Despite having to fight for its place in a competitive microchip market, National Semiconductor has a strong, well trained and motivated team of employees. The company, based in Greenock, Inverclyde, manufactures analogue semiconductors, the silicon chips that are used in everything from mobile telephones and computers to cars.
It is owned by National Semiconductor Corporation of California and opened in 1969. But the established market has almost reached saturation point and firms are having to look to India and China for future growth.
Four years ago, the parent company announced it was closing Greenock and relocating to California. The Scots fought back, increasing productivity by 10% and concentrating efforts on developing staff, 30% of who are engineers and technicians. Greenock remained open but staff numbers are 559 compared with 1026 two years ago.
Despite these insecurities 70% of employees believe the firm would lay people off only as a last resort and 73% 'that we are all in this together'. Meanwhile National Semiconductor shares the profits during good times. Operators are paid a typical 7% in bonus schemes, whilst 29% were offered stock options in the past year. One said' When the company is busy work wise, it does share the profits, although some of the goals it sets are nearly impossible to achieve'.
Staff turnover is low at 2% (although the redundancies obviously affect this) and the absence rate is good at less than 3%. It has a mature workforce with almost half of the employees aged between 35 and 44. The firm scores wall on being friendly. Last year flexitime was introduced for office staff and 32|% have taken this up. Everyone has life assurance, a share save scheme and all over 18 have a final salary pension.
The firm says thank you with 'local hero' awards of up to £2,000 and a long service awards supper. At Christmas, staff are given a hamper and throughout the year, have access to a gym and physiotherapist on site, 79% of staff said the facilities contribute to a good working environment.
Even in difficult times, the firm supports good causes. In the past year, it has given £20,000 to help upgrade a scout camp and £34,000 to local secondary schools for the purchase of computer equipment. The firm's highest score in our survey was the 85% of staff who felt good about their contribution to the community. In all 67% want to work at National until they retire and nearly three quarters think it is a great place to work.
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