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At this Michigan firm, there are no supervisors, and employees set their own schedules

Courtesy of Dan Vermeesch
An employee-led huddle at Micron Manufacturing to make sure the first shift successfully hands off machines to the second shift.



A West Michigan company has come up with a remarkable way to address the skills shortage problem we hear about so much in our state.


Micron Manufacturing of Walker is a precision machining supplier, and Micron lets workers create their own schedules.

Credit Courtesy of Dan Vermeesch
The Micron Manufacturing team.

You want to be there for your first-grader's field trip? Do it.


Want to have a long lunch with your aging mom? You can.


Dan Vermeesch, general manager of Micron Manufacturing, and Dan Szczepanski, a Micron employee, joined Stateside to discuss this unique work environment.


Listen above for the full conversation, or catch highlights below.


On how the flexible schedule affects employee attraction and retention


"When we describe it to potential new employees, I think they think, 'Oh, that sounds good, but I can't believe it really is that way,' because every one of them comes in and within a few weeks they're flabbergasted and the flexibility that they have," Vermeesch said. "So I don't know that it helps with attraction because I don't know if anybody really believes it. But retention? For sure." 


On applying the idea to larger companies


"It won't work maybe for every industry, but any size company that has the ability to have the flexible means of satisfying the customer, it could work anywhere.... In the beginning we stumbled, we had mistakes, we did things wrong, but you've got to have confidence that it's the right thing to do with and for the people, and it'll work anywhere," Vermeesch said.


On how an employee might use those flexible hours


"I've been here 30 years, so I'm 50 now, but when my kids were younger, my wife was working at the hospital and she couldn't have flexible hours at all," Szczepanski said. "I would leave every day at 7:30 and take them, see them off to the bus, or drop them off at school, then I would come back at 8:30, and I did that for probably two to three years. That was a huge benefit.


"And now I see my ma once a week. I take an hour lunch because she lives relatively close by, so I've been doing that for quite a few years. I'll just take an hour lunch on a Wednesday or Thursday. And now it's gone back to third generation. I have my grandson who I get to see every morning ... and I sometimes spend a little extra time and come in late so I can spend some time with him, so I've benefited greatly from it."


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