Herman Miller. Essay

757 words - 3 pages

Herman Miller: Role Model in Employee and Environmental Relations

Case Summary and Questions for debate

•     The company had been a model for almost 70 years – until the 1990’s


•     Used as example of superb employee relations in business text books like
o     A Passion for Excellence
o     The 100 Best Companies to Work For in America

•     Interesting point of how the founder named the company after his father-in-law, giving honor to him who supported the business both in financial start-up and via family
•     The DuPree family maintained a paternalistic relationship with their employees
•     DuPree family brought their devout, faith influenced values to the company in various ways:
o     Kind, gentle tones with employee communications
o     Profit sharing and employee incentive programs (before they were popular)
o     Participative management methods
o     Silver parachutes for those who might lose their jobs
o     Considered the employees as vice presidents
o     Salary of top executives were not more that 20 times the average wage of the line worker
o     Evaluations given to and by employees every six months

•     Results and evidence of Excellent Employee Relations include
o     Loyal workforce
o     Development and movement from within the company
o     Gifted design teams
o     Commitment to doing what was right (rather than what was best)


•     Stopped using two species of trees for their rosewood signature piece “Eames chair” when it was discovered they came from vunerable rain forests
•     90% cut in trash hauled to landfills
•     Built $11 million waste-to-energy heating and cooling plant resulting in $750,000 annual savings in fuel and landfill costs
•     Ceased use of Styrofoam cups and distributed 5,000 mugs to compensate
o     ‘on spaceship earth there are no passengers . . only crew’
•     Exceeded Clean Air Act requirement with ‘ethically correct’ machines built to incinerate 98% of the toxic solvents from the staining of wood
Herman Miller Case Study


•     Herman Miller profits over $40 million in the 1980’s
•     First loss recorded in 1992 of $3.5 million
•     By 1995, a $1 million company, yet profits down to $4.3 million...

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