfactory supervision may result from indefinite or vacil­
lating company policies concerning the authority of supervisory
personnel. In plants in which large numbers of new supervisors
have recently been upgraded, managements are frequently hesi­
tant in extending proper authority to supervisors. I f a foreman
is not fully informed concerning his responsibilities, he may be
reluctant to make decisions or he may tend to overstep his au­
thority; either result leads to inefficiency. A supervisor will not
continue to command respect and confidence if he fails to make
decisions or if his decisions are overruled. Whatever jurisdiction
is delegated supervisors with respect to promotion, discipline, and

discharge should be made clear both to them and to their sub­
ordinates. In situations in which there are many new super­
visors, it may be desirable for management to review regularly
the more critical decisions, but this can be done without unduly
restricting authority. Careful indoctrination of new" supervisors
can do much to avoid these difficulties.
Full authority over hiring and firing is seldom extended to fore­
men today. The foreman is usually limited to a recommendation
for discharge, with approval from other officials necessary before
final action. In many plants, foremen participate even less in the
hiring process, and this has some undesirable consequences. A
foreman can hardly be expected to feel full responsibility for the
workers in his charge if he has had no voice whatsoever in their
selection. After initial recruitment and selection by the personnel
department, the final approval of the foreman should probably be
obtained before a new worker is definitely assigned, except when
emergency methods of staffing are necessary. Adoption of this
policy not only carries a clear implication of responsibility but
tends to build up the foreman’s prestige and morale.
The activities o f supervisors should he evaluated periodically.
A convenient method is the assignment of efficiency ratings, al­
though in small plants informal appraisals are sufficient. As an
additional check, management should be alert to indications that
workers are dissatisfied with their supervisor. It is important
for plant personnel to know what recourse is available to an em­
ployee who feels that he has been unfairly treated by a supervisor.

Rates of pay fo r supervisory jobs may require periodic revision
to keep them appreciably above those fo r the employees supervised.
With the addition o f overtime and other allowances to workers’
pay, the latter may sometimes exceed or be approximately equal
to that of their foremen or leadmen. This will cause dissatisfac­
tion and lead to some deterioration in efficiency, and, if generally
known, will to some extent reduce the prestige of the supervisors
among the workers. Inadequate differentials between supervisors’
and workers’ pay are particularly likely to prevail on late or
special shifts. In general, a differential of about 25 percent be­
tween foremen’s and workers’ earnings is considered appropriate.

Plant Organization
A heavy additional burden has been imposed on the manage­
ments of most war plants by the difficulties of operating under
wartime conditions. Old problems relating to production and
labor have been intensified and new ones have been created. In
many cases the strain has been augmented by substantial expan­
sion, which has required changing from the informal relations
characteristic of small plants to the specialized types o f admin­
istration necessary for large-scale operations.
Because of the unremitting pressure of production schedules,
there is frequently a tendency to meet problems on a basis of im­
mediate expediency, rather than of fundamental principles. Under
the circumstances, it is not surprising that various deficiencies in

the management structure occasionally develop and even escape
attention for considerable periods. Successful administration is,
of course, essential to effective labor utilization. The following dis­
cussion indicates a few of the points which appear to be neglected
most frequently.

The basic principles of management organization, although
widely understood, are frequently overlooked in the press of
events, but always at a price. Ordinarily, at the time an enter­
prise is created, a suitable system of organization is selected after
consideration of the functions to be performed and the scale of
operations. Next, functions are grouped into specific jobs, and the
requisite responsibility and authority are allocated to each. Too
frequently, however, it is assumed that this process, once carried
through, is then complete, so that no further attention is needed.
On the contrary, both the organization and the situation sur­
rounding it change daily, and unremitting care is needed to
insure continued efficiency.
The responsibility for meeting any new problems created by
new conditions should be specifically allocated without delay, and
any alterations in or additions to the duties o f officials thus made
necessary should be brought to the attention of others within the
organization promptly. Otherwise, personality and policy con­
flicts will arise if several individuals concurrently assume the
authority to take action. On the other hand, failure of anyone to
assume responsibility may have even more serious consequences.
An organization chart may assist in keeping lines of respon­
sibility and authority clear, but it can hinder this process if it is
not kept up to date. An organization chart is not and can not be
a substitute for a detailed understanding, preferably in writing,
reached with each official and covering the specific limits of his
responsibility and authority. Clarity in the specification o f duties
is essential if problems of divided authority or failure to fulfill
‘duties are to be avoided. The activities of officials should be
checked periodically to make certain that they correspond with
those assigned.
Once lines of authority have been established, they should be
followed regularly. The development of informal arrangements
which tend to circumvent established lines probably indicates
either an imperfection in the organizational structure itself or
failure of some official to meet his responsibilities, thus requiring
others to find some way around him. In either case, a change is
indicated. Time and ingenuity are too precious to waste on cutting
through unnecessary red tape or deadwood.
It is usually conceded that an organization should be built pri­
marily around the job to be done, with flexibility to accommodate
differences in personal abilities, rather than around individuals;
under some circumstances, however, adherence to this principle is
difficult. If the scale of operations has increased substantially, or
if there has been heavy management turnover, there is usually a
tendency to load additional jobs on the more competent members
of the staff. This procedure has temporary advantages, and it
may be necessary in an emergency. However, if it is continued,

