Social Studies

Team Approach Flies High at GE Aviation"Teaming" is the term used at GE Aviation manufacturing plants to describe how self-managed groups of employees are working together to make decisions to help them do their work efficiently, maintain quality, and meet critical deadlines in the global aviation supply chain.This management concept is not new to GE Aviation; its manufacturing plants in Durham, North Carolina, and Bromont, Quebec, Canada, have been using self-managed teams for more than 30 years. This approach to business operations continues to be successful and is now used at most of its 77 manufacturing facilities worldwide.The goal of teaming is to move decision-making and authority as close to the end-product as possible, which means front-line employees are accountable for meeting performance goals on a daily basis. For example, if there is some sort of delay in the manufacturing process, it is up to the team to figure out how to keep things movingeven if that means skipping breaks or changing their work schedules to overcome obstacles.At the Bromont plant, workers do not have supervisors who give them direction. Rather, they have coaches who give them specific goals. The typical functions performed by supervisors, such as planning, developing manufacturing processes, and monitoring vacation and overtime, are managed by the teams themselves. In addition, members from each team sit on a joint council with management and HR representatives to make decisions that will affect overall plant operations, such as when to eliminate overtime and who gets promoted or fired.This hands-on approach helps workers gain confidence and motivation to fix problems directly rather than sending a question up the chain of command and waiting for a directive. In addition, teaming allows the people who do the work on a daily basis to come up with the best ideas to resolve issues and perform various jobs tasks in the most efficient way possible.For GE Aviation, implementing the teaming approach has been a successful venture, and the company finds the strategy easiest to implement when starting up a new manufacturing facility. The company recently opened several new plants, and the teaming concept has had an interesting effect on the hiring process. A new plant in Welland, Ontario, Canada, opens soon, and the hiring process, which may seem more rigorous than most job hiring experiences, is well under way. With the team concept in mind, job candidates need to demonstrate not only required technical skills but also soft skillsfor example, the ability to communicate clearly, accept feedback, and participate in discussions in a respectful manner.What challenges do you think HR recruiters face when hiring job candidates who need to have both technical and soft skills?