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ROYAL MEEKER, Commissioner




S E R IE S :

L A }* *








Proceedings of the conference.................................................................................
Informal addresses............................................................................................
Meyer Bloomfield, director of the Vocation Bureau, Boston, Mass.......
Ethelbert Stewart, of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics....
A. Lincoln Filene. of William Filene’s Sons Co....................................
Edwin Mulready, commissioner of labor of Massachusetts....................
Mr. W. S. Field, director of evening schools..........................................
Sources of supply and means of getting in touch with them, by H. B.
Coho, director of efficiency. United States Cartridge Co...........................
Mr. Sparrow, of the Hood Rubber Co......................................................
H. B. Coho.................................................................................................
Selection and examination of employees, by Dale G. Steely, of W. F.
Schrafft & Sons Corporation.........................................................................
Job analysis, by Philip J. Reilly, of the Dennison Manufacturing C o..
Psychological tests, by H. L. Gardner, of Cheney Bros.......................
Training, promotion, transfer, and discharge, by J. M. Larkin, of the
Fore River Shipbuilding Corporation....'...........................................
Meyer Bloomfield......................................................................................
W. L. Shaw, of the W. H. McElwain C o................................................
Records and filing systems for employment departments, by W. C. Swal­
low, of the Amoskeag Manufacturing Co.....................................................
H, L. Gardner, of Cheney Bros.................................................................
Mr. Shumway, of the American Optical Co............................................
Ralph G. Wells, secretary Employment Managers’ Association...........
Address by Prof. Paul H. Hanus.....................................................................
Selection and development of employees, by T. K. Cory, of William Filene’s
Sons Co...........................................................................................................
Improving the efficiency and quality of personnel, by H. G. Smith, vice
president and general manager of the Fore River Shipbuilding Corpora­
tion ................................................................................................................
The employment department; its functions and scope, by H. L. Gardner,
employment manager of Cheney B ros........................................................
Methods of reducing the labor turnover, by Henry S. Dennison, of the
Deunison Manufacturing Co..........................................................................
Employment department of the Curtis Publishing Co., by R. C. Clothier,
manager, employment department, Curtis Publishing Co.........................
C. H. Hood, of H. B. Hood & Sons..........................................................
James Logan........................... ..............................................................


5, 6
25, 26
26, 27
27, 28
28, 29
30, 31
38, 39
40, 41




WHOLE NO. 202.




The Conference of the Employment Managers’ Association of
Boston, held in Boston, Mass., May 10, 1916, developed directly from
the Employment Managers’ Conference held in Minneapolis, Jan­
uary 19 and 20, 1916, under the auspices of the National Society for
the Promotion of Industrial Education and the Minneapolis Civic
and Commerce Association, the proceedings of which Were published
by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its Bulletin 196. While the
name of the Boston association would indicate that its membership
was restricted to Boston, its territory, in fact, comprises the whole of
New England. Invitations to attend this conference were sent to a
large number of people outside of Massachusetts. The result was a
surprise to all concerned. There were representatives from nine
States, namely, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island,
Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.
The officers of the Employment Managers’ Association of Boston
are as follows:

President, Charles M. Lawrence, of Thomas G. Plant Co., Jamaica Plain.
First vice president, Dale G. Steely, of W. F. Schrafft & Sons, Boston.
Second vice president, Philip J. Reilly, of the Dennison Manufacturing Co.,

Third vice president, Carlton T. Bridgham, of Bird & Son, East Walpole.
Treasw erf E. O’Callaghan, of the Bay State Street R ailway Co., Boston.
Secretary , Ralph G. W ells, 178 Devonshire Street, Boston.
The object of the conference was to bring together those active in
the work of employment management for the purpose of interchang­
ing ideas and experiences. There was a realization that in many
establishments there are men who are endeavoring to work out alone
similar problems and who would appreciate the opportunity of such




a meeting, for there is a lack of adequate literature or other recog­
nized sources of information to which the individual may turn when
he desires to secure the benefit of experiences other than his own.
In fact, one of the chief advantages of such a conference is to crystal­
lize the best thought of the moment into definite form, that it may
be available for others who have not had the opportunity of coming
in contact with those of more experience.
The question of organized methods of “ hiring and firing ” is not
new, and for years many of the principal firms have had employ­
ment departments, but only within the last four years have business
men realized that the subject deserved detailed study and was pos­
sessed of such surprising possibilities of improvement and develop­
The program of the conference given below illustrates well the
progress that has been made in placing the movement on a practical
basis, and is proof that the functionalized personnel department is no
longer an academic proposal but an accepted fundamental in suc­
cessful business organization.
P rogram .


Luncheon, 1 p. m., President C. M. Lawrence presiding.
Conference, 2 p. m., four 15-minute papers, each followed by an informal
discussion; W. S. Fields presiding.
“ Sources of supply and means of getting in touch with them,” H. B. Coho,
United States Cartridge Co.
“ Selection and examination of employees,” Dale G. Steely, W. F. Schrafft &
Sons Corporation.
“ Training, promotion, transfer, discharge,” J. M. Larkin, Fore River Ship­
building Corporation.
“ Records and filing systems for employment departments,” W. C. Swallow,
Amoskeag Manufacturing Co.
Banquet, 6.30 p. m., President Charles M. Lawrence presiding; James P.
Munroe, toastmaster.
“ Selection and development of employees,” T. K. Cory, William Filene’s Sons
“ Improving the efficiency and quality of the personnel,” H. G. Smith, general
manager Fore River Shipbuilding Corporation.
“ Methods of reducing the labor turnover,” Henry S. Dennison, treasurer
Dennison Manufacturing Co.
“ The employment department, its functions and scope,” H. L. Gardner, em­
ployment manager Cheney Bros.

The conference opened with a luncheon at the Boston City Club.
At 2 o’clock p. m., at the conclusion of the luncheon, and before
adjourning to the conference room for the first regular session, a
few brief addresses of welcome and congratulation were delivered.
President Charles M. Lawrence, of the Boston Employment Mana­
gers’ Association, presided.

Mr. M e y e r B l o o m f i e l d , of the Vocation Bureau.—I am not going
to make a speech. In the first place, may I say, as a member of the
Employment Managers’ Association, that we welcome you here.
Some of you were present at the Minneapolis conference last No­
vember. From that gathering has developed a national movement.
It started in Boston four and a half years ago, and following came
New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, San Fran­
cisco, and perhaps a number of others that I have not heard of. We
hope to have a national convention and then a permanent organiza­
tion of those interested in personnel problems. While the field is
new, there is an immense amount of material.
I had hoped that a certain book would be ready for to-day, but it
will not be out for a few days. I refer to the May number of the
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science,
published by the University of Pennsylvania. The May number is
given over to articles by employers and contains over 300 pages of
valuable material.
Mr. E t h e l b e r t S t e w a r t , of the United States Bureau of Labor
Statistics.—I certainly did not expect to be called upon to speak at
this conference. I can only tell you what the Bureau of Labor Sta­
tistics at Washington is attempting to do along the lines in which
you are interested.
The bureau began to do the field work for a report on the labor
turnover or the hiring and firing of men about six months ago. The
field work is now finished, the tabulation is practically complete, and
I am beginning to outline the final report.
We have in press the proceedings of the Minneapolis Conference
of Employment Managers, which will soon be ready to mail, and I
am glad to find that I can get the names and addresses of the gentle­
men here, so that these reports can be sent to each of you.




Perhaps I had better explain why we became so interested in this
subject of the labor turnover. The Secretary of Labor instructed
us to make a study of unemployment. We soon came up against the
fact that the problem of unemployment was seriously affected by men
hunting for jobs; by the shifting of the labor force. Of course, we at
once drifted into the question of the turnover or the “ hiring and
firing” of men; hence the special study that is being made by the
We had not gone far before we became aware that the volume of
turnover was simply staggering. I f men do not lose more than two
weeks between jobs on the average, nevertheless the total unemploy­
ment having this job hunting as its source is appalling.
I shall not go into the figures we have secured on the volume of
turnover, some firms running over 400 per cent. You all know that
When we became convinced that the enormous and unnecessary
labor turnover could be taken for granted, we next tried to get the
reasons for such turnover, and then what is being done to check it.
I confess that this conference, with its large attendance of men
from nine States—men who employ thousands of men and women
each month, representing, hundreds of the largest and most progres­
sive employers in New England—this conference is the best evidence
1 have seen of the interest there is in checking the unnecessary and
wasteful turnover. You prove by your presence here that your firms
have moved away from the old and yet too common idea that it is a
good thing to have a large surplus of casual workers on the pay roll,
men hanging around, so that no one will have work all the time.
The old idea was to keep workmen pretty well filled with fear;
your presence here shows that you and the firms you represent believe
the better policy is to keep them pretty well filled with hope. This
will check the turnover, this will stabilize your labor force, this will
reduce to a minimum the annoying and expensive hiring and firing
of men.
I am sorry to say that in the field investigation just closed, and
upon which the forthcoming report of the bureau will have to be
based, we were not able to find many places where anything, tangible
was being done to check the labor turnover, nor were we able to get
much real information as to the cost of turnover. Nevertheless this
pioneer Government report upon the subject which brings you gen­
tlemen here will, it is safe to say, be a fairly good piece of work, and
will, I trust, result in influencing you to keep better records from
which more adequate statistics can be compiled in future.
I think I am speaking to men who know the value of statistics,
men who know that the first step is to keep accurate, actual records;
men who know that the purpose of statistics—and in matters of this



sort the only purpose of statistics—is to enable you to locate the
trouble to the end that it may be remedied without a general shakeup and without making trouble where there was none before with no
certainty of really accomplishing the end sought.
If you will keep the records, the statisticians will tell you where
the trouble is. We can alreadj^ tell you from the figures we have
what classes of labor furnish the greatest amount of turnover. In
many plants we can tell you which department is furnishing the
greatest volume of turnover. For instance, we can show that the
foundry has an excess over the machine shop or the machine shop
over the foundry, but this only heads us toward the real trouble. Of
course, it may sometimes happen that the trouble is in the whole de­
partment, which would indicate that there is something the matter
with your foremanship or your department manager. Very fre­
quently, however, what we want to know is which job or jobs are
furnishing a high per cent of labor change. I think you will agree
with me that in piecework establishments it is practically impossible
to make such fine adjustment of piece rates to the time and work
involved in the production of the piece that they shall be perfectly
uniform; that no matter what job a man or woman gets he or she
can earn the same money with the same outlay of energy and time.
Wherever the piecework system exists—certainly until more human
and humane gray matter has been applied to the subject—there will
be “ the fat and the lean takes,” to use the printer’s term; there will
be jobs for which the piece rate is too high and jobs upon which the
piece rate is too low, with the accompanying incentive to restriction
of output in the one case and the eagerness to find a new job in the
other case. For this and many other reasons the statistician must
know, if he is to be of the greatest possible service to you, which job
or jobs are furnishing the greatest labor turnover. For instance, in
a foundry over 50 men are quitting from one job, while 5 quit from
another, with something like 40 per cent of the jobs furnishing no
turnover whatever. You will see that if you simply give us the
figures for the foundry, we may be able to help you some, but not
much, but if you will let us know the nature of the jobs and tell us
the turnover on each job, we will tell you just where to look for the
trouble. This, of course, necessitates adequate descriptions not only
of occupations but of jobs in case of piecework establishments and a
carding system which will enable you to keep track not only of your
men but of the work they do.
We may not be able to produce many concrete cases of the turn­
over by specific jobs for discussion in the forthcoming report, but we
hope to be able to interest you in the importance of keeping a record
of such.



There is another point upon which I would like to place some
emphasis. It is, I think, not unreasonable to hope that the general
public may get some useful information and derive considerable
benefit from this report on the labor turnover. I refer to the causes
of the dismissal or firing of workmen. Here, again, you gentlemen
owe something to the public. For instance, it is not enough for an
employment manager to tell us that 10 per cent or 15 per cent of
the men who were dismissed were fired for incompetency; he is not
telling us all we want to know. The term is too vague. What we
want to know is the particular kind of incompetency, and you owe
it to society and yourselves to make this information useful by
making it specific. To enable society to improve its educational ma­
chinery it must have the details which will showT exactly what are
the shortcomings of our educational system and how to remedy
them. You owe it to yourselves to furnish the specific details, be­
cause only by such cooperation with the social system under which
we live can it organize to produce the educational results which
will enable you to reduce your labor turnover from incompetency.
For instance, when one concern shows us that 12 per cent of the
people that had been fired from a certain department in a year
had been fired because they did not understand fractions, did not
know how to convert common fractions into decimals, did not
know what the decimal point meant or where it ought to go, then
we can with full assurance point a statistical finger at the public
school. The public school, no doubt, has a duty to perform in this
matter, but you must make your records so specific that we can
show the public-school authorities exactly where the trouble is.
Mere generalizations upon this subject simply irritate and can do
no possible good. Already these useless generalizations bandied
about by both sides have borne abundant fruit of the variety that
leaves a bad taste in every mouth.
Now, as to men who quit; you owe it to yourselves to find out just
why they quit. Precisely as in the case of firing, you owe it to the
general public to be specific as to your reasons for firing, so in the
case of men quitting, you owe it to yourselves to obtain as far as it
is humanly possible the exact and specific reason from each man
or woman as to why he or she leaves your employment. I know
of no other means that furnish such an opportunity for you to hold
the mirror up to yourselves. It makes it possible for you to say:
“ What is the matter with my factory ? ” and to get the answer from
the statistics of why men quit. I f you give us the exact picture of
why you discharge men and we find the trouble is with the schools,
we will at least do some preaching. I f you will get an actual report
on why men quit, you will have a chance to get after yourselves and
stop the turnover to a very great extent. I am simply pointing out