it will eventually impair the efficiency o f the entire organization.
The overburdened individuals will find it possible to deal with
many problems only on the basis o f inadequate consideration or
after unreasonable delay, and the results may be worse than if
more details had been entrusted to less-experienced hands.
For reasons similar to those causing uneven distribution o f the
management burden, it is common to find that final authority for
various types of decisions has been moved successively to higher
levels. This may be desirable initially when close supervision over
inexperienced officials seems required, but it is frequently con­
tinued long past the point of necessity. Only through continual
insistence that decisions be made at the lowest possible level can
it be insured that top management channels will not be clogged
with minor detail.
In organizations of the line-and-staff type, expansion may
result in the delegation of line responsibilities to staff members.
The staff is thus progressively weakened to provide persons of
experience and proven ability for operating jobs. Under such
circumstances, the officials concerned cannot be expected to retain
their staff responsibilities. Adequate replacements must be pro­
vided if the efficiency of the organization as a whole is to be
Another common difficulty in line-and-staff organizations is a
gradual increase in the number of steps separating staff and line
officials concerned with common problems. Direct rather than
indirect contact should be encouraged by every means possible.
For example, a personnel interviewer and a foreman may between
them settle a difficult placement problem in a fraction of the time
that would be required if the departmental heads were also to be

Sound working relations with unions or other employee groups
are essential to good labor utilization. Probably a majority of the
topics treated in this study are subject to action through collec-'
tive-bargaining procedures. For example, all questions relating
to wages and working conditions obviously fall in this category.
With the right to collective bargaining recognized and protected
'by law, and with the great majority of war workers covered by
collective-bargaining agreements, the interest of all managements
in this aspect of employer-employee relationships is obvious.
During the war period, labor and management groups in many
plants have gone beyond collective bargaining in the narrow
sense, and into many fields o f cooperative action. There has been
widespread recognition o f a joint interest in the prosecution of the
war, and a realization that a common effort to solve mutual prob­
lems is more likely to prove successful.
Where unions have had the opportunity, many have made out­
standing contributions to better labor utilization. They have
cooperated with management in creating absence-control arrange­
ments, organizing systems for the improvement o f production
methods, administering employee-service plans, establishing
morale-building programs, modifying previously agreed contract
provisions, and in many other ways. In most such cases, the man­

agements of these companies have also demonstrated a genuine
spirit of cooperation with labor, and have evidenced this by imple­
menting collective-bargaining procedures and by sharing both the
right to appraise and the burden o f solving problems of mutual
Neither collective bargaining nor other forms of labor-manage­
ment action can function effectively and to the best interest of
both parties unless the principle of continuing consultation and
action on joint problems as they arise is fully accepted. This im­
plies that joint panels, groups or committees will be established as
needed, and that they will be serviced to the best ability of both
parties. It is essential that those representing management in
such groups be authorized to make commitments, and be able to
guarantee prompt action on points where agreement is obtained,
as far as management is concerned. There will inevitably be hon­
est disagreements, but the means to settle them can usually be
found if the desire to reach agreement is present. Limited or
grudging participation will jeopardize the benefits which may be
obtained through collective action, and at the same time will avoid
no single problem of employee-management relationships.

Unsettled grievances, real or imaginary, lower morale and effi­
ciency. It is of great importance to employees to know that they
may obtain, without fear of reprisal, prompt and just considera­
tion of any complaints which they may have. Under present man­
power controls which limit the freedom of the worker to seek
other employment, it is more important than ever that accumula­
tions of grievances do not provide a focal point for discontent.
Accordingly, an organized procedure for adjusting grievances is
virtually a necessity in any large plant, and formal grievance
plans are almost universally incorporated in union agreements.
These differ in their specific provisions, but the details are less
important than that the established procedures function smoothly
and speedily.
A grievance plan is largely what management makes of it. If
it is regarded as a troublesome formality, if hearings are per­
mitted to degenerate into long discussions of trivial issues, if
delays and postponements are common, the entire purpose of the
arrangement may be defeated. Instead of wholesomely clearing
the air, the grievance procedure will itself become an additional
cause for dissatisfaction. If, on the other hand, management
representatives approach grievance questions with a real determi­
nation to reach a fair understanding promptly, and with a will­
ingness to go at least half way to seek it, the grievance procedure
may have an uplifting influence on all phases o f employee rela­