the line of statistics we want, and we want them because we believe
that with them we can be of immense service to you.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics wants to do everything in its
power to aid you gentlemen to study the question of the labor turn­
over; to study the problems of the industries upon the labor side;
to enable competent men to hold jobs, and to see just why men or
women are thrown out upon the world incapable of holding jobs
which will enable them to earn a living. If the trouble is with the
schools or wherever it is, if you will furnish us the material, we will
bring the irresistible argument of statistics to bear upon the cause
of that trouble.
In the meantime, as we see it, you must get your records down to
a finer point than most of the manufacturers have succeeded in doing
yet. In a year or two we may go back to this subject again, and we
hope by that time to be able to furnish a comparatively complete
statement of the percentage of labor turnover which can be pre­
vented, why and how it ought to be done, the money you will save
by reducing your turnover to the ultimate minimum, and what you
are losing in money by neglecting your own interest in this regard.
Such a report ought to be of incalculable interest to employers of
labor as well as in the interest of the social whole, for this is a subject
in which the employer and the employee are equally interested. Un­
like most problems affecting capital and labor, so-called, the gain of
one is not here the loss of the other, for there is no gain—it is all
loss, deadly loss, to both employer and employee, to the firer and the
Mr. A. L i n c o l n F i l e n e , of William Filene’s Sons Co.—I am not
on your program to speak, and therefore do not want to take up the
time of the speakers planned for, but I am glad to be able to say a
word to this important gathering. It is astonishing that a move­
ment practically in its infancy has gathered to-day such a repre­
sentative group in conference.
The question of employment is becoming more and more recog­
nized as of equal importance to that of production or of distribution.
We are obtaining more scientific knowledge of the problems involved
in employment, and it is the function of such a body as this, I take
it, to make such knowledge more available.
I f this group means, as I have said, the recognition of the fact
that employment is as large a factor in business as production and
distribution, how strange it is that it has taken so long to realize
the importance of the employment manager and his relation to
business success.
This is practically the first real convention to consider the em­
ployment manager and his relations to business life and success. It
is the logical result of the movement for vocational guidance which



is doing so much for the unguided youth of our country and the
conservation of industrial efficiency.
The employment manager is the connecting link between the
schools and business and industry, and we are now beginning to
recognize the importance of the position which he holds.
Mr. E d w i n M u l r e a d y , commissioner of labor of Massachusetts.—
Ordinarily I would rather make a speech than to perform any other
duty, but to-day is not my day for making speeches. In the first
place, because, seated here at my left, I find a gentleman from New
Jersey who has opened my eyes to what Mr. Filene has called the
personnel in management.
A year or two ago I had the privilege of speaking before this
association, and at that time had an ulterior motive in accepting
your invitation to speak. I wanted to become better acquainted with
the men who would later be brought in contact with the speaker only
through orders which would be issued to them. To-day I was in­
duced to come by the appearance on your program of the name of a
man with whose voice I have been in love ever since I first heard it,
which, by the way, was over the telephone late at night when I was
aroused from my sleep to listen. The man inquired if I was the
commissioner of labor and if I had an inspector by the name
o f ---------. I told him I had, and he informed me that he was stand­
ing by one of the open windows in the second story and that in a few
minutes he was going to drop that lady out of the window. He did
not do it; it would not have been wise for him and it would have
been bad for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
I am glad to be present this afternoon, and thank you for the
opportunity which you have given me to attend this meeting. I am
not, to any great extent, an employer of labor, but I am interested in
your problems, and I want to indorse with all the emphasis I can the
first sentence expressed by Mr. Filene.
If you will pardon a personal statement, I want to say that for 16
years of my life I was engaged in a different kind of work for the
Commonwealth. I was attempting to make people see that after
all there is not a great deal of difference between the man who works
and the man who manages the plant; between the man whom we
thought to be a criminal and the man whose circumstances and en­
vironments did not make a criminal out of him.
All at once, out of a clear sky, there came the opportunity to work
on the human side of industry; not in the settling of disputes, not
in asking for higher wages, but demanding in the name of justice
proper conditions for those who work. I came to this work because
it affected the human side of things, and for that reason I welcome
the opportunity of coming here this afternoon. You represent the



human side of industry—the employment end. More than that, you
are the point of contact, on the right by the man who is to be em­
ployed and on the left by the man who is to employ him.
Some time ago I had an opportunity to attend a meeting very simi­
lar to this one—men gathered from all over the country. A gentle­
man from Cleveland who conducts a big department store, spoke of
his experience in establishing a restaurant in his store. I do not
know whether they are obliged to have a license in Cleveland as
they do in Boston. However, the man tried the new venture, but
stated he could not make it pay, and that it made him sick unto
death to hear the complaints that came to him about the food and
the way it was cooked. Following the suggestion that was made, he
organized a cooperative scheme, allowing the employees in on the
scheme; indeed, allowing them to run the restaurant themselves.
Under the management of the employees it became a huge success,
wrhich only proves that, after all, there is not very much difference
between “ all of us ” and “ any of us.”
Then, I repeat, it is because of the human touch which brings -you
in contact with those who labor that I esteem it such a great privilege
to attend your annual conference. I thank you for this privilege
and trust that your deliberations may be most beneficial. I did not
intend to speak; I came to listen, but I am glad to avail myself of
the opportunity of wishing you men of this association the greatest
measure of success.
The conference then adjourned to the floor below where the regu­
lar program was taken up.

President L a w r e n c e . —We have been very fortunate in securing
for our presiding officer this afternoon a man who has done a great
deal for this association. He is connected with our Boston city
schools, and the Boston city schools through his influence have done
a great deal to help out the employer of boys and girls. They have
cooperated in every way with the business men. We could not have
a better man to preside, one more thoroughly in sympathy with this
meeting. I therefore take pleasure in introducing to you, as the pre­
siding officer for this afternoon, Mr. W. S. Field.
Mr. W. S. F i e l d , director of evening schools.—At luncheon up­
stairs, being a school man, I was particularly interested in a remark
to the effect that the public schools have a duty to perform. That
is admitted. There is in process a tremendous change in the educa­
tion of young people—a broadening of educational opportunity to
meet the needs and requirements of all. It is not admitted, however,



that public education can be specifically for the employer. I assert
that public education must be specifically for the interests of future
citizens. But so closely will the interests of the great mass of future
citizens be allied with the interests of employers that all must get
together, employers, employees, and educators, “ put their cards on
the table, face up,” and do what will best meet the needs of all con­
Manufacturing industries have long since passed from the home
to the factory. The old mill by the brook no longer takes its toll in
grain and lumber; the little shop in the back yard is deserted,
and the city “ shop ” has been replaced. The manufacturer and mer­
chant no longer perform all operations in turning out a product or
in making a sale, working shoulder to shoulder with their men.
These are memories. Their places have been taken by the modern
factory and department store, with their wonderful machinery and
complicated organization. Operations and duties have become
highly specialized, and the worker stands «at his machine, bench, or
counter doing one thing over and over again. Too often the worker
has been expected to supply merely the human element that can not
be created by the inventor. Far too often has the importance of the
machine clouded the importance of the man behind it. Often there
has been no means of unifying and solidifying the personnel thereby
preventing discontent and waste. The importance of the human
element is becoming recognized. The need of skillful placement of
men in industry is conceded. The wastes incident to the old hap­
hazard hire and fire method are being realized. The position of the
employment manager is gradually taking its rightful place among
the most important offices in firms employing large numbers of
people. The day of trade secrets and carefully guarded methods of
procedure is passing. Its place is being taken by a spirit of con­
ference and cooperation. No better evidence of this fact need be
offered than this meeting of more than 250 employers and employ­
ment managers representing the largest concerns in all parts of New
England, gathered to confer upon the best methods of handling the
problems of employment.
Without taking any more time, I desire to call upon the speakers
on the program. The first speaker is the director of efficiency for
the United States Cartridge Co., a gentleman who has seen in the
last few months the number of his employees grow from 800 to
8,000. His employment problem is so great that his office is kept
open from 7 o’clock in the morning until midnight. He will speak
upon “ Sources of supply and means of getting in touch with them.”
Mr. H. B. Coho.


I want to speak on a thought that came to my mind while Mr.
Mulready was talking, and that is the responsibility of the manage­
ment of a plant in a community to that community. We have been
employing people, discharging them, and training them, with rather
a selfish motive. Now, it so happens that we are to-day perhaps at
the beginning of a new epoch in the history of the work. We have
been for many years perfecting machinery. We have perfected
machinery to such an extent that, if we do not do something to cur­
tail and control it, we will lose or be run over by that machine.
The problem of educating the human element or human ma­
chine is one which is now before us, and one which I believe it is
strictly up to the manufacturing establishments, all establishments,
to consider. In other words, they must do their share. It should
not be necessary for the State to say: u You must do so-and-so.” It
must be purely the function of the State to tell us what is advisable
for us to do.
I know a case where a prominent man spent hundreds of thousands
of dollars in the development of a machine. And yet with that per­
fect machine they had to discharge thirty men for incompetent op­
eration. I asked him what the machine cost him, and he said it
was impossible to tell, but that it was thousands of dollars, and
it cost $1,800 to discharge thirty men. In their work it costs an
average of $60 a man to train even the humblest employee (in other
words, until he has been there six or seven weeks) ; and this applies
to the smallest detail around the plant. That man deliberately
threw away $1,800 in developing and teaching men what they had
to do to run that machine. Their first step, therefore, was to run
the machine themselves.
In arising to address you on the subject of my paper, covering the
sources of labor supply and the means of getting in touch with them,
it seems to me that before proceeding with the purely mechanical
methods of handling the labor department, a few minutes may very
profitably be given to the consideration of the employment manager
as an individual, and the type of individual he necessarily has to be.
In the first place, when a man is made an employment manager for
a corporation he should have a distinct understanding with his supe­
rior officers as to just what his responsibilities are to be and just how




far he is expected to be held responsible for the character of the
people whom he employs. It is manifestly impossible for an employ ­
ment manager to get the best results unless the responsibility for his
results is to be up to him and the responsibility left with him. If he
must employ friends of the overseers or friends and relatives of higher
officials, his work is necessarily circumscribed, and he should not be
held responsible for the results obtained. On the other hand, he
necessarily can not be given all of the authority for obtaining people
until he knows thoroughly all of the departments and fhe class of help
which they require. Under these circumstances he should be a man
of broad experience and in a technical industry a man of technical
education. He should also be a man who has, to a large extent, had
a good deal of practical experience, so that the plans which he devel­
ops will be based on good common sense and obtain the results which
he is looking for.
Probably the best method for any employment manager in large
industrial plants employing people is the conference plan—an asso­
ciation of overseers should be formed, and they should meet at least
once a week in industries where the flow of help is large and should
frankly criticize the employment manager for the class of help that
he has procured for them. This method is employed by a great many
large industrial corporations and is working out very satisfactorily.
At these meetings the record of the people who have been employed
should be taken, and the overseers should report their satisfaction
or dissatisfaction with the people obtained, pointing out wherein
people thus obtained had failed.
In other words, to my mind, no one individual about a plant should
endeavor to run the entire place without consulting freely with all
his associates.
A thing which should always be done at these conferences is to
keep minutes, which should be written out and handed to the members
of the committee, so that they may come prepared to take part in the
discussion and to say definitely whether the remarks attributed to
them were made or not.
To my mind the most important thing about any labor bureau or
employment manager is that he outlines his policy; that he pre­
pares a very definite type of application blank and that he have
always in mind the fact that he is a clearing house for all the labor
throughout the plant; that he must therefore be untrammeled by
rules and regulations or favorites.
An employment manager’s department is rather a new thing in
some of our industries, although it has been used abroad and has been
used here among the larger industries. It would seem to me that
eventually the smaller concerns can unite and form a mutual employ­
ment bureau, thus dividing up the expense in obtaining those records



of their people which are absolutely essential if they wish to obtain
the best results.
Returning now to the subject assigned to me—that is, the source of
supply—would say that, of course, naturally you all wish to obtain
as much of your labor from your immediate community as you
possibly can. This means that if there are three or four of the same
lines of industry in a town that there is more or less competition for
the help, and that the home market soon becomes exhausted. - It
would seem, therefore, that a better plan is rather to set your stand­
ard at a scale of wages so as to attract people to you. Probably the
best method of attracting people to a plant is ta have a consistent
management. You will usually find that concerns whose overseers
do not change and who have a steady, consistent management, with­
out rules or regulations changing very often, have far less trouble
than some of our moden concerns, who endeavor to work out a great
many theories on their employees.
Personally I feel that the extremely definite policy as to the wages
paid and what would be expected from the employees should be
decided upon and published in some factory organ, and that very
great care should be taken not to change overseers or change rules
and regulations without a definite period for the change to go into
Employees are human, and probably one of the most prized theo­
ries is consistency, which, unfortunately, many of us are absolutely
void o f ; but in handling bodies of men aiid women there seems to be
nothing which gets their loyalty and their support so much as abso­
lutely consistent plans. This can readily be understood when you
find so many people who prefer to take a set salary, even though it
be small, rather than run any risk. Probably the feminine side of
the family is somewhat responsible for this, as most of the ladies pre­
fer to know exactly what their income is and to live within it rather
than to take a chance of uncertain returns.
Where your plant is the only one of its kind in your community
your problem is not so great, but even then the most successful con­
cern will be the one which changes its rules and regulations the least
often and builds up a reputation for standard methods, both among
its executive staff and among its employees.
Another source of supply which is rather important is that of the
friends of your workers. It becomes necessary at times to ask your
people to bring in their friends, and naturally they will bring them
to those places where the character of the employees is of the best.
The best plan for this sort of thing is the plan of a great many dif­
ferent societies and clubs in the organizations, so that your employees
talk about their work at home and are proud of it. Baseball clubs?

52266°—Bull. 202—16----- 2



bowling clubs, fire departments, weekly dances, and all that goes with
social activity appeals to me strongly, whether the organizations be
in a large or small town, for the reason that advertising naturally
pays, and when you find the people in a plant playing together as
well as working together you find that they will attract to you a very
much better class of people, providing, of course, that the original
foundation is right. Right here let me say that I do not believe too
much stress can be placed upon the character of your employees.
I believe that it is essential that every employment manager be a
man of very high ideals, a man of very noble motives, and one utterly
devoid of the money-making instinct, because it follows that he
must become, if he does his work at all well, the “ father confes­
sor ” of the entire plant, and therefore he must be a man of entirely
unselfish ideas.
Where a p^ant is in an outlying community and the employees are
dependent upon themselves for their amusements, the problem then
simply becomes one of proper guidance.
Right here let me touch upon a very great responsibility which
comes to employment managers and those attracting people from out­
lying towns an£ communities. When you go away from your home
town for employees, it is essential that you make only such promises
as to work and methods of leaving as can be absolutely fulfilled, and
every employment manager should see that he does not attract people
to his plant by misrepresentation or by overrepresenting the attrac­
tions offered. He will win out in this once, but never the second time.
I f he only requires a certain amount of help for a given time, let him
state it frankly, because, to my mind, nothing will so much interfere
with the reputation of a plant as an employment manager who will
get people to leave one job to go to him and after a week or two allow
them to go. I f this is done more than once, his reputation and that
of his plant will suffer, and in times of stress his results will be most
Another most important matter is that of taking people away from
competitors. Here, I think, the employment manager has a tremen­
dous opportunity, and your association particularly can serve the
community and the public, at the same time being fair to the em­
ployees. It is manifestly unfair to say to a man because he works
for a competitor that he can not be employed by you. A fair propo­
sition, to my mind, would be for the employment managers of two
competing concerns to arrive at a definite understanding between
themselves as to the requisite notice which an employee should give
before leaving to go with the competitor. Manifestly, there are many
times when a man can learn his work in one concern and then sell
his services to a competitor at a higher price, and it seems only fair
that he should be allowed to do this, providing it is done openly on a



fair basis. To my mind, the most unwholesome thing that can creep
into these organizations is the taking of employees away from each
other under purely a wage basis, as usually the man who will leave
one concern to go with another for a purely money consideration will
be just as dissatisfied in his new place as he was in the old, whereas
if he leaves them on a friendly basis, giving his old concern as a
reference, and feeling that he can go back there if he is not entirely
happy in his new environment, it will make for contentment, which
is the secret of successful work.
The schools as a source of supply are always the fundamental
sources to be considered. Many of our young people can go through
only the public school, and it should be the work of the employ­
ment manager to advertise his place as a place where pupils of this
character can be given work and an opportunity to progress.
We are starting at our plant a series of classes so that when a
young man or a young woman with a grammar-school education
comes to us, he or she must, as a part of his or her work, take a half
hour’s course each day in the fundamental rudiments of education.
This is done on the company’s time, but the employees must consider
it part of their work. This, to my mind, is probably a little drastic
for some organizations, but I believe it will be made a requirement
by the State before many generations have passed, and is therefore
a matter which can be considered by you men at this time, as it must
come eventually.
The very complexity of our social organizations makes it essential
that eventually all of our people must be taught to think in order to
maintain our form of Government. Therefore the responsibility of
the manufacturing plant to the community must not be overlooked.
What you do for the grammar-school people must also be done for
the high school and the college graduates. They must be given
an opportunity to learn and to keep their minds pliable. While
some are quite interested in progressing along educational lines,
others will become dilatory and drop back unless this work is more
or less compulsory.
It is manifestly certain that our type of Government must con­
tinue, and if our type of Government is to continue, it is equally cer­
tain that our voters must be able to decide for themselves on the plan
of government. Therefore it is essential that manufacturing estab­
lishments employing thousands of people must constantly bring
before their minds their responsibility to the State, to themselves, and
to their associates. This can only be done along stated lines by means
of factory publications and the employment of high-class men.
A sourcp of supply which is used very largely is the employment
agency. This, of course, is only of as much value as the character
of the man running it is equal to his responsibility. These agencies



often serve a very good purpose, but great care must be taken in the
character of your employment agents.
Charitable institutions which make a business of finding employ­
ment for the more or less unfortunate are another source of supply.
Usually help obtained from these institutions are people who have
made failures in very nearly everything, and naturally their work
should be carefully supervised until such a time as they reach a point
where they may be credited. This applies also to probationers. Care
should be taken to see that these people are given work which will
interest them. Very many of our probationers, particularly men and
boys, have gone bad simply because their energies were not suffi­
ciently employed and their imaginations became diseased. Many of
these people can be interested and become very good, useful citizens
if they are kept active and not held down to class rules and regula­
tions. Therefore an employment manager must provide some outlet
for these activities. Usually baseball and bowling clubs and things
of this nature can be used to good advantage.
The last source of supply which I was asked to talk about is that
of previous employees, people that have already been employed by
you. This is a big problem which we all have before us. Let people
feel that, having been employed by you, and having left in good
standing, there is a place for them. I am a great believer in the Sab­
batical year. I do not think it is a good thing to say that John has
worked for you 30 years, because John may have been asleep for 25
years. Their wrork must have been so good that we are glad to have
them back. For an organization to say that they have a waiting list
of old employees is one of .the biggest recommendations a concern can
have, a waiting list of old employees who are satisfied with the policy
of the concern and are anxious to work for that concern again.
On the question of rehiring old employees, I feel that any man
who leaves in good standing should have the privilege of returning
and going to work if his record is satisfactory; in fact, we are start­
ing a waiting list along these lines. Often men leave, thinking that
they will better themselves or attracted by a small increase in pay,
and find that there are other things which are not so satisfactory.
Now if these men have worked out their notice, which, by the way,
should be definitely stated when they are hired, I see no reason why
they should not constitute your waiting list. You have trained them,
and with the added experience they have had outside they should be
of far more value.
Personally, I think that a list should always be kept of eligible
employees to whom the job should first be given. Above all, I am
convinced that it is a mistake to take in from the outside any men,
when you have on the inside people who can fill the positions.



I believe that a hard and fast civil-service school should be main­
tained. I believe that the better positions should be a matter of
competitive examination, and that a man who feels that he is capable
of taking a higher position should submit his record and his abili­
ties to the test. I believe that this can be accomplished by having a
works board, who will hold these particular examinations.
If it is manifestly impossible to obtain a man for a certain job, it
should be advertised around the plant that such a place is open and
what the requirements are, and that if no man from the plant can
convince the factory board as to his eligibility, then at a given time
the position will be filled. This follows out my original remarks as
to character and reputation of the plant.
The employment manager should be one of the main men in any
organization. He should be selected for his experience and for his
character. He should not be too young a man. I f you desire to
build up a plant for a great many years’ time, a young, hustling man
may succeed in drawing a great many people around him, but I
question whether he will have the balance and the poise to hold
them and get the best results.
Once again I say that an employment manager must be extremely
careful of his personal habits, as his example will be noted just as
is that of a schoolmaster.
He should visit many other plants and he should talk with his
fellow employment managers, through his association or otherwise,
constantly. He must be in close touch and sympathy with all the
employees’ activities, and will have a job which will keep him busy
all his waking hours, but he will get his return in the gratitude of
the community which he serves and be properly recompensed by the
company who employs him.

The C h a i r m a n . — There are a few minutes in which you are at lib­
erty to ask the last speaker questions if you desire to do so. I f not,
I will introduce Mr. Sparrow, of the Hood Rubber Co.
Mr. S p a r r o w , of the Hood Rubber Co.—The first point I wish to
touch on is the source of supply in our home town.
We naturally desire to employ our townspeople when we can.
Fortunately, we have not much competition with the manufacturing
concerns near us that require the class of help we use.
We are manufacturers of rubber footwear and of all kinds of .auto­
mobile tires and tubes. In the manufacture of the footwear we
employ a little over 2,000 girls. Our method of securing employees
is very similar to that of the last speaker, Mr. Coho, who spoke of
employing friends and relatives of employees. This works out very



well if handled in the right way, but great care should be taken that
not too many near relatives or friends are placed in the same depart­
ment, as it is apt to prove that in the case of one of these friends
leaving or being dismissed they are very apt to induce the others
to follow, and if they are in the same department this handicaps
us for a day or two at least before replacements can be made.
Another source of supply is outside of our own town or city
and out of Massachusetts, including the entire New England States.
We are desirous of getting in touch with the class of people that
come from small country towns who are looking for an oppor­
tunity to grow up with a large manufacturing concern. We have
at present two representatives covering entire New England offer­
ing employment to those not pleasantly situated or whose earnings
are too small or whose chances of advancement are not in their favor.
Some perhaps have families growing up that require the advan­
tages near a city, both for the education and training offering greater
opportunities for more efficient men and women. To such we are
offering a chance to become one of our great family. We do not
wish nor intend to take any competitor’s help, although we are, I
suppose, like many of you, accused of this. We find that often our
employees tell some friend about the good job he or she may have,
and this friend in turn applies to our employment registry, often in
person or by letter, and we in good faith employ this party, sup­
posing, of course, that he or she is out of employment, but we find
later, in many instances, that when we come to write to the last em­
ployer for a reference he is very indignant and thinks that we have
employed his help and then have asked for a reference. On several
occasions I have been politely told of this fact by several of the manu­
facturers in one of our near-by cities, so that I thought it best to
meet some one or two of these very indignant men, which I did,
and at first was very coolly greeted, but after a short talk found that
in most cases it was due to the fact that the employee had been with
this factory two years or more and was just getting to be of some
real value, after a careful training in some particular branch of
their work, and that it was at this time that the manufacturer very
much disliked to lose them.
In order that a square deal might be given I made the following
proposition to some of the manufacturers that felt we were taking
their help:
I f any one applies to us for a position and after an interview I
find that they were employed more than two years on a certain class
of work, I immediately call up the last employer notifying them that
such and such a party was here applying to us for a position. Would
they object to our employing him providing references were, satis­
factory ? If they said that they had to lay this party off or had no



objections, all well and good, but if the employer states that the
party had not given notice or they did not want to lose this employee,
f I simply tell the applicant that if he can obtain a written reference
from his last employer we will consider it. In this way an em­
ployee and an employer have a chance to talk things over, and if
they can offer this employee a chance for better advancement or
content him to stay in his old position, they have certainly saved
a skilled employee. If on the other hand, this employee feels that
he would not get as good a chance as we have offered him, he
would not stay anyway. In almost every instance the former em­
ployer is glad to give a recommendation, and the party returns to us
for employment.
Another source of supply is advertising in the papers, which, while
satisfactory, takes a little longer to get in touch directly with the
applicant, unless the firm’s name is used in the advertisement, which
we do not do. From here we may be obliged to obtain the services of
some skilled mechanic or perhaps a bookkeeper, and if such a can­
didate is not already among our files or lists of applicants we turn to
some reliable employment agency and ask them to assist us in ob­
taining the desired applicant. This means, then, that this new em­
ployee is obliged to pay out his first week’s pay to get a position,
which is true, but if this new employee is the right man in the right
place he will soon begin to show that a good man does not hesitate
to spend a dollar to get a chance to make more rather than spend his
time chasing up job after job to find that he is just too late, and
then he must try perhaps day after day before he strikes one with­
out the assistance of some reliable employment agency. We feel
that if a man comes from an agency and stays with us for one year
he is entitled to that first week’s pay that it cost him for the position
obtained, so we have arranged that an employee hired this way,
after having served 12 consecutive months with us, is paid back his
first week’s wages paid to the agency. This is paid back to him in the
same manner that he paid it in most cases, one-sixth of each week’s
pay until he has received the sum of one full week’s wages.
As before stated, our representatives cover New England, going to
small towns where there are families looking for better opportunities
who perhaps have one or two members to their family that are unable
to get employment where they now reside. To such families we can
offer employment as we can use both sons and daughters, also father
and mother, and have them come to live with us in Watertown and
be as one of the big family.
We believe that the first thought in going for this help is to have
good inducements to offer, proper conditions to work under, and a
home to offer, as good if not a little better than they have been used
to. First, last, and always, have the true conditions just as you



represent them, and you will have with you employees that are
The C h a i r m a n . —There has been a question passed in : “ What im­
portance do you place on the securing of references from past em­
ployers? ”
Mr. C o h o . —Personally I am a great believer in references. Some
people object. We endeavor to make the references a part of our
records; when possible we have them embodied in the employee’s
records so that we know all about him. That applies more particu­
larly to those concerns where the help is going to be steady.
The C h a i r m a n . —The next speaker on the program is Mr. Dale G.
Steely, of W. F. Schrafft & Sons Corporation, who will speak upon
the subject “ Selection and examination of employees.”


I did not prepare a paper on this subject as I do not consider my­
self an expert on the points covered by it, but I hope to start a dis­
cussion and leave to those who are more competent than I am to
carry it on.
First in order comes the job analysis; second, the selection from the
applicants; and, third, the examination of those selected.
The analysis of the job should be as complete as possible. For
every job there is a type of person that never makes good, another
that averages fairly well, and yet another that always excels. The
purpose of course, then, in selection and examination of applicants
is to eliminate the first type and choose everyone of the last that good
fortune brings to our doors.
Among the undesirables that are always seeking employment are
alcoholics of every degree. Many of these are prepossessing in ap­
pearance and often good workers: a few bear no marks by which
they can be readily distinguished, and for this reason they are the
more dangerous.
If I seem to be getting away from my subject let me say that no
employment manager would place a man with a known bad record
in charge of a steam plant or of an elevator or any other machinery,
for that matter, and it seems to me that perhaps the psychologist can
help us here.
Most of us, I think, have to rely upon inquiry upon this point and
I fear that some of us are inclined to be too generous toward a former
employee, especially if he has been a good worker, in answering the
questions on the blank in regard to this point.
The method of selection must differ widely in different industries,
running all the way between the two extremes of hiring from those
who have made written applications on the one hand and from a
standing line on the other.
There are from 6 to 10 points of excellence which most of us con­
sider in hiring help, viz, physical adaptation, mental attitude toward
the job, honesty, industry, intelligence, health, neatness, cleanliness,
and temperament. The character of the business must determine the
sequence in which these qualities are valued as, of course, they are
not the same in all places. Good health, cleanliness, and neatness




head the list in the manufacture of fpod products and its allied indus­
tries, while honesty and industry may come first in other lines.
The examination of applicants ranges all the way from the merely
visual and oral examination to a well-planned formula, requiring a
written as well as oral examination, a physical examination by a
physician, and the passing of certain psychological tests. As I said
at the beginning, I can not speak with authority on these subjects
and I will ask Mr. Field to call upon those qualified to carry out the

The C h a i r m a n . —I am going to ask for three discussions on various
phases of this subject, and will ask the speakers to confine them­
selves as closely as they can to three minutes each. First, Mr. Reilly,
of the Dennison Manufacturing Co., on “ Job analysis.”