The experience o f most plant managers was mainly acquired
during a period when the supply of labor was more than ade­
quate and, consequently, when there was less emphasis on full
labor utilization. Perhaps for this reason, many seem to feel that

problems relating to labor are less pressing than others, and
accordingly that consideration of them may be safely deferred.
In many cases this has resulted in prolonged and indefinite delays
in the establishment of comprehensive policies and adequate pro­
grams of action on labor questions. More instances of extremely
poor labor utilization can probably be traced to such dilatory atti­
tudes than to any other single factor. The broader labor problems
should be treated in the same way as other important questions
which confront management; they should be carefully considered,
and appropriate policies and programs should be agreed to and
implemented promptly.
In all but the smallest plants, maximum utilization of employee
effort will require specialized attention within the management to
various particular activities relating to labor. Among the activi­
ties which recent industrial experience indicates are sufficiently
important to demand such attention are the following: Recruit­
ment and selection of workers, coordination of production and
employment programs, training, personnel counseling, termina­
tion interviews, draft-deferment procedures, working conditions,
safety, grievance procedures, employee-suggestion programs, and
employee-service programs. The clear imposition on an appropri­
ate individual of full responsibility for any of these activities that
are carried on is one o f the most important steps toward insuring
effective administration. The establishment of proper channels of
responsibility also facilitates a routine check on performance and
helps to avoid indefinite policies and ineffective procedures.
Plant Methods
The amount o f production obtained from a particular facility
with a given expenditure of labor will depend more directly on
operating procedures and manufacturing techniques than on any
other factors. At the same time, this phase of labor utilization
is one o f the most difficult to judge.
The most satisfactory method of appraising the over-all effi­
ciency o f plant methods is by direct comparison of records of out­
put per man-hour with similar records for a representative selec­
tion of other plants or departments performing substantially the
same job. However, such measures are rarely available, and then
usually only as the result of special studies. Moreover, it should
be remarked that records of man-hour output cannot be used
without additional information to distinguish between ineffective
use o f labor and unsatisfactory manufacturing techniques. For
example, an average showing might represent inefficient use of
modem equipment or excellent use of less up-to-date facilities.
The distinction is important during the war period, because it has
been necessary for many plants to use equipment which is not the
best for the purpose.
In the absence of comparative records of man-hour output, it is
usually necessary to rely on the judgment of men who, through
education, experience, and familiarity with current technical
literature, are qualified to appraise the relative effectiveness o f
different materials, methods, and machines which might be used
in carrying out the plant’s manufacturing functions. The ability

of management to develop such men within the staff has an im­
portant bearing on a plant’s chances of continued success.
Periodic measurements of output per man-hour for a plant or
for departments within it, even if comparative data are not avail­
able, may help in establishing and checking unfavorable trends in
the efficiency of labor use. Such records are sometimes developed
directly and in other cases as byproducts of cost figures. With
intelligent use they can become a valuable management tool.

In general, specific plant practices can be appraised only on the
basis of detailed information obtained on the spot. Inefficient
plant methods are in many cases due to lack of the same man­
agement follow-through that would be devoted to, say, a sales or
financing problem. For maximum effectiveness, the improvement
of production methods must be a continuing job, definitely as­
signed. Only unflagging attention can insure that a plant will
remain abreast of the improvements which are being made con­
stantly in materials, methods, and machines. The same alertness
is required in order to realize upon the possibilities for improve­
ment within the plant itself. Elimination of unnecessary handling
of work in process, use of work-holding devices which save posi­
tioning time or which permit simultaneous work on several pieces,
use of jigs to save time and conserve skills, elimination of unneces­
sary operations, simplification and rationalization of work pro­
cedures, and development of multiple-operation equipment consti­
tute a few of the ways in which plants have reduced their needs
for additional workers during the war period.
The function of improving plant practices, sometimes called
production or industrial engineering, should be differentiated
carefully from production control. The purpose of production con­
trol is to insure that the manufacturing process continues
smoothly under existing techniques. It should also be distin­
guished from efforts to improve the design o f the product itself.
The work of the design department may influence production
methods, but this is incidental to the main objective. It is hardly
necessary to point out that, although these functions should be
clearly separated and responsibility for carrying them out should
be definitely allocated, they must at the same time be closely
The maximum benefit from courses designed to help supervisors
make improvements in work procedures, such as the course on
Job Methods training of the WMC Training Within Industry pro­
gram, can probably be secured when the necessary follow-up is
carried out by those responsible for improving efficiency. A pro­
duction-engineering group also forms the appropriate nucleus for
the establishment o f effective employee-suggestion programs.
A regular procedure for implementing the work o f an indus­
trial- or production-engineering department is necessary if the
greatest possible return for this effort is to be achieved. During
the earlier stages of munitions production, major emphasis was
on manufacture in quantity at any cost. In that period, changes
which might have resulted in the more economical use of labor
were sometimes rejected because it was felt that they might

interfere, even if temporarily, with regular production. Today,
need for economy in the use of labor is clearly evident.