Ours is a manufacturing industry having possibly 125 different
jobs for which we engage nonskilled labor. About 55 per cent of that
labor consists of males and 45 per cent females.
A year ago we felt that it was to our advantage to make a study of
each of our occupations so that we in the employment office could
the more clearly know the sort of persons presumably best fitted for
each job in our industry. We had the man who specializes on our
educational work make this job analysis under the direction of the
employment office and with the cooperation of the department heads
and foremen. We attempted to coordinate all the experiences of the
different foremen of the various departments that would aid us to
select and place employees wisely.
Our analysis gave us this information covering each job:

Job number and designation.
B rief description of job.
Time required to learn job.
Previous training or experience necessary.
Starting wage.
N ext advance.
W age limit. (That is not a hard and fast lim it but represents the m axi­
mum earnings of the majority.)
H eight.
W eight.
Posture (whether the work requires the man or girl to stand, sit, stoop, or
w alk).
Hands (especially in fine paper-box making we require small, neat hands).
Schooling necessary.
W hether the job entails overtime or layoffs.



With the information in the employment department we have
been materially assisted in making wise selections. It enables us to
form a concept of the ideal person on each job and enables us also to
give a clear story of the job to the applicant, which is quite essential.
We can thus tell him what the pay will be at the start, how long it
will take to earn an advance, the possibilities of promotion, etc.
These job analyses also induced us to give thought to the opening
up of channels of promotion from “ blind-alley” jobs, so that an
employee would not be indefinitely held on such jobs at a relatively
low wage, but would be promoted to a better paying position at an
opportune time.
We think, then, that we have received such help from these job
analyses as to justify well all the time it required to prepare them,
and we recommend their preparation and use by all employment
The C h a i r m a n . — I would like to ask Mr. H. L. Gardner, of Cheney
Bros., to discuss the matter of “ Psychological tests.”


We had under discussion a few meetings ago the subject of psy­
chological tests, and because I took up the sword on behalf of
psychological tests at that time I presume that is why I am called
upon now. A great deal has been said and written on this subject,
but most of it is theoretical. A great deal has been attempted in the
way of experimental work.
We have used at Cheney Bros, for the past year a series of psy­
chological tests, but any such tests to-day are in an embryo stage and
should not be considered as the last word in the selection of em­
ployees. We have not used these tests in any way for the selection
of ordinary labor, confining them strictly to the choice of men or
women specially qualified for positions requiring certain mental
qualifications. These tests, if given in the whole, would require seven
or eight hours for a man to undergo. These tests comprise:

General intelligence.
Quickness of perception.
General “ well-readness.”
M athematical ability.
Mechanical ability.
Inventive genius.
Also certain other specific qualifications which might make a man
especially adapted to certain tasks.



We have found that these tests have been excellent aids to our
judgment in the selection of men to fill high-grade positions. In the
filling of sales, efficiency, executive, and higher clerical openings we
have found them to be of great value. There have been a few in­
stances where we have felt that common sense or the man’s experi­
ence would make him a valuable man in spite of his tests making us
skeptical of his ability. We tried out several of these cases, and it
has been surprising how general the failure has been. A man re­
quired for a mechanical job who on mechanical tests shows no me­
chanical ability will show no mechanical ability on the job. This is
true of the other tests. If a man seems to be lacking in the subject
of general intelligence, and his position will necessitate a certain
amount of judgment, tact, and broadness of mind, we have found
this man fall down in the majority of cases where we have gone con­
trary to the judgment of these tests. We do not take these tests as
the final word. We try to have at least five or six competent men
interview these applicants, and we correlate the judgment of these
men with the results of the tests.
The C h a i r m a n . —There are two questions on this subject:
(1) Do you ask the person applying for a position if he is honest?
(2) What other means do you have of ascertaining?
Mr. S t e e l y . —I do not see how an employer can say in regard to
an applicant who has been doing some sort of manual work for six
months, or perhaps six years, that he or she is honest. The presump­
tion that I go upon is that they are honest if they have not been
found otherwise. That is about the best I can say on that.
The C h a i r m a n . —We will now listen to Mr. J. M. Larkin, of the
Fore Eiver Shipbuilding Corporation, on “ Training, promotion,
transfer, and discharge.”


I want to explain to you why we have gone into these problems
recently and adopted the most up-to-date methods in our centralized
employment bureau.
We decided that it was necessary to conduct in our company per­
sonal investigations. It was recommended that a committee be sent
out from the works to investigate labor conditions in the most up-todate concerns of the country. Early in February this committee
was made up. The personnel of the committee included foremen,
mechanics, and office men. This committee first prepared a questonnaire touching upon the most vital parts of the problem. After
going out on the road they found the questionnaire had to be revised
many times, which was to be supposed. Visits were made to about



15 of the most up-to-date plants in the Middle West. The question
of turnover was the principal subject under investigation. Of course
they embraced many subjects, such as welfare, safety, and other
allied subjects which tend to make satisfaction among employees.
My subject to-day, which I will try not to get away from, is
u Training, promotion, transfer, and discharge.” First, I wish to say
just a word about training. The training of employees, if worked
out in a comprehensive manner, can be made very effective. We
organized classes for apprentices, classes for the teaching of trades.
We have apprentices for 19 trades in the plant. These classes are
presided over by practical men from the shops. Such subjects as
plumbing, electricity, sheet-metal working, machine-shop practice,
blue-print reading, etc., are taught.
Another phase of the work into which we have gone is the training
of foreigners. By cooperating with the North American Civic
League we have been supplied with instructors, and classes have been
organized. These, I am convinced, have been very effective. There
is a great need to-day of educating the foreigner, as a great many of
the things which he feels are misrepresented to him can be eliminated
if he has sufficient English to understand those who are trying to
teach him.
We have also gone into the phase of taking into our works college
men. They have started in at $1, $1.25, or $1.50 per day and have
been put through the various branches of the work, from the bottom
up. They have been given a shovel or a wheelbarrow, etc. While
this is practically a new scheme, we feel that it is going to work out
all right and to good advantage.
One moment on promotion. I think one of the true factors in
reducing the turnover is to adhere to the policy of promotion from
within your works. If you are constantly bringing in men from the
outside to fill the best positions, you are spoiling or disparaging the
present employees.
The questions of transfer and discharge are very important ones
in the reduction of turnover. In order that you may know where
this great flow of labor is coming from it is absolutely necessary that
the man who does the hiring should interview a man before he leaves
the works. In our company we have established the policy of hav­
ing the employment man interview the employee before he gets out
of the works. This is very effective in transferring men who are
dissatisfied with any particular department, and will prove very
effective in ultimately reducing the turnover to a great extent.
Finally, I would like to say that my feeling on the whole propo­
sition of turn-over is that there are five factors which enter into
this great question. First, wages; second, fair treatment; third,
promotion from within; fourth, good working conditions; fifth, all
kinds of welfare work.



The C h a i r m a n . —Are there any questions you would like to ask
Mr. Larkin?
Mr. B l o o m f i e l d . — I am very glad Mr. Larkin took part in the dis­
cussion. The method he outlined in regard to investigation is the
road of safety for the employer and the employee. Any substitute,
or anything else, will perhaps persuade some employers to use
sleight of hand in the labor problem, resulting in the wrecking of
the organization.
The result of this convention will be in the future to have depart­
ment meetings, committees to report on schemes floated around the
country, which will enable us to tell the employer where false knowl­
edge leaves off and real science begins.
You can have labor-saving devices, but not thought-saving devices.
Mr. S h a w , of the W. H. McElwain Co.—To enable the employ­
ment department to make a complete success we believe the manage­
ment must realize the fundamental importance of making some
radical changes in the general plan of departmental organization.
We feel that one of the big sources of difficulty in the training, pro­
motion, .transfer, and proper discharge of employees lies in the im­
properly or incompletely trained foreman or assistant foreman. No
matter how well the employment department is organized or man­
aged, it must be remembered that between the general policy of the
company and the employee lies the departmental foreman and his
organization, who must in the final analysis be depended upon to
elaborate the company, policy into the details of daily work. With
this idea in view we have tried to develop some new ideas in our
general plan of organization, and as it would be impossible to go into
the scheme in great detail without taking considerable time, I will
try to enumerate briefly the fundamental theories underlying the
plan which are:
(1) Reducing the number of departments in a factory from about
ten, each department having a separate foreman responsible to the
superintendent, to approximately four departments.
(2) Putting in charge of the fewer and larger departments much
bigger, broader, higher priced, and more experienced foremen.
(3) Facing squarely the fact that our employees must be handled
by “ big leaders ” rather than “ little bosses.”
(4) Giving this 44big leader” type of departmental manager an
executive foreman who shall devote his entire time to the adminis­
trative detail of the department under the advice and direction of
the foreman.
(5) Organizing in each department under the general supervision
of the foreman and under the detailed control of the executive fore­
man a carefully trained and selected force of assistants, which we



call “ the rated elastic staff5’ ; members of the elastic staff to spend
part of their time on nonproductive labor and part of their time as
substitute operators, instructors, inspectors, assistants, supervisors,
machinists, etc.; instead of having a few assistants putting their en­
tire time on nonproductive work, having a large number putting only
a portion of their time on nonproductive work.
(6) Picking out from among employees those having the greatest
personal ability and first training them for this staff according to a
predetermined plan to become all-around operators on a number of
different machines.
(7) Taking this entire staff into our councils, having them attend
foremen’s dinners, and discussions, and gradually educating them
until they become not only good all-around workmen but also intelli­
gent and efficient in cooperating with the foreman and executive fore­
man in the technique of handling productive employees in the de­
(8) Having thus developed an adequate plan of departmental or­
ganization based on a sharper division between management and
detailed administration and having given the foreman an efficient
u administrative switchboard ” so to speak, educating the foreman
to spend the greater part of his time and thought on the problems of
representation, observation, development of individual employees,
and technical planning; leaving for the executive foreman the car­
rying out of the administration detail of the department, according
to a carefully preplanned technique. In other words, insisting that
every productive department shall be organized in such a way that
<he foreman will not become a detail man but be free properly to
handle the employees in his department. If we can accomplish that,
we have not only worked out the idea but we have removed many
obstacles to the success of a functional employment department by
giving them bigger, broader, and better organized departments to
(9) Doing everything we can to enlarge the viewpoint of all our
foremen and to make them see the whole problem of human efficiency
in a bigger way.
A series of dinners have been held, at all of which the speaking
has been concentrated on the subject of handling employees.
(10) Above all, preaching to our foremen constantly the im­
portance of getting away from the old idea of personal domination
and of appreciating the necessity for complete understanding of
the art of impersonal management and accomplishment.
The C h a i r m a n . —The next subject is, “ Records and filing systems
for employment departments.” This will be presented by Mr. W. C.
Swallow, of the Amoskeag Manufacturing Co.


I am afraid that the discussion of such a dry topic as “ Records
and filing systems for employment departments ” at just this stage
is rather a hazardous undertaking, especially as the chairman has
stored up a quantity of bombs which he is preparing to throw at us.
A filing system is a necessity in any business, and it is a necessity
in an employment office. It is not so important that the success or
failure of an employment department depends entirely on a filing
system. But it must have adequate records, and it seems to me that
a system which will work without causing a whole lot of friction,
or involve any excessive red tape, which the ordinary foreman is apt
to rebel against, is essential.
In the establishment that I am connected with we employ a great
many people, and no doubt the system in force there would not
apply to industries of a different character or with a smaller number
of employees.
We must have records of our people as they come and go, some­
thing that will enable us to look them up when they come, to us
again, as they do a great many times, and guide us in regard to their
reemployment and give us a comprehensive idea of what we may
expect from them. And I think you will agree with me that if a
man has been in our employ several times—four or five, we will say—
and records are given us by his foreman as to the character of his
service, his steadiness on the job, his desirability as an employee,
we have a better estimate as to his character and ability and we
are ready to draw a better inference as to what we may expect from
him than we could deduce from any other method.
To collect these data, then, so that we may readily refer to them,
is the function of the filing system. The one appealing to us as
especially workable is to have an individual file for each employee.
I f a man comes to us for employment it is necessary, if there is
no vacancy open, for him to file an application. The application
blank may be very much in detail or condensed, but so long as you
get the fundamental facts on it and file it so that you may refer to
it when the need arises for a man on this job, the application blank
has served its purpose.
When actually employed his employment pass is issued to him,
by the person who interviews him, to the foreman under whose




direction he will be, and he takes it personally to that department.
Of course we have previously received, either by telephone or writ­
ing a request for that labor. I f he does not know where to go some­
one is delegated to take him to the department, and the foreman
must record on the employment pass the date the man started to
work, his pay-roll number, the rate per hour if he works on an hourly
rate. This is promptly returned to the employment department, so
that the record of the transaction may be complete and the job
checked off as filled.
In its course this pass goes through a substation of the employ­
ment department, where the pay rolls are printed by the addressograph methods, and as the slips pass through the names are set up on
the addressograph, together with the pay roll number and the rate.
No other names are put on the pay roll except the names on these
employment passes. Thus we are assured that no names appear on
the pay rolls without the sanction and direction of the employment
Once established, this rate on the pay roll is not changed, or sub­
ject to change, except by an “ increase in rate ” blank, which is signed
by the foreman and countersigned by some higher executive, usually
the superintendent in charge' of the department.
Transfers on the pay roll are furnished by* a simple form, and
changes from one job to another are recorded on the same form.
The name remains in the addressograph file and is printed on the
pay roll until the employment department receives notice that the
hand has finished work in that department. This notice comes to the
employment department in a majority of cases by the hand of the
employee himself when he leaves the works. It is in the form of a
coupon, which is attached to his time bill or pay slip, and when the
notice of leaving has been detached his end of the time bill is ap­
proved to show that the notice has been received. The paymaster
will not pay the money called for unless the bill bears this approval
stamp. This enables the employment department to interview the
workman before he leaves and get into personal touch with him, and
perhaps to rehire him on the spot. A great many operatives are
saved to the concern in this way.
The employment pass is made in duplicate form and numbered
serially. The duplicate is filed numerically under the date of issue,
so that the file presents a daily record of what the employment
department does in the engaging of help. These duplicate slips are
carried in a temporary file until the original comes back to the em­
ployment department. The corresponding duplicate is then taken
out of the temporary file, so that what is left are only the duplicate
employment passes that are not reported on. Some of these are
accounted for by the fact that the party looked at the job and did
52266°—Bull. 202—16-----^3



not like it. Sometimes the foreman forgets to send it in. If he
does not return it in a few days’ time a tracer blank is sent to the
foreman, and if it is returned with the statement that the applicant
did not start work, or some similar statement, this tracer takes the
place of the original, which the applicant perhaps retained and did
not go to the job at all. The accumulation of several of these tracer
slips in a man’s personal record would indicate the chances you have
of setting him to work. Sometimes the chances are four to one
against setting him to work.
This matter is all collected into individual folders. The records
of the current employees are collected in one file and those of em­
ployees who have left our plant are collected in another similar file.
So that if a pass is issued and the man employed and the pass duly
returned, the first thing to find out is whether we have a previous
record of him. If he has no record with us, a new one is started; on
the other hand, if a. previous record is found it is transferred to the
live file.
The notice which the employment department receives from the
foreman, as I say, indicates the character of the man’s service and
desirability as an employee in the foreman’s opinion. It also indi-*
cates the cause of his leaving. Sometimes we have to correct that
because the employee fails to give his foreman the real cause of his
leaving, feeling perhaps that it is easier to give a reasonable excuse
and let it go at that rather than indulge in any argument with the
boss. For instance, a man brings in a slip which states that “ he is
going to the old country,” presuming that means somewhere across
the sea. But when he is questioned in regard to his work we find that
he wants to work in some particular room. So it is evident that he
was dissatisfied with conditions where he was, the character of the
work he was doing, or something of that kind, and as he has changed
his mind about going to the old country he is perhaps set to work
where he may be satisfied and prove a desirable employee.
•These things, of course, figure into the turnover in a way; but
looking at the plant as a unit, there has been no change of the man,
simply a transfer from one job to another, although we do not con­
sider these things strictly as transfers.
In the case of transfer it is necessary to have a form which the
foreman fills out recommending a man for transfer. Or, if he is
obliged to lay off a certain number of hands, he sends the slips in
to the employment department as early as possible before finally
laying off hands, so that they may be transferred to positions that
may be open in other departments.
From the daily record, which is made up of employees leaving and
employees hired, we make up weekly reports of changes in the differ­
ent departments, and also tabulate the changes in the different jobs,



figuring the percentage of turnover; and such a report has been a
useful thing in the case of readjustment of wages and also in putting
our finger on sore spots, so to speak. That record, made up monthly,
forms a comprehensive view of the work in the different depart­
ments. There is, of course, something wrong when the percentage of
change on one job is much in excess of the changes on the average.
We have men oftentimes applying who seem to be desirable in every
way for something or other, but we have no particular job open at
that time. We have therefore adopted the rule of seeding such men
to department heads where we think there is a likelihood of their
being used to advantage. The interview blank is inclosed in an
envelope to the foreman in question, and in a very large percentage of
such cases the men are taken on.
The confidential inquiry blanks that are sent out for references are
filed in the employees’ personal records. Also the accident depart­
ment furnishes us with a record of each injury, so that may also be
filed. And sometimes it has been found to our advantage. We also
receive a notice when the claim, if there has been a claim, is settled.
The accumulation of a great many of these slips in a personal record
would indicate the hazard of the future employment of this man in
any place where any possible chance of injury exists, and should put
the employment department on its guard.
School certificates (which certificates are issued by the city school
authorities) have to be very carefully looked after, and that requires
a system of indexing, so that there may not be confusion in regard
to the employment of persons at the age of or around the age of 16
or under. As a matter of fact, the child-labor problem, so called, is
not a problem with us at all. We have, I think, 25 or 30 persons
under the age of 16 in our employ at present. This out of a total of
over 15,000. Nevertheless we have to make them show us they are
16, and keep careful records of their certificates. The employing
of unskilled and illiterate foreign labor on jobs that present some
special hazard in regard to accident is perhaps what is responsible
for a considerable number of injuries which are bound to occur in the
best-regulated plants. And for the elimination of the chances of
injury we have recently adopted a form which I deem of enough im­
portance to dwell on for a moment.
This is the “ overseer’s certificate as to inexperienced employees.”
This certificate is made out or at least started at the employment
department when the employment pass is issued, and gives the name
and pass number, address, and age, and is sent along with the employ­
ment pass to the overseer. He receives this certificate and is required
to fill it in, answering questions as to the work assigned, and if he
personally saw that the employee was given a suitable and safe place



in which to work, and if he personally inspected the machinery or
apparatus to be used by the employee.
In the employment of labor the question of master and servant is
one that comes to the front when accident matters are discussed, and
in a large corporation the master ceases to be the individual, but is
lepresented by the foreman on the job, who is, in fact, the master.
Under the law it is his first duty to see that the employee is given a
suitable and safe place in which to work and that the machinery and
apparatus are personally inspected by him and are safe to be used for
work. He is also to explain fully to the employee the regulations of
the company for the conduct of its employees while engaged in said
work. Other questions on this blank are, “ Was the employee given
express orders never to clean the gears, belts, or moving parts of any
machine while same are in motion ? 55 64Whom did you select to teach
or instruct him? ” 44His address? ” 44Did you expressly instruct said
fellow servant to point out and warn him against the dangers inci­
dent to said work? ” 44Did you acquaint said fellow servant with the
lack of experience of said beginner, if any ? ” 44Are you sure that the
fellow servant told to teach or instruct said beginner speaks the same
native tongue ? ”
This record, properly filled out and signed by the overseer—and I
do not suppose the overseer would sign it unless he had personally
explained the details relating to the matter—is filed away, and it is
up to the overseer to exercise extraordinary care. We will admit that
it is the overseer’s first duty to do these things, but does he do them
in the ordinary cases? Aren’t we laying ourselves open to the charge
that we fail to personally inspect, properly warn, and instruct the
new employee? This record, properly filled out, might be very val­
uable, as you can imagine, in case a claim is set up that proper
instruction or caution was not given to the new employee.
This blank becomes part of the inexperienced hand’s record and is
of particular value to keep foremen fully alive to the care and respon­
sibility of the people working under them:
O verseer’s Certificate



Inexperienced E mployee.

Name_________________________________________________________Pass No___________
A ddress______________________________________________________ Age_______________
To w hat extent does he speak and understand English?_________________________
Did you have to use an interpreter in talking to him?___________________________
W hat work did you assign him?_________________________________________________
Did you personally see that he was given a suitable and safe place in which
to work?_______________________________________________________________________
Did you personally inspect the machinery and apparatus to be used by him?____
Did you find them safe?__________________________________________________________
Were they suitable for the purpose for which he was to use them?______________
Did you fully explain to him the rules and regulations of the company for the
conduct of its employees w hile engaged in said work?________________________



Did you give him express orders never to clean the gears, belts, or moving parts
of any machine while same were in motion?__________________________________
Whom did you select to teach or instruct him?_________________________________
The latter’s address_________________________________._____________________________
Did you expressly instruct said fellow servant to point out and warn him
against the dangers incident to said work?____________________________________
Did you acquaint said, fellow servant with the lack of experience of said be­
ginner, if any?_________________________________________________________________
Are you sure that the fellow servant you told to teach or instruct said beginner
speaks the same native tongue?________________________________________________
S ig n ed ______________ ,

D ate_______________________________________
N ote.— If the beginner is a female, it is understood that the feminine pro­
noun applies where the masculine pronoun is used.
Read the reverse side of this sheet. Important instructions are printed there.
This certificate to be returned to employment department as soon as made out.
To the overseers of the Amoskeag Manufacturing Co.:

We wish to impress upon you the importance of the obligation which this
company has always assumed toward those who come to work in the mills and
who are inexperienced and unfam iliar with the work and the dangers incident
The company has to rely largely upon you to perform that obligation. In the
first place it is necessary that each hand be given a suitable and safe place in
which to work and safe and suitable machinery, apparatus, and appliances with
which to work. The company imposes upon you the duty to personally inspect
the place in which they are set to work and the -machinery, apparatus, and
appliances to be used by them, and to see that they are safe and suitable for
the purposes for which they are to be used. It is your business also to fully
acquaint them w ith the rules and regulations of the company; and when there
are rules and regulations posted in the room you are to point them out to the

We desire particularly to impose upon you the duty of properly instructing
and warning all new employees. The dangers that are incident to the work
must be clearly pointed out. They must not only be pointed out and explained,
but it is your duty also to see that the hazards of the employment are appreci­
ated by the employee. The person you select to teach the beginner must be a
careful, prudent person who will thoroughly show the beginner how to do the
work in a safe and proper manner without injury to himself.
This fellow servant, so chosen by you, to teach the inexperienced hand
should him self be given express orders not only to thoroughly instruct said hand
as to how to do the work but to warn him against all dangers incident to the
work, so that the most inexperienced person will know and appreciate the
dangers to be guarded against.
The company does not intend by this statem ent to define its legal duty in the
premises, nor to limit, by the above enumeration of duties which the company
imposes upon you, the scope of your activities in the prevention of accidents.
Much must be left to your judgment, care, and forethought, and the company
looks to you to take such precautions as w ill minimize the danger of personal
injuries to employees.

H. F. S t r a w , Agent.



The C h a i r m a n . —Perhaps, owing to the lateness of the hour, you
will be willing to omit a discussion of this paper, and pass on to the

Have you tested your common-sense plan on known cases, such as your
manager, superintendent, or foreman?
Mr. G a r d n e r , of Cheney Bros.—The system of tests we are now
using was first given to a group of some 30 of our employees of
varying mental capacity. At the same time six or eight executives,
in a position to know the capabilities of the man tested, independ­
ently listed these men in the order in which, according to their
judgment, they should rank. The correlation of the results of this
test with the tabulated ranking by the executives was in the neigh­
borhood of 90 per cent. That is, before we gave these tests to a
single applicant for employment we experimented with 30 of our
own employees who had been with us long enough to enable us to
get a fairly accurate knowledge of their capabilities, and found that
this experiment agreed 90 per cent with the best composite human
judgment we could get.
Mr. ---------.—I would like to ask Mr. Gardner a question. How
long a time do you allow to elapse after examination before you pass
final judgment upon a case; how long a time do you watch your man?
Mr. G a r d n e r . —The results of our tests are listed in detail as to each
characteristic of the applicant, and are followed up all the time in
comparison with the actual work of the man after being employed.
Mr. S h u m w a y , of the American Optical Co.—About three years
ago I had occasion to visit a city in the Middle West, a place of about
5,000 people. Kenosha is quite a manufacturing city. It has the
largest bed company in the world, a brass company, and the Charles
F. Jeffery automobile concern. They have a central employment
bureau that is hired by all the manufacturers, and they all pay
jointly. If a man in the Jeffery plant wants to go to the Kenosha
Brass Co., he goes to the central bureau. That bureau has a record
of ev^ry workman in town, and has direct data on every workman in
town, and has direct data on everyone that comes to town, thus weed­
ing out all floaters. I had occasion to use their services. I wanted
a tinner for tinning copper, so I went down to see the manager of
this bureau, and he said, “ Yes; there is such a man in town. He
had a little trouble with his firm, but is a good workman. He wanted
something-to do, so I put him to work digging a ditch.” The man­
ager showed me how to find the man. I hired him, and he turned
out to be a very good man.



The C h a ir m a n .— Those who ask these questions are certainly ask­
ing difficult ones.

W ill the completion of the war produce a shortage or surplus of labor?
How many believe that a shortage of labor will come with the
close of the war? Please raise your hands. [Only a small show of
How many believe there will be a surplus of labor after the close
of the war? [Majority.]

W hat effect w ill the ending of the war have on employment conditions and
wages ?
How many think the wages will be higher after the close of the
war? [No hands raised.] How many think wages will be lower?
[A few hands raised.] How*many think there will be no change?
[A few hands raised.]
The C h a ir m a n (still reading questions) :

If it is thought that the completion of the war w ill produce a shortage of
labor, what plans are being made by employment managers to meet this
How best to obtain fem ale operatives under present conditions?
H as the keeping a record of the cost of errors by employees been worked out
and found to be of sufficient merit to warrant the expense?
Mr. R a l p h G. W e l l s , secretary Employment Managers’ Asso­
ciation.—One firm has worked out a system of keeping track of
the expense of errors. A record is made of the error and the ex­
pense resulting from it. It is then taken to the employee to sign
for the expense, which is not deducted from his wages, however, but
the record is filed in his folder. Eventually the employee who is
careless gets a collection of slips showing the amount of expense
involved in his work. This firm considers the system well worth
The C h a ir m a n (reading) :

How can it be made possible to hold the help after it has been secured?
Here is a question regarding the following up of people who leave
without notice. Perhaps that can be answered by a show of hands.
How many concerns attempt to follow up employees who leave with­
out notice? [Small show of hands.]

In what way can a concern instruct the younger element so as to keep them
until such a time as they are fully developed?
I believe that it can be answered, but it would take an hour.
(The meeting adjourned at 5.20 p. m.)




President L a w r e n c e . — Gentlemen, when I looked around this room
this noon time, I felt that the first annual conference of the Em­
ployment Managers’ Association was a success. When I look around
to-night and see the 800 men here, I am sure of it.
You all know that the Employment Managers’ Association is made
up of men interested in employment problems, who get together
for their mutual benefit.
The statement has been made by several men this afternoon that
they would like to join this association if they were asked. Any­
body who has been invited to come to this conference would be
welcomed as a member, and the secretary will be glad to receive your
application. We do not say this as though we were urging you
to become members, but simply because that statement was made by
several this afternoon.
I am going to ask a man who has always been interested in this
association, who is chairman of another association that is very closely
allied with this one, to say a few words, and I take pleasure in
introducing Prof. Paul H. Hanus, of Harvard.
Prof. P a u l H . H a n u s . — I know of no more important problem than
how to discover ways and means of what can be done for the young
lives committed to us, whether we are teachers or employers, for their
physical welfare and their intellectual, moral, and vocational de­
velopment. There is no more important thing we can try to do
for them than to help guide them into the best education they can
attain and the best career accessible to them.
During the past few years we have developed in the public-school
system a number of educational life-saving stations. What they are
I have not time to go into, but certain it is, as time goes on, there
is opportunity for you to profit by them because they are concerned
with developing more and more usable employees through the publicschool agencies than have been developed. We teachers realize it is
our duty to adjust educational opportunity to real educational needs,
and I judge that you employment managers regard it as your duty
to seek to adapt the individual to the employment for which he is
best fitted by nature and training and to do that not only at the outset
of his career as a worker but progressively thereafter.
So that, as I understand it, one of the fundamental problems of this
organization is how to help every employee in his own interests and
in the interest of his employer to make the most of himself and of
the institution with which he happens to be connected. You are no
longer content to hire and fire. You are determined to make the
most of the human material which you for the time being control.