Labor utilization suffers most directly when workers stand idle
in the plant. The prevention of lost time must begin with informa­
tion on its extent and frequency. Some companies depend on
knowledge informally conveyed. Others require regular reports
to a responsible management official on all time lost by workers,
and in some cases it is required that the reports cover idle ma­
chine time as well. Such reports should lead to corrective action,
mainly to prevent recurrence.
To illustrate, a smoothly operating plant must maintain suffi­
cient inventories of parts, materials, and components to insure
that production flow is not delayed by deficiencies. This in turn
requires that a company establish a schedule of deliveries in ad­
vance of need on all purchases. If lost-time records indicate that
production delays are caused by shortages o f materials, it should
be established whether the situation is due to failure o f the com­
pany’s procurement policy or stock-control system, or to factors
beyond the company’s control.
Again, it is an accepted principle that maintenance o f a reserve
o f work to be done at each work station is desirable. The amount
should be sufficient to prevent minor delays at one stage of pro­
duction from resulting in idleness o f workers at others. Repeated
instances of idleness or lost time may indicate inadequate pro­
vision for such contingencies, or that production control is not
functioning satisfactorily.
A record of frequent machine breakdowns may indicate im­
proper maintenance. The responsibility for maintenance o f
machinery and equipment should be clearly designated, and when­
ever possible maintenance should be scheduled during periods
when machines are not expected to be in use.
If workers are unavoidably idle, various courses of action are
open to management. The workers may be left on the production
floor, laid off temporarily, shifted to other work, or given addi­
tional training. The last two possibilities will usually require ad­
vance planning. Perhaps the worst course is to let it appear that
management is unaware of or indifferent to the situation. The
extent of idle time and the company’s response to it can have a
profound effect on worker morale and the general tempo o f pro­
duction throughout the entire plant.

Inspections are made to assure the consumer of a product meet­
ing his specifications, to control production procedures within de­
sired limits, and to prevent the waste of man and machine time
through further work on defective parts. The last objective is
sometimes overlooked. A check may reveal that inspections are
too infrequent between processes, or that existing procedures do
not provide means whereby any unusually high proportion of re­
jected work leads promptly to investigation of the causes and cor­
rective action.


It is universally accepted that plant layout should be such as to
require a minimum amount of movement of work between suc­
cessive work stations, and that storage bins and concentration
points should wherever possible be located between work stations
rather than in more remote parts of the plant. A substantial
amount o f backtracking in the flow of work usually indicates poor
War production has required expansion in many plants, and it
has sometimes been difficult to avoid piecemeal- additions and com­
plicated layouts. Correction of major faults in layout may be
impractical if substantial alterations are required. On the other
hand, a systematic examination may reveal a number of possi­
bilities for smaller but significant improvements which require
only minor changes In arrangement.

Working Conditions and Safety

Poor lighting, inadequate ventilation, or excessive noise w ill cut
employee productivity as surely as poor tools, defective materials,
or spotty supervision. In many cases, management may be un­
aware of defects in the working environment simply because no
effort has been made to discover them. In others, known defects
may be perpetuated because responsibility for their correction has
not been allocated. A systematic appraisal of working conditions
and a regular procedure for the correction o f faults will pay divi­
dends in greater productivity, higher morale, and better employee
relations. It is to be remembered that desirable standards of
lighting, heating, ventilation, and noise control depend on the type
of work being done, and will vary from section to section in the
same plant. It is clear that a detailed study rather than a casual
inspection is essential. In many cases, union committees or other
employee representatives may be most helpful in bringing condi­
tions requiring correction to the attention of management.
A worker uses no tool as often as he uses his eyes. Accordingly,
protecting and improving the efficiency o f sight must rank high
among the objectives o f a program for improving working condi­
tions. The proper level o f illumination depends on the job. The
manufacture or assembly of small parts, for example, demands
more light on the work area than does the handling of stock parts
in a warehouse. With good lighting, glare is minimized. Deep
shadows are avoided, since they cause accidents as well as eyestrain. Because of their large illuminating area, fluorescent-type
light sources have been much used recently to prevent glare and
control shadows, but the same objectives may be reached with
proper use of incandescent sources. Monochromatic lights, such
as sodium vapor lamps, may be useful where the highest possible
visual acuity is demanded for short periods. In some plants, ef­
fective use has been made of contrasting colors to improve visi­
bility. Work areas are painted to contrast with work pieces, and
danger spots are marked by bright colors. Light walls in neutral

tints help to maintain high lighting efficiency without distracting
the worker’s attention. Details o f recommended practices with
respect to industrial lighting may be obtained from the Division
of Labor Standards, U. S. Department of Labor.
Where possible, room temperature should be adjusted in accord­
ance with the physical activity of workers. A strategically placed
exhaust fan may substantially reduce discomfort and increase
efficiency in “ hot spots” near furnaces or high-temperature equip­
ment. Adequate ventilation is especially important where fumes
are encountered. Air conditioning, adopted in many plants be­
cause o f production necessities (for example, in plants making
lenses, textiles, and precision metal parts), has been found to
yield added benefits in terms o f greater worker efficiency. An in­
creasing number of installations because of this latter effect is to
be expected.
Loud or monotonous noises cause nervous fatigue, and may con­
tribute to accidents by masking audible warnings. Measures used
to reduce unnecessarily high noise levels include cushioning o f
machines on resilient pads and isolation of exceptionally noisy
machines from the main plant area. If the latter is impractical,
a similar effect may sometimes be achieved by placing the equip­
ment in soundproofed booths. Application of sound-absorbing
materials to walls and ceilings, common in offices, also has a place
in factories. Relief of fatigue and nervous tension during rest
pauses and lunch periods is an objective which may be defeated
by excessive noise. The entire atmosphere of a plant cafeteria has
been changed by soundproofing. In some plants, music has been
found to increase worker efficiency. Music has been especially
useful in countering monotony without adding appreciably to the
general noise level.
Many other aspects of the plant environment deserve careful
attention. Cafeterias or canteens should be clean and attractive.
Sanitary facilities, washrooms and locker rooms should be clean,
convenient, and adequate. Neatly kept floors, aisles, and work
areas encourage neat work habits and help to prevent accidents.
Windows should be washed regularly and replaced promptly when
broken. Bulletin boards should be conveniently located and kept
free of obsolete material. Since the attitude of the worker will
inevitably reflect his environment to some extent, cheerful and
efficient surroundings are necessary if maximum efficiency is to
be achieved.
Advice or recommended standards with respect to many phases
of working conditions may be obtained from the Division of Labor
Standards, U. S. Department of Labor, Washington 25, D. C.,
from the American Standards Association, 70 E. 45th St., New
York 17, N. Y .; and from the American Management Association,
330 W. 42nd St., New York, N. Y. Standards relating especially
to the employment of women may be obtained from the Women’s
Bureau, U. S. Department of Labor, Washington 25, D. C.

Aside from humanitarian considerations, accidents interrupt
production, cost money, and result in the temporary or permanent
loss to the employer of the services of experienced workers. Un­

safe working conditions lower morale and cut productive effi­
ciency, since a worker cannot give his full attention to the job
under such circumstances. Accordingly, safety programs have
generally become a fixture in company policy. In many large
plants, safety programs are maintained by full-time safety en­
The safety record of a plant may be judged by comparing its
accident rate with the average for similar establishments. In­
structions for computing such rates and comparative figures may
be obtained from the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In various
war industries, accident-frequency rates have recently ranged
from less than 10 to more than 40 disabling injuries per million
man-hours worked (see Appendix, table 4).
An adequate safety program should include four principal
1. Safe plant conditions.— As far as possible, the plant should
be made a safe place in which to work. For example, machines
should have safety guards wherever possible. Workers should not
be exposed to dangerous fumes or dusts, and should be protected
against irritants and poisonous substances. Fire hazards should
be eliminated, and adequate fire-fighting equipment should be
available. Danger spots should be enclosed and adequate warn­
ings posted. Where necessary, goggles and safety clothing should
be provided, and workers should be required to use them. Most
companies have issued special safety rules governing the clothing
of women employees.
2. Safety education.— The employment of large numbers of
workers who have had no previous factory experience has made
it necessary for management to emphasize even the most ele­
mentary aspects o f safe work habits. Many companies issue to
new workers small booklets which contain instructions regarding
the prevention of fire, the administration of first aid, the protec­
tion of the plant against sabotage, the correct methods of handling
various tools and machines, and general good housekeeping. Usu­
ally, management does not rely solely on printed material dealing
with safe practices; demonstrations and lectures supplemented
with slides and movies are frequently used. Supervisors should
be responsible for the proper education in safety procedures of
the workers in their charge, and should see that unsafe methods
are not followed.
3. First aid.— In the event of an accident, it should be possible
for the injured to receive prompt and intelligent assistance.
Supplementing the plant’s medical staff, there should be*available
in each section of the plant at least one person with accredited
first-aid training. First-aid cabinets should be strategically placed
throughout the plant. These steps are especially important in
plants without a full-time nurse or doctor on each shift.
4. Accident reports.— To prevent recurrence, there should be a
follow-up on every accident. A responsible official should receive
a report on every injury, no matter how slight. It should be his
duty to investigate the circumstances and, if the accident appears
preventable, recommend steps which will prevent any similar
happening in the future. Any other course approaches a de­
liberate refusal to profit from experience.