I congratulate you, therefore, most heartily on the great work you
have undertaken. You are engaged in nothing less than industrial
and commercial life-saving activities. I can not do better than to
say to you, “ Go on ! Go on ! Go on ! ”
President L a w r e n c e . —We were very fortunate in having as a
chairman this afternoon a man who filled the bill to perfection. We
are fortunate in having a man to-night that can fill the job to-night
to perfection. I introduce to you Mr. James P. .Munroe.
Mr. J a m e s P. M u n r o e , of the Munroe Felt & Paper Co.—Mr. Law­
rence has certainly proved that he has one of the chief qualifications
of an employment manager, and that is, of shoving his job onto the
shoulders of somebody else. I take pleasure in introducing Mr. T. K.
Cory, of William Filene’s Sons Co.


I have been asked to speak to-night on the “ Selection and develop­
ment of employees.” My great-great-grandfather, if he were living,
would say that the great problem in industry is getting the people.
If I ever become a great-great-grandfather, I suppose my great-greatgrandchildren will say the same thing unless some of them realize
that business must be organized and run by the best material that God
Almighty has given us—the human being. I know of nothing better
than that.
That statement needs to be qualified somewhat. Industry should
safeguard itself by drawing a middle line between the extremely
high-class persons and the extremely low-class persons and then it
can safely assume that anything above the middle line is fairly good
material to start with.
As a basis for right selection we should define the position rather
than the person. We have not so many employees in our establish­
ment, but so many positions, so many jobs that require a human
being; and if the position is carefully defined and outlined it is so
much easier to select a fit human being to fill that position.
I believe after we get that material they are entitled to a living
wage. We employ no girl who is less than IT years of age and no
boy less than 16. A grammar-school education is required.
These standards materially aid those selecting employees to draw
the middle line, below which they should not go.
In the selection of employees we should know, first of all, how near
our standard that employee’s standard may be. It is simply absurd
to hire people without knowing anything about their personal stand­
ard, and believe they are going to measure up to the standards you
are setting for them. Their standards are difficult to determine, but
if great pains are taken when selection is made and if care is taken
when they are put to work that they receive every assistance possible
to help them to find themselves in your organization during the first
few weeks of employment there will be more certainty in your judg­
ment when you do decide that the new employee is going to fit into
your particular organization.
In our establishment to insure the maintenance of our standard
we have a man to select the men and a woman to select women because
she knows women better than a man would. She is not going to be
misled by a flashy woman or a pretty woman as a man might.




I believe also that a very important thing we are liable to over­
look in selecting people or in dealing with people is the importance
of the relationship of employer and employee. Going further than
that, I believe it is very important to know the relationship of em­
ployer and employee. Just so far as we have dissatisfaction we have
a division which includes the friends of those dissatisfied and this
condition is bound to create discord and to make more difficult the firm
handling of the people.
I believe that the employee has other rights. First of all, he has
the right to demand that we be good employers. It should not be
possible that because of the temper of a foreman or an underexecu­
tive an employee is liable to discharge. An employee is an invest­
ment rather than an expense, and every effort should be made to make
the best out of that investment. The employer is responsible that
the health of his employees does not suffer from conditions under
which they work—that they have the best environment that they can
get anywhere and that they earn a living wage. These three should
stand for happiness. I think to assure happiness in work is one of
the biggest functions of the employment manager. Certainly work
from happy people is the best kind of work.
I want to say that I lay a great deal more emphasis upon the educa­
tion of employees than I do upon the original selection. All of us
lose a lot of intelligent people because we have made a mistake in
selection, and unless we have an educational department to back up
the extremely high-class employment of people there is no way of
remedying mistakes in selection. I f we are skilled enough, however,
to employ only those above the middle line between the high and
extremely low class, then we may be fairly sure that we have people
who are susceptible to education and education will be the solution of
our problems.
A big mistake which will be remedied by a well-run educational
department will be the determining of the fitness of a person for a
position. The educational department should be able to tell you not
alone that a man or woman in the auditing office is not good at figures
but it should be of material help in saying for what the person is best
fitted, so as to avoid the losses which are bound to occur if a person
is discharged just because of his inability to do one stated job.
A good many times we find a young person holding a minor posi­
tion who has splendid executive ability if you give her a job big
enough. We had a girl in our establishment who was a college-bred
girl and had been transferred from one department to another. (An
executive in our store can only remove an employee from his section,
and the person is turned back to the employment office, which places
him in some other division and gives him another trial.) She had
licked every executive over her, and she only wished she would be
sent up to me.



It was not very long before 5 foot 4 inches of blind fury drifted into
the office, banged the door, and threw' the morning ad on the table.
“ I would like to know how you expect me to sell goods with an ad
like that,” said she. I said to her “ Our advertising department is a
Aery important department, and if you can do this thing better, we
should like to have it done.” “ I do not mean to rewrite that ad,”
she said. “ You know how sofa pillows ought to be put on a sofa.
I f they are put on the sofa in a set way, perfectly straight they do
not invite you very much; but you can set these pillows in such a way
that they are inviting. Do that to your ad.” I said, “ Do it.” And
she went over to change it. I wish I had time to tell you how I got
her into the advertising department. At any rate that girl went into
that department, and to-day she is one of the executives, and one of
the most efficient girls in the establishment. All the time we are
losing executive ability because we are not organized so that we may
know the difference between executive ability and impertinence.
Every establishment should .have some man whose hide is so thick
and dignity so small that he can stand a great deal of stepping on
without losing the employee.
When a person is employed you should have your educational
department educate him not only for his job but for the job above.
One of the rules in our establishment is that a man, slated for pro­
motion, must know his job fairly well; must also know fairly well
the job he is going to, and, most important of all, must have an un­
derstudy to take the job he is going to vacate.
Shall I enlarge on that? In the theatrical business you realize
the importance of an understudy, and you also realize that the
ability of a principal largely depends upon the troupe that surrounds
him and upon his understudy. It is simply good organization to
place the emphasis on such training as we require.
Another big problem we are learning to solve is what to do with
the college boy who knows more than we do when he comes to us.
When he comes out of college he is the best material we can get
anywhere for executive work. If we do not know how to handle
him it is not the boy’s fault, it is our own. We must know how to
make the transition for him between the artificial college, atmosphere
he has been living in for four years or more, and the practical busi­
ness world. When we can do that we shall furnish to business a
larger number of the college-bred men who arc beginning to appear
' at the head of big institutions to-day.
The C h a i r m a n . —The next speaker is Mr. H. G. Smith, vice
president and general manager of the Fore Eiver Shipbuilding Cor­
poration. His subject is “ Improving the efficiency and quality of


I am taking the place of Mr. Powell to-night, who was supposed
to be here and talk to you on the subject of “ Improving the efficiency
and quality of personnel.” I know Mr. Powell regrets very much
his inability to be with you at this time, and I regret it also. But I
will attempt to tell you in a very practical way some of the things
we have done and have been trying to do in the past few months to
improve the efficiency and quality of our employees. I am very
glad the subject selected for me is this very one, because it is a very
broad one, and permits me to talk upon any part of this subject
quite properly.
We have been giving very careful consideration for a long time
to what we could do to better this employment problem and raise
the standard of help, take better care of them, and promote better
relations between employer and employee. A great many problems
were in our minds, such as the construction of an employment office,
the construction of a suitable relief hospital, and the carrying out of
a great many problems relating to the hiring, following up, and
discharge of employees. The question finally resolved itself into a
careful analysis of what we should do in calling outside help to give
us their ideas, and then to lay out a program as to how we should
We decided to send a committee of men from our plant to a number
of large plants in the Middle West and in Philadelphia, to visit these
places and secure some direct information as to what other people
are doing, and to come back to us with recommendations as to what
we should do along the same lines.
The selection of this committee was a matter that took a good deal
of time, as we desired to secure men that we thought would obtain
the information we wanted and would also be benefited by it. We
selected for this committee the head of our welfare department, one
from the office staff, and four men from the ranks in the yard, one
foreman, two in leading positions, and the fourth a mechanic, believ­
ing that each was the type of man who, when he came back, would
tell what he had seen and spread the information through the plant.
They visited not less than 15 plants in Cleveland, Detroit, Colum­
bus, Dayton, Pittsburgh, and other places. They were furnished
with a questionnaire as to exactly what they were to obtain, which
was modified, as they proceeded on their trip, to suit the necessities of
the different plants visited. They carried with them a stenographer,




who at the close of each day wrote up a summary of what they had
learned and forwarded it to the plant, so that by the time they had
returned the company’s officers had an opportunity to analyze withconsiderable care the work being done.
When the committee returned to the plant we called them before
the board of directors and spent several hours going over the details
of the trip. We found them all very enthusiastic as to what they had
seen and filled with ideas that could be put into operation in our plant
to advantage. They were then directed to draw up a report, first, for
each individual plant visited, then a summary report with a tabular
statement under the various headings in the questionnaire, and finally
recommendations for improving the unemployment problem.
The summary report was printed and sent to every man in a lead­
ing capacity in the plant, about 200 in number. They were asked to
read the report carefully, comment upon it, and make any direct
recommendations as to the ideas under consideration that should be
carried into effect. Of the 200 copies sent out we received comments
from 167, of whom 140 submitted comments of considerable length on
from one to all of the topics. We found that through the talking
done by the men who had been on this committee these men expressed
their sentiments fully and criticized as well as complimented what
had been reported upon.
As a result of this analysis and comment by the men from the yard
a final summary was drawn up as representing the various topics for
consideration, with the consensus of opinion of those who had com­
mented upon it. I am going to refer to a few of my notes of the
report if you do not object.
One of the first questions was the desirability of the establishment
o*f a new employment bureau, and the opinion was almost unanimous
that this should be done on a much higher plane than it had been
conducted in the past. In this question of employment was consid­
ered the type of building, the accommodations for the men, the weed­
ing out, and the final selection from the eligible list. The question
of the employment office had been under consideration for a long
time, but since the committee’s return the design has been completed,
a*id we are now prepared to construct a building that contains many
of the features suggested.
It was decided that when men seek employment in large numbers,
if you can not hire them all, a quick selection should be made so that
those outside would not have to wait a long time. The building con­
tains sufficient room where the men can be properly seated—those men
that may be employed—and these men from which selections are to
be made are called behind an inclosure where they can talk freely to
the clerk and where they can not be overheard by those outside.
These are small details, but considered of great importance and are
adopted in the design of the building.



The next question was the physical examination which is con­
ducted for all new employees, and many comments were submitted as
to having this done quickly and as to treating the men very courte­
ously. Those who do not pass should also be given advice and sug­
gestions as to what should be done to put themselves in proper shape
for employment at a later date.
The question of the establishment of rules for the courteous treat­
ment of applicants was considered absolutely unnecessary, with the
proper man in charge of the hiring. The establishment should put a
man in the position of hiring men who is courteous himself, and he
would need no rules for his guidance. This question having arisen,
and thinking that the committee had some further ideas, wre called
on that committee to give us some specifications for a suitable clerk.
Upon these we largely based our selection, and we have put a man on
trial, and we expect him to be the incumbent of this office in the new
The question of an eligible list was considered to be of great im­
portance, it being felt that we should carry an eligible list at all
It was also considered important that at the time a man is hired
he should be told the rate he is to receive, so that there may be no
Another item of great importance was the analysis of quits and
discharges. We have put into effect a much more elaborate analysis
of quits, discharges, and transfers than had been previously done.
Connected with this subject of discharge is the question of a court
of appeals, to which any employee could present his grievances, so
that the discharged man, if he was not in the wrong, could be rein­
stated; this wTas given much consideration, and has resulted in some
seven or eight or more well-qualified men securing employment by
transfer to other parts of the yard, or securing their old position
from which they had been discharged through a misunderstanding.
The most important element in the employment problem is the
following up of the employee. It is not enough for them to get
into the yard, but they should be followed up, visited occasionally
by the employment manager or some one higher in authority than
the rank of foreman, to find out their living conditions outside, or if
there is any particular complaint which they have in mind they can
air it and have action taken on it. Also, this following up is ex­
tremely valuable in finding out the qualifications of a good man.
This information should be recorded for future reference.
Connected with this was promotion from within the ranks, which
matter secured a great deal of comment, as well as pensions for em­
ployees. Anything in the pension line is very desirable, but should
be done with extreme care. The questions of good working condi­
tions, welfare work, library and visiting nurse, were all commented



upon. We received a great deal of comment on the question of a vis­
iting nurse. The plant has not had one, but we expect to have one
We received comments on a cooperative store, a printing shop for
the printing of the works’ paper, and a lunch room. We were just
rebuilding our lunch room, and were practically ready to put it
into operation. We were immediately flooded with comments. We
were all wrong. The result was that we adopted the suggestions
of the committee, which were found to be very practical.
The question of housing received a good deal of attention. Also
the question of entertainment and clubs. The company had under
consideration the construction of a club house, which is now actually
begun. As a result of information we received from these other com­
panies, a club has been organized along similar lines to those of
the best ones, and its officers have been elected principally from
I think I have covered the principal things we have actually
done as a result of the report of this committee. Whether we are
right or wrong time alone can determine.
The C h a i r m a n . — The next subject, “ The employment department;
its functions and scope,” will be presented by Mr. H. L. Gardner,
employment manager of Cheney Bros.