Information or advice on many aspects of plant safety or safety
education may be obtained from the Division of Labor Standards,
U. S. Department of Labor, Washington 25, D. C.; from the
National Safety Council, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago 6, 111.; and
from the American Standards Association, 70 E. 45th St., New
York 17, N. Y. Assistance may also be obtained from a number
of State labor departments through their factory-inspection
E m p loyee M orale

Morale, or the general attitude of a worker toward his job,
affects production in numerous ways. Poor morale may render
otherwise good production methods ineffective, while high morale
has often resulted in exceptional levels of output under the most
difficult conditions. Low worker morale is an important cause of
high labor turnover, excessive absenteeism, and unsatisfactory
productivity. In general, good morale implies a sense of common
interest and common direction of effort among persons at every
level who make up the organization.
There is no objective way of determining the status of morale.
To reach a well-founded judgment, all possible avenues of in­
formation should be exploited. Impressions may be obtained
from talks with supervisors, union officials, and employees. The
reports of personnel counselors and those who conduct exit inter­
views may be of assistance.
It is to be remembered that it is possible for the general level of
morale to be satisfactory while that of certain groups of workers
is low. There may be morale differences between older and newer
workers, between office and plant employees, or between workers
and supervisors. Women may feel that they have less chance of
promotion. Racial or national minorities may have low morale
because of real or imagined discriminatory practices. Manage­
ment should be alert to all such differences as well as to changes
in the general level of morale.
Morale affects production, but the reverse is likewise true. Im­
proper scheduling, delays in receiving tools or materials, ineffi­
cient production methods and the like may lower morale and
create attitudes of indifference. The personal problems of work­
ers will also influence morale. To the extent that these are of a
community nature (housing, transportation, child care, shopping)
management may be able to assist in their solution.
Morale* cannot be built up by a single good practice, but it may
be destroyed by a bad one. Grievance machinery, labor-manage­
ment committees, employee-suggestion systems, vacation schedul­
ing, promotion and upgrading systems, employee-recreation pro­
grams— all such activities may contribute to good morale and
some may be essential to its existence. The improper functioning
of any one, however, may largely invalidate the good effects of
excellent administration of all the others. In fact, the smooth and
effective operation of a program may be of greater importance
than whether it exists. It is also to be remembered that the real
usefulness of a practice or an activity may have less effect on
morale than does what workers and management believe about it.

Few human institutions operate consistently at maximum effi­
ciency. At the same time, few are wholly inefficient. Thus, it is
seldom that the administration of any single activity is so defec­
tive as by itself to impair the general level of morale. More com­
monly, the most troublesome morale problems result from an ac­
cumulation of minor irritations. The only remedy is unremitting
attention to the small personal details of day-to-day operations.
The above discussion has dealt primarily with factors which
may depress morale. The detection and elimination of these in­
fluences is extremely important but the mere absence of such fac­
tors does not guarantee that morale will be high. There are two
general conditions which seem essential to this achievement, and
they indicate the lines along which an effective morale-building
program may be built:
1. The employee must he convinced that the plant is doing
efficiently a useful job. It is evident that before the employee can
have such a conviction, the plant must really be functioning
properly. There are few stockholders as critical of inefficiency as
the average worker. Most workers have ample opportunity to
observe any malfunctioning, but little chance to appraise the end
result of their joint efforts. Many companies have made strong
efforts to remedy this unbalance. Employees are informed re­
garding the job being done by each part of the organization, and
the essential character of each unit’s contribution is emphasized.
Reports on the performance in actual service of the firm’s products
are secured and widely publicized. Bulletin boards, posters,
movies, employee publications, and speeches may be used. Re­
cently, some large establishments have made a regular practice
of distributing an annual report on operations to each employee.
2. The employee must he convinced that he is personally con­
tributing to the joint objective, and that his contribution is recog­
nized. Any factor which tends to make the worker feel cut off or
separated from the rest of the organization will impair his morale.
For example, it will tend to diminish the worker’s sense of iden­
tity of interest if- he is not given satisfactory explanations for
periods of idleness or for sudden changes in set routines. The
same thing occurs if he feels that good work on his part is not
appreciated, that his skills and abilities are not being fully utilized,
or that favoritism is operating against him. Above all, it must
be realized that the important factor is not the actual situation
but rather what the employee feels about it. In all the cases men­
tioned above, the proper course of action is clear. A supervisor
should keep the workers for whom he is responsible informed
about impending changes which may affect them, as well, as about
the reasons for changes. He should give ungrudging praise for
work well done. He should attempt to adjust cases of malutilization of skills. (The very effort will in many cases prevent dis­
content.) In general, the extent to which a worker develops a
sense of participation will depend particularly on his relations
with his immediate supervisor. The supervisor who fails to meet
the worker’s problems or who does not satisfy the human aspects
of these problems will cut the worker off from the organization.
Another supervisor may use the same problems as a means for
knitting the individual more closely into the organization. An im­

portant part of building morale is to insure that the human aspects
of supervision are not neglected at any level. The Job Relations
Training courses of the WMC Training Within Industry program,
are aimed directly at this problem, and may suggest the outlines
of more elaborate company-planned programs.
A business in which an efficient framework of routine obliga­
tions and responsibilities has been created and which is staffed
by competent persons is said to be well-organized, and it is fre­
quently likened to a smoothly running machine. However, the
cogs in a production organization are not machine parts; they are
individuals who will function best if treated like human beings
rather than as impersonal sections of a mechanism. It is not
enough simply to remove morale-depressing influences. Funda­
mental to high morale and maximum efficiency is the creation of
mutual trust, mutual respect, and, if possible, mutual liking be­
tween all the individuals who make up the organization.

T able

1.—Average Absence Rates1 in Selected Industries, in Specified Months,
and First and Third Quartiles of Distribution of Wage Earners
by Absence Rates in November 1944
Average absence rate


November, 1944:
Absence rates




quartile 2

quartile *

. . . __
Fire-control equipment___________







Small-arms ammunition__________
Petroleum refining_______________
Miscellaneous iron and steel products____ ______________________
Blast furnaces, steel works and roll­
ing mills-.____________________
Foundries (ferrous)_______________



















Steel forgings____________________
Screw-machine products__________
Smelting and refining of nonferrous
metals_________ _______________
Nonferrous metal products________
Nonferrous metal foundries_______













Miscellaneous machinery_________
Engines except aero-engines_______
Metal working machinery_________
Electrical machinery except radio
and communications equipment-_
Radio and communications equip­
















5.7 '



Aircraft propellers________________
Aircraft parts____________________


9 .0





Average, above industries—











Instruments and optical equipment ..

Metal mining____________________
Anthracite mining________________
Bituminous-coal mining___________

1Absence rate is denned as whole days of work lost by wage earners because of absences, whether
excused or unexcused, as percent of man-days scheduled. Workers on strike or on a regularly scheduled
vacation are not considered to be scheduled to work or as absent. #Reports cover about 5,000 establish­
ments employing more than 5 million wage earners. Data are mainly for week ending nearest the 15th
of the month, but a few reports referring to other periods are included.
2Establishments employing 25 percent of the total number of wage earners covered in each industry
reported absence rates equal to or less than the figures shown in this column.
* Establishments employing 25 percent of the total number of wage earners covered in each industry
reported absence rates equaHn or more than the figures shown in this column.

T able 2.—Monthly Labor-Turnover Rates (Per 100 Employees), for Men and Women


in Selected Industries Engaged in War Production November 19441


Total separation


Total accession

Quit rate




Guns* howitzers, mortars, and related equip­
Ammunition, except small-arms............ ........
Sighting and fire-control equipment________
Blast furnaces, steel works, and rolling mills.






Gray-iron castings ___________________
Malleable-iron castings______________
Steel castings____ ___________________
Cast-iron pipe and fittings___________
Firearms, 60-caliber and under..............







Electrical equipment for industrial use_____
Radios, radio equipment, and phonographs. _
Communication equipment, except radios__
Engines and turbines______________________
Machine tools____________________________
Machine-tool accessories__________________







Metalworking machinery and equipment, not
elsewhere classified______________________
General industrial machinery, except pumps.
Aircraft_________________ _____ ___________
Aircraft parts_______ _______ _______ _____ _
Shipbuilding and repairs________ __________







Primary smelting and refining, except alumi­
num and magnesium___________________
Aluminum and magnesium smelting and re­
fining____________________________ _____ _
Rolling and drawing of copper and copper
alloys........................... *_.............................. .
Aluminum and magnesium products_______
Nonferrous-metal foundries, except alumi­
num and magnesium___________________
Industrial chemicals, except explosives......
Small-arms ammunition____ _______ ______ _








2 .6





6 .1














1Turnover rates for men and women combined are available for about 90 industries.





T able 3.—Women as Percent of Total Wage Earners November 1943 and 1944


and Extent of Late-Shift Work November 1944 in Selected Industries
Women as percent
of total
wage earners




Number of man-days of
work scheduled per 100
man-days scheduled on
first daylight shift,
November 1944
Second shift

Third shift

Ammunition____ _______ ___________________
Fire-control equipment_____________________
Firearms_________________ _________________





Small-arms ammunition____________________
Petroleum refining_________ ________ _______
Miscellaneous iron and steel products......... ..
Blast furnaces, steel works, and rolling mills . .