As you probably note on the program, Mr. Horace B. Cheney was
to have spoken to you, but, unfortunately, he was called to Wash­
ington unexpectedly, and therefore found it impossible to attend. I
am very sorry, as he is a man very greatly interested in this problem.
I want to keep myself on the proper track, so ask your indulgence
while I read my paper rather than try to make a speech.
In every mechanical operation of manufacture there are three basic
factors—the machine, the method, and the operative. American in­
genuity and invention has developed new machinery to meet the
needs of the wide field of industry in the United States to the point
where we now have probably the best machinery in the world at
our disposal. Methods of handling material and of conducting work
have undergone in recent years so radical a change, through the in­
troduction of the generally called “ scientific-management ” systems,
that seemingly incredible results in increase in production and reduc­
tion of manufacturing cost have become an everyday matter. So
much has been written and said of the work along these lines by
such men as Taylor, Emerson, Gantt, and others that I need take
only sufficient time on this subject to emphasize the wonderful bene­
fit an intensive study of such conditions has brought to both the
manufacturer and his employees.
So great have been the strides in the development of two of our
three important factors that too often, I fear, it has been felt that
the ingenious machine and the modern method have entirely solved
the problem. As the strength of a chain depends on that of each
individual link, even more does the success of a machine or a method
depend upon the efficiency of the workmen involved. This brings us
to the third of our important factors, the operative, and to-day the
thinking men of large interests are coming to the realization that
this factor, the human element, should be considered first in impor­
tance in the successful conduct of a business.
Results have been obtained in the development of machines and
methods only by exact work on the part of men and departments
specializing on these lines. Before we can approach the solution of
the efficiency problem we must accord to its most important factor,
the scientific selection and training of the employee, the same con­
sideration given the machine and the method. The first step in this
direction is the establishment of a functionalized employment depart­
ment ; getting away from the old “ hit or miss ” methods, and making
a study and a specialty of employment matters.

52266°—Bull. 202—16------4




The ideal employment department can not be developed in a week
or a month. The present success of the machines and methods is the
result of long study, experiment, and hard labor, and the perfection
of employment work will require the same efforts. The superintend­
ent, foreman, or other executive, who does the hiring and firing under
the old system, can not have the time to attend to his regular duties
and still give to the procuring and the selection of employees the
time and attention deserved.
The immense economic loss in actual dollars and cents due to
promiscuous methods has been competently demonstrated and needs
no further argument. I have yet to hear of a single manufacturing
establishment which has installed a central employment department
that has not found it a great improvement over any other system of
employment. Such a department offers the best practical means of
reducing to a minimum the hiring of the physically unfit, losing the
trained employee, and many other very expensive evils of the old
The functions of the employment bureau vary greatly, of course,
with the size, policy, and specific needs of the concern for which it
acts. I believe the following general divisions will perhaps cover
sonje of the most important services such a department, and such a
department alone, can render its employers:
First. To secure, by advertising and other standard methods, the
necessary applicants from which to select employees when required.
Second. To weed out undesirables in a personal interview by a
competent man; by a searching physical examination by the medical
staff; and by reference to former employers.
Third. To select (with the cooperation of superintendents and
foremen, if you wish) employees who are physically and mentally
equipped for the position in mind. That is, to put the right man on
the right job.
Fourth. To have complete, up-to-date record of service of every
employee; opinions of all foremen who have had employee in their
charge, as to ability, character, reasons for leaving, etc.
Fifth. Also to have complete, up-to-date wage-earning record of
every employee; dates of changes in rate or operation, and any other
items of interest in this connection.
Sixth. To act as a clearing house for the transfer, promotion, etc.,
of worthy employees, a “ go-between” for employer and employee.
Seventh. To make regular reports on turnover, wage averages, and
routine work; statistics on employment matters. Such reports will
serve the administration as a finger on the pulse to a degree otherwise
impossible and will frequently supply facts of vital interest.
Eighth. To make any especial studies, reports, or recommenda­
tions which may be required by, or of interest to the concern, and
which the employment department is best fitted to supply.



This is, of course, a rough outline only; the detail is a matter of de­
velopment by the individual to meet the requirements of his par­
ticular case. We have heard at this convention how well these details
can be carried out and how successfully complete employment records
can be made, so I need dwell no longer on this phase of the subject.
One of the most important services a central bureau can render is
in connection with the transfer of employees. Being at all times in­
formed of the needs of the individual rooms or departments, the em­
ployment bureau can arrange for the transfer of employees who are
properly fitted for the work in question and who have had, per­
haps, previous experience in the work to which they are transferred.
In this way the department which is obliged to cut down its working
force may be relieved without lay-off and at the same time the de­
partment which is in need of help can be given an employee whose
ability and characteristics are known and whom it is very desirable
to keep on the pay roll. Here again, the foremen convened would
rarely be in a position to know of the possibility of such transfers;
the existence of an employment department, in a position to watch
such matters, saves an employee for the company, increases the effi­
ciency of the departments affected by such transfers, and lowers the
labor turnover of the plant.
In the case of promotion, as well, the bureau can make itself es­
pecially competent, through personal knowledge of the individual
employee, his record on file in the department, etc., to assist the ad­
ministration by furnishing information or recommendations. The
incentive can be supplied the employee by keeping an application
file for transfers and promotion, and this method will bring forth
men of unexpected ability and ambition.
Investigation of previous employment is an important matter; this
is particularly true this year, perhaps, owing to the unrest and labor
disturbances which we are witnessing in this country. Our ex­
perience would seem to show that a form for this purpose which
requires a check mark under certain headings such as “ Excellent,”
“ Good,” “ Fair,” or “ Unsatisfactory,” as applied to an applicant’s
character, sobriety, ability, etc., generally gives a fairly compre­
hensive estimate of the applicant’s standing with his former em­
ployer. With practice much can be learned from this simple form
and a much larger proportion of inquiries are acknowledged than if a
long questionnaire is used for this purpose. Once more, this is
peculiarly a job for an employment department.
In the scientific selection of employees, only the edges of the
problem have as yet been touched, but without question a great deal
will be accomplished in this line in the next few years. Volumes of
theory have been written, but the greatest progress on this problem
will be made I believe, by the practical work and cooperation of em­
ployment men and employment departments.



One of the greatest fields in this line is the physical examination
to determine an applicant’s fitness for certain tasks. A number of
concerns are now sending applicants to an outside physician for em­
ployment examination, and in this way the exclusion of the victim of
infectious or contaminating disease or incapacitating physical afflic­
tion is made possible. While such methods are a long step in the
right direction, they are by no means complete. The applicant
whom such examination finds to be physically subnormal is too fre­
quently arbitrarily excluded from employment in the plant, while a
more complete knowledge of the subject would show this applicant
to be not only capable of, but desirable for certain specific tasks.
Moreover, the two to five minute examinations now in vogue in a
number of plants are necessarily far from comprehensive; any
amount of detail which it is possible to secure is of great value. A
medical staff in connection with the employment department offers
the only means of properly covering the important work of physical
examination of applicants for employment. The bureau analyzes
the physical requirements of the various forms of work done in the
plant, and with the expert advice of the doctor is enabled to place
the applicant on a task for which he is physically fit. In this manner
the applicant, who is otherwise desirable, is lost to the concern only
when found to be unfit for any and all of the operations open to a
new employee.
Of fully as great importance as the initial examination is the cor­
rective medical work possible in such an established department.
Many of the common physical ailments among active employees can
be greatly benefited or even completely cured by careful “ follow up ”
on the part of the medical staff. Probably the largest field for such
corrective work lies in the examination of eyesight. In addition to
preventing the employment of a color-blind applicant without glasses
on work of very close application, it is possible to procure proper
correction at a very reasonable cost for the needy cases. In our own
plant we have done considerable along this line, having procured as
many as 40 or even 50 sets of proper correction for employees in the
course of one month. By contracting with reputable optical con­
cerns excellent glasses can be furnished on prescription at a cost of
from $2 to $4 per pair; this cost covers 12 carat frames and com­
pound grinding of lenses when required, and is certainly an appre­
ciated saving to the employee. By supplying proper correction we
have traced directly to defective eyesight the cause of a large number
of cases of headache, chronic indigestion, etc. Eye strain was found
to be a great factor in cases of extreme nervousness and even faint­
ing among our female employees.
Our doctor has found one-third of the people whom he has ex­
amined to be suffering from a more or less advanced degree of Rigg’s
disease. It now appears that the next probable development with us



will be a dental clinic in which the care of the teeth can be given the
study and attention it deserves. Mr. Feiss, of the Clothcraft Shops,
considers the dental work in his shops a very important item.
To close the subject of physical examinations, possibly a few figures
from our own practical experience may be of interest. Our physician
has no private practice, but is employed solely on company work
conducted at the plant. During the month of March, 1916, he ex­
amined 327 applicants for employment. Of these only 11 were re­
jected for the following medical reasons:


active syphilis.
hereditary syphilis.
hereditary syphilis and imbecility.
tertiary syphilis and double hernia.
organic heart trouble, alcoholism, and varicocele.
advanced pregnancy.
refusal to undergo examination.

In connection with his work for our benefit association during the
same month, the doctor also reported the following cases among our
active employees:

suspicious tubercular cases.
organic heart disease.
chronic rheumatism.
cases of senility.
of Graves’s disease.
active kidney disease.
case of alcoholism.
old fracture of the skull.

This, with first-aid work, accident cases, daily treatment, and
dressings, which are routine matters, would seem to constitute a fair
month’s work. It can hardly require comment to show conclusively
that an employment department in which such records are available
for practical use and study is certain to offer something of value in
the selection and the subsequent treatment of employees. An inter­
esting development has recently come to our attention. We had in
our employ two men whose physical examination gave evident stig­
mata of degeneration, and such notation was made on their record
cards. They have both since fallen into the hands of the police, one
for confessed arson, the other for an act of the lowest morality. We
are now making a study of the correlation of such signs as the doctor
finds, with the subsequent behavior of the man so recorded, and are
considering the advisability of making the finding of such stigmata
in examining an applicant a reason for refusal to employ.
Another field of work for which an employment department is
peculiarly fitted lies in the selection of applicants who are mentally



qualified for specific tasks, which brings us to the consideration of
special tests for this purpose. Tests of a psychological nature are
without question in an embryo stage, nevertheless considerable prog­
ress has been made. It is not my mission this evening to go into the
details of such tests; much has been written and said both pro and
con on this subject, and it is improbable that these tests ever could
be or should be considered final estimates of mentality or of charac­
ter. We are using a series of tests at our plant and have found
them to be very valuable aids to judgment in determining the ability
of applicants for high-grade positions. They have been especially
successful, perhaps, in the selection for clerical, sales, efficiency, and
executive positions; but practice with us has shown that even the
imperfect tests at our disposal to-day are extremely helpful.
I have endeavored to outline some of the most evident fields of
usefulness in which an employment department should prove its
value. The establishment of such a bureau is too often believed to
necessitate stripping the foreman or superintendent of authority,
prestige, or discipline, placing these powers in the hands of one man
or his department. So drastic a course is never necessary and rarely
possible; a foreman’s authority need not be curtailed in the slightest
degree, unless his treatment of employees can not bear the light of
oversight which the existence of an employment department brings
to bear upon all employment relations. His power to discharge need
not in any way be affected, but the employment bureau can render his
use of this power (except in extreme cases) entirely unnecessary by
making possible the alternative course of transferring the man who
can not make out or who does not “ hitch ” with the boss. Even in
the selection of employees the foreman’s cooperation can be obtained
and his opinions recorded by a simple, practical card system.
Most large concerns employ a purchasing agent and a purchasing
department, not empowered to buy entirely without restraint or
supervision, but because this department becomes peculiarly adapted
to secure the best article at the best price. The foreman or super­
intendent of such concern does not personally advertise for, investi­
gate, purchase, or reject each piece of machinery which comes into
his room or department, yet does he feel that his authority has been
curtailed because the purchasing department has filled his requisition
for such a machine ? He has merely applied to the proper source for
the best they can secure for him, and his opinions, recommendations,
or criticisms (provided they are just and logical) will be given all
consideration by the purchasing department.
The functions and scope of an employment department in the
field of labor matters can readily be compared to those of the pur­
chasing department in its own line, and its relations with the execu­
tives of the concern are identical. Its mission is to equip and train
itself to the point where it is the logical agent for such work; to



work in hearty cooperation with other department heads, but to take
from them the routine work for which they are neither fitted nor
have the time. To get personally acquainted with the individual
employees, their abilities and characteristics, and to gain their con­
fidence^ and merit it ; to study, experiment, and work on any available
methods for the betterment of labor relations and conditions; to have
on file all possible information of interest to the concern; to make
itself indispensable and a financial benefit to the plant, through
earnest, consistent work and results achieved, should be the aim of
every employment bureau.
The functionalized employment department is here to stay; its
numbers are increasing from day to day; new organizations of em­
ployment men are being formed, discussion and conventions are
being held. This entire movement is tending toward (and is quite
necessary to) a more complete understanding, a more satisfactory
solution of the most important factor in the manufacturing industry
of to-day.
The C h a i r m a n . — We shall now listen to an address on “ Methods
of reducing the labor turnover,” by Mr. H. S. Dennison, of the Den­
nison Manufacturing Co.


Any development of the subject which has been assigned to me—
“ Methods of reducing the labor turnover ”—which pretends to be
at all serious, is in itself a strong argument for a strongly headed
employment department. The existence of and the continued in­
creasing success of this organization is a still stronger argument for '
such a department.
I do not need to argue for-it, but as the subject is so deeply in my
mind I am bound to spend a few moments upon it. I f there should
be a concern large enough to take up the time of a good man on
their employment problems, which has not yet established such a de­
partment, I want to urge upon them immediate action. I f a con­
cern is not large enough to take up the whole time of a man, I want
to urge that they use half a man—not the whole of a half man, but
the half of a whole man, and that that half may specifically be de­
voted several hours a day or week to this work.
I want to urge upon you men here, you employment managers,
first of all that you realize, though it may be painful, that your pro­
fession is in its infancy, and that you can not afford to feel that you
know very much, and that you must afford to think deeply and to
think fundamentally and constructively about the development of
your own work. I want to urge upon you to assume the responsibili­
ties which come with a growing opportunity, the end of which we
can not pretend to see to-day. I want to urge upon your bosses that
they act charitably, but persistently, note your shortcomings, and
insist upon their correction. The speediest possible development of
your jobs is to my mind of the first importance of this country.
I shall pass over very shortly the elements of overcoming an ex­
cessive labor turnover, which had to do obviously with the employ­
ment department, because the work of the employment department
has been more fully described this evening than I expected.
The labor turnover itself probably needs no exposition. Mr.
Alexander’s pamphlet probably most of you have seen. Millions
have been lost by the careless handling and treatment of employees.
We fail to realize that the employee is a capital asset, simply because
the treasurer does not have to write a check for a certain amount
to replace that asset after it has been lost. It has been very wisely
said by Mr. Cory that he would rather throw a sewing machine out
of his window, than one of his young ladies.