Foundries (ferrous metal)___________ _____
Steel forgings______________________________
Screw-machine products------ ----------------------Smelting and refining of nonferrous metals—
Nonferrous-metal products--------------------------





Nonferrous-metal foundries_________________
Miscellaneous machinery----------------------------Engines except aero-engines. ...........................
Metalworking machinery............... ......... .........
Electrical machinery, except radio and com­
munications equipment----------------------------









Radio and communications equipment--------Airframes__________________________ _______
Aircraft propellers__________________________
Aircraft parts______________________________
Shipbuilding________________ _________ _____





Automotive__________________ ______ _______
Instruments and optical equipment--------------Metal mining_______________ _____ _________
Anthracite mining__________________________
Bituminous-coal mining____________________ 1





T able 4.

—Industrial-Injury Frequency Rates1 for Selected Manufacturing Industries,
1943 and First Three Quarters of 1944






Agricultural machinery and tractors
Aircraft parts________ _____ ______
Ammunition, 20 mm. and over____
Ammunition, small-arms__________
Chemicals, industrial_____________
Construction and mining machinery
Electrical equipment and supplies..
Engines and turbines_____________
Forgings, iron and steel___________
Foundries, iron and steel.................
General industrial machinery..........



Guns and related equipment_____
Iron and steel_____________ _____
Machine shops, general__________
Metalworking machinery________
Motor vehicles_________ _______
Nonferrous-metal products_______
Radios and phonographs_________
Sighting and fire-control equipment
Small arms
Tanks, military_________________
Tools, except edge tools__________
Wire and wire products__________




1The frequency rate represents the average number of disabling industrial injuries for each million
employee-hours worked. Similar information is available for about 60 additional industries.

T able 5.—Earnings and Hours in Selected Industries, November 1943 and 19441
Average weekly

Average hourly

Average weekly



Blast furnaces, steel works, and roll­
ing mills_________________________
Gray-iron and semisteel castings____
Mafleable-iron castings-------------------Steel castings---------------------------------Forgings, iron and steel. ------------------







Screw-machine products and wood
Electrical equipment-----------------------Radios and phonographs-----------------Communication equipment---------------



















Machinery and machine-shop prod­
Engines and turbines----------------------Machine tools--------------------------------Aircraft and parts, excluding aircraft
engines---------------------------------------Aircraft engines------------------------------Shipbuilding and boatbuilding---------Smelting and refining, primary, of
nonferrous metals------------------------Alloying and rolling and drawing of
nonferrous metals except aluminum
Aluminum manufactures-----------------Chemicals__________________________

























Explosives and safety fuses--------------Ammunition, small-arms......................
Petroleum refining---- --------- -----------Coke and byproducts---------------------Professional and scientific # instru­
ments and fire-control equipment-_












Anthracite mining_________ ________
Bituminous-coal mining------------------Metal mining---------------------------------Crude-petroleum production----------







1Similar information is available monthly for about 125 additional industries.


: 1945--- 630855


R e g io n

R e g io n

R e g io n
Wendell D. Macdonald, Di­
Old South Building
294 Washington Street
Boston 8, Mass.
Charles C. Center, Director
1000 Parcel Post Building
841 Ninth Avenue
New York 1, N. Y.

R eg io n
Adolph 0. Berger, Regional
420 Williamson Building
Public Square
Cleveland 14, Ohio

R eg io n
Detroit Branch
Randle E. Dahl, Regional
1108 Francis Palms Building
2111 Woodward Avenue
Detroit 1, Mich.
R e g io n

Harris P. Dawson, Jr., Di­
308 Carl Witt Building
249 Peachtree Street, NE.
Atlanta 3, Ga.

Arthur A. Smith, Director
522 Irwin-Keasler Building
Commerce and Ervay Streets
Dallas 1, Tex.

Kansas City Branch
Odis C. Clark, Regional Ana­
3000 Fidelity Building
Kansas City 6, Mo.

Philadelphia Branch
R eg io n
Kermit B. Mohn, Regional
814 Widener Building
Chestnut and Juniper Streets
Philadelphia 7, Pa.
R e g io n


John B. Parrish, Director/
302 National War Agencies
226 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago 6, 111.
Louis M. Solomon, Director
406 Burns Vault Building
1536 Welton Street
Denver 2, Colo.
William A. Bledsoe, Director
643 Furniture Mart
1355 Market Street
San Francisco 3, Calif.

Seattle Branch
J. W. C. Harper, Regional
516 Seaboard Building
Seattle 1, Wash.