To conserve this capital asset you gentlemen have in the first place
your choice of applicants. I will pass from that very shortly, be­
cause in the present stage of the game the methods of choosing are
such that you can only help in that part of the job. You can not
settle the question of choosing wisely, hence choose as wisely as you
can. Learn and learn eternally how to do it better. Mr. Cory’s
great-grandchildren are going to know something about choosing
employees. My own feelings are that as a help in choosing men,
job specifications are of very great assistance and importance.
As a second feature I urge—and my warning may have more
reason than some of the items I shall speak of—I urge the employ­
ment manager to get into the works freely and often, so that the job
specifications are not before him simply in black and white, but
that he should know them from personal knowledge.
For the next 50 years three-quarters of the work of the employ­
ment manager will be education, instruction, and fitting people to
their job. We know that of the drop-outs a very large proportion
are among those who have been employed a short time, and that is a
prima facie case against the methods of shaping people to your
work. Instruction must be given by a person of understanding
mind, of sympathetic mind, with the power of appreciating the
person he is dealing with. For many kinds of employees a school is
very much to be desired, so that the hazing—conscious or uncon­
scious—of new employees by older hands may be done away with.
We too little appreciate the discouragement that goes with placing
the beginner along side the highly skilled worker. After five or six
weeks in a new place the sense of discouragement is always ready
to bear fruit. Especially for work that requires long training, a
school is an important possibility, which must not be disregarded.
I urge that the fitness of the employee be determined early and
not postponed. In our older methods we have been too apt to get
the employee as soon as possible on the job, forgetting all about him
for five or six months and waking up suddenly to.the fact that he is
there and that he is unsatisfactory. Very obviously it is fairness to
yourself and fairness to the employee if you are going to shift him
anyway to shift him early.
Wage increases we have found are easily forgotten in the first
few months, when perhaps they are more important than at any
other time. Clearly the advance in skill is apt to be the most rapid
after the first few weeks; and if wage increase is not going with
advance in skill, you lose all the real effect of the value in the proper
wage increase. The employment department must follow that up to
see that it is done. Do not leave it on the shoulders of the foremen.
There is too much on the shoulders of the foremen. Fasten the
responsibility on the employment department.



Among the causes of industrial difficulty—I think a great deal of
blame can be laid upon the foreman—the tactless foreman. I have had
men say—more than a half a dozen in the ranks of labor—say quite
frequently that the great difficulty lay with the foremen. One said:
“ We have no great trouble with the heads. Our difficulties are not
with them. If we can get to them with a clear field and with nothing
to interfere, we can always get satisfaction. It is the foreman who
starts things going, and the men at the head have to back him up.”
If that is true, it is up to the employer to try to overcome it, and as
part of the job the education of the foreman for foremanship must be
undertaken. The method of carrying that on can be easily begun by
having meetings of foremen, by having the cases that are reported
to the employment manager when they leave taken back in such a
way as to educate the foreman. There must be education of foremen
for foremanship. A skilled workman is not always a good foreman,
although we have always selected the skilled workman for that job.
He can do things so well himself that he has no patience with the
shortcomings of others.
Now, the greatest and most acute difficulty in labor turnover lies
in the direction of irregular employment. That is the most difficult
question to face, but a question which must be faced, and must .be
faced seriously by employers, who must not climb behind the state­
ment that fluctuations in industry have always been with us and
always will be, and there is no way to avoid them. There is not to­
day, but if we are going to do our share for the future we must find
some way of making a beginning.
The two serious problems are seasonal and cyclical. The cyclical
problem is as big as the whole of industrial civilization itself. It
must, nevertheless, be faced, and its probable betterment lies in the
facing of it. The fact that people are realizing that cycles recur and
are trying to be wise to prepare is the beginning of overcoming this
cause of unemployment. When a great majority of business men
are wise enough to foresee the occurrence of a depression, say, 18
months hence, and begin to counteract it, business depressions will
be less acute. The serious effects of unemployment due to depres­
sions are not merely hunger and suffering, but also the permanent
effects, the effects which at their worst make hoboes and always
deteriorate a man and injure his future earning ability. So we must
make every effort we are capable of to find chances and opportunities
to better these conditions.
Seasonal unemployment, while perhaps not as bitter, because
briefer, has ten times the chance of betterment. New means of over­
coming seasonal irregularity of employment are being suggested
almost daily. Methods of regularizing seasonal curves, of course,
depend very much on the industry. Getting orders early is one;



making stock goods in dull season; perhaps making parts of goods
where you can not make the whole article in dull seasons; taking on
of complementary lines, a field which has large possibilities and very
excellent results; advertising to stimulate “ bread-and-butter ” lines.
There are many hundreds of possibilities there, if you believe they
are there. If you do not believe they are there, you will never find
them. Then, finally, and more directly in your own line, employees
must be fitted for more than one kind of work.
But why should I talk to employment managers about the regu­
lation of seasonal employment? After perfecting the simple things
talked over this afternoon and evening, the routine and mechanical
things, hiring, training, and fitting properly, you will still have
your jobs and be ready to advance if there is any good red American
blood in you. Then you will find that the ups and downs of the
prosperity curve and the fluctuations of seasonal work most seriously
interfere with the efficiency of your work as employment manager,
and I am willing to predict that when you have made some progress
against the evils of irregular employment you will find yourself
face to face with that very real question, 64Profit sharing,” which
so few know anything about and so many know nothing about.
I wish I might have had more excess time than I have taken on
irregular employment. I can only ask you to take on faith the
truth of what I have said, so that you will do a little more than
your best in thinking of the possibilities in this line. This part of
your work is beyond the primary grade, and it will give a foretaste
of the future that will give to every one of you increased respect
for the work you have undertaken.
The C h a i r m a n . — Mr. R. C. Clothier, of the Curtis Publishing
Co., will address the Conference in regard to the employment de­
partment of that company.










We have heard several excellent talks to-night on the subject of
the employment department and its functions, and much that I
would like to say would be a repetition of what has already been
The function of the employment department not only consists of
the selection and engaging of help but also covers the broad field of
the development of the efficiency of personnel. Of course there are
manifold ways of doing this. No two companies, I dare say, have
the same machinery with which to do it. The organization of our
employment department is not at all unique, yet you may be inter­
ested in hearing briefly about it.
The employment department of the Curtis Publishing Co. is
divided into four subordinate divisions: First, the employment divi­
sion, which engages and places the help; the instruction division;
the medical division, which looks after the physical well-being of the
employees; and the welfare division, whose duty it is to create the
proper mental background for the workers.
It is the duty of the first of these four divisions, the employment
division, to engage the help, to keep in touch with the different sources
of labor supply, to analyze the human material as it is engaged, and
to refer it to the executives for whom it has been employed; these
department heads have the right of accepting or rejecting appli­
cants recommended by the employment division. For instance, let
us say that a requisition for help is received from the composition
division, where the type is set for the Curtis publications. A cer­
tain type of man is needed for a certain position. The requisition
is delivered to the manager of the employment division, who, before
approaching outside sources of supply,,immediately refers to the list
of employees already on the pay roll, to see if there is anyone who
can be promoted to that position. I f there is not such a person in
the company’s employ, the employment manager will have recourse to
the applications which have been made out by persons previously
applying for work. These applications are filed by kinds of jobs
and attached to each is an analysis card, which enables the employ­
ment manager visually to reconstruct the applicant.
Several desirable applicants are then sent for. The one best
fitted for the work is selected and is sent to the manager of the com­
position division. Assuming that the applicant is accepted, he is



then sent to the medical division, where the company physician sub­
jects him to a physical examination. The applicant is then sent back
to the employment division, where he is given the 44glad hand,”
welcomed into the organization and presented with a copy of a
pamphlet explaining the workmen’s compensation law and a copy
of the book of rules, which contains information he should have as
an employee, and which is imprinted with the applicant’s name.
The imprinting of the applicant’s name on the book is an idea ob­
tained from Mr. Dennison. It is felt that the applicant who receives
this book with his name actually printed on it probably within a
half-hour of his first interview, will take more interest in it than if it
were handed to him like any other piece of circular matter.
In starting the work, the new employee is made to feel that we
have a personal interest in his success and progress.
The employment division also acts as a clearing house of labor
between the various departments, thus preventing the possibility of
one operating department laying off help while another is engaging
help of precisely the same character.
Another function of the employment division is to see that
employees who are leaving our employ for any reason are personally
interviewed. There is, of course, a direct channel of intelligence to
be transmitted from the management down to the employee, but
unfortunately there is too infrequently a channel through which sug­
gestions and complaints may be transmitted from the employees to
the management. Without this information it is impossible for the
management intelligently to mold working conditions in such a way
that they will make for enthusiasm and effectiveness among the
employees. This information is obtained very largely through this
system of farewell interviews to the employees who are leaving our
employ and who, for that reason, feel free to speak their minds
Instruction in our company is done department ally. Through our
instruction division, however (the second division of the employment
department), we maintain voluntary classes in general cultural sub­
jects and in courses which tend to increase the business ability of
the workers. These classes, notwithstanding their voluntary nature,
are very largely attended.
In addition we conduct an apprenticeship school, under the direc­
tion of our composition division, in cooperation with the Phila­
delphia school board. Here boys serve a five years’ apprenticeship
course and are turned out finished compositors.
One of the rooms of our instruction division is turned over to
the Philadelphia school board for the conduct of a school for those
of our boys who are less than 16, as required by the new child-labor



The welfare division of our employment department operates on
the basis that an employee who is happy and free from anxiety and
who works in a favorable physical environment can certainly do
better work and more of it than the employee who is anxious and
fearful and who does not work under the most agreeable physical
conditions. It is impossible, of course, to go into the detail of our
welfare work in the short time allotted to me. I might say, how­
ever, that it is the duty of the welfare division to go after the funda­
mental things first and pay attention to the less important things
afterwards. In these days, when problems of personnel are recog­
nized as being so genuine, the welfare division is an economic neces­
sity, but to measure up to its full value to the organization it must be
conducted on a strictly business basis. Every dollar put into it must
be made to yield 100 cents return.
You have heard much on the subject of labor turnover. We all
understand that it is the relation between the number of employees
engaged and the number on the pay roll, yet it is very hard to obtain
the correct comparative labor turnover figures, owing to the fact
that different concerns figure turnover according to different formu­
las. I believe that in some way a uniform formula should be adopted,
in order that our turnover figures may be interpreted with something
like scientific accurateness.
The employment department is, of course, a service department,
but it should work hand and glove with the operating departments,
helping them in a genuinely sincere way to increase their own effi­
ciency by increasing the efficiency of their employees. By following
such a policy faithfully, the employment department must inevitably
take its place in the organization as one of the productive depart­

Mr. C. H . H ood , of H. P. Hood & Sons.—I really feel it a little
dangerous to speak because I do not know what may come afterwards.
Possibly the safest thing to do is to tell you some of the things
I have made a note of which will help in the better manage­
ment of our business to-morrow. The best men produce the best re­
sults, and return the best service. Select with the greatest care the
best and only the best. After you have selected the best then instruct
them so that they are thoroughly instructed and put upon them all
the responsibility that they can carry. Responsibility develops.
Next, promote from the ranks, and in promoting, or at the time
of promoting, you must again select and instruct. You must give
as careful instruction now as when you began, and many times
employees will help you in the selection.



The best men receive the highest pay. Ordinary men receive ordi­
nary pay. Ordinary men make trouble at times. Better men receive
better pay.
Have employees’ councils. Let your employees come to the coun­
cils and let them be heard. I f possible let them go to the manage­
ment. Do not let a man leave without an interview with the proper
party. Lastly, let me say that poor men never leave; do not let
good men get away.
Mr. J a m e s L o g a n , of Worcester.—It is now half past 10, and it is
cruelty to keep you after this hour, but after I was seated at the
table your chairman said I must talk for a few minutes.
After every great war there has been a wonderful period of in­
dustrial development. It was so following the Crimean War, fol­
lowing the Civil War, the Franco-German War, and it will follow
the present war.
I do not think there has ever been given proper consideration to
one of the real causes for the great growth of our Nation after the
war. I think one of the principal things that made for the develop­
ment of the Nation was the ambitions that were aroused by the war.
Men went from the farms, factories, and stores, plain country boys,
and came back lieutenants, captains, majors, colonels, and in some
cases generals. They went from the villages and came back with
a Nation view. They reached out and developed the West. Men
were taught to obey first and then to command. This is going to
operate in Europe to-day on a larger scale, to my mind, than the
world has ever seen. The Russian peasant whose vision, had it not
been for the war, would have been bounded by the horizon where the
earth and sky meet, can never be compressed into the small, place he
would have been destined to fill.
When the war is over we are going to have a new world, and we
must adjust ourselves to it. The old world is passing away in the
circle of fire and blood, and it can never be the same world again.
Never again will one man have the power to drench the world with
the blood of the best and the bravest of men. Out of this will come
a democracy of Europe. And what is democracy? It can not be
defined. You can not compress democracy into a definition—that
means to limit and restrict. It is a great faith, and, as the Apostle
Paul described faith, it is “ the substance of things hoped for, the
evidence of things not seen.”
That is what these people on the other side of the world are going
to struggle for, and the nations are going to get out of it what Presi­
dent Lincoln said at Gettysburg, “ a new birth of freedom.” Great
Britain, as a power, is going to have a new birth of freedom. The
armies of the world are going to have a democracy they never had
before. They have been largely officered by men from the upper



classes, but so many of these men have been killed that they have
had to go to the ranks and put shoulder straps on the men in the
ranks. And they can never take them off again, and the man with
shoulder straps stands firmly on his feet.
To my mind, if I read correctly, there is in the army of France
to-day a democracy almost unknown in the other armies, a comrade­
ship with the rank and file that has made France a new nation that
we did not believe possible. France has become a new nation be­
cause of it. She found her soul thrdugh bitter defeat at Sedan.
When the war is ended these nations are going to be poor, and
very, very poor, and the impelling power of poverty makes fiber,
while too much prosperity produces fat. These people are going to
be trained down like race horses, and we in this country, with the
prosperity we have been having, will have grown flabby and soft
with the good things coming our way. We are going to need all the
efficiency we can possibly get to meet the problems right in front of
us. We have not begun here any too soon. It is time for us to set
our house in order to meet the competition of the future.
(Meeting adjourned at 10.45 p. m.)