How to Encourage Workers in a Garment Factory?

We have now about 280 operators in our factory and we want to apply production bonus, please note that the collection bonus is not working because they keep changing operators from one line to another line to replace the absence. Is there any method to apply to encourage workers. - this question was asked by an OCS reader.
Yes, you can apply some other methods than the collection bonus (group incentive system) to encourage your workers. I will explain those in this post. Keep reading to learn it. Money is the topmost thing that can motivate and encourage shop floor workers. But yes, there are other kinds of benefits that can also motivate your workers. If not all, most of them can be motivated.
Tips to motivate garment industry workers

1. Group performance bonus

I can understand the issue you are currently facing in the group bonus (line wise) system for your shop floor workers. But it is a common practice that we need to move workers from one line to another to manage the production line and keep production going.

There are some reasons for shifting workers from one line to another. It may be employee attendance (as you mentioned in your question), for better line balancing, or for better resource utilization, for new style set-up etc. Though workers move from one line to another line and work with a different group of workers, group incentive can be calculated, and the incentive amount can be provided to the workers. For such cases, you need to calculate the group incentive amount on daily basis. 

There are two conditions you need to follow - If most of the employees work in the same line in a day, you can start a group bonus system. For this, you should have a good data capturing system. You can still distribute the performance bonus amount on weekly basis after accumulating daily bonus amount. 
I have seen garment factories providing group incentive as well as an individual incentive in a similar production environment.

Read More: Incentive system for the apparel manufacturers

2. Individual performance bonus:

If you really find it difficult managing and calculating incentives amount for group bonus, when workers work in different line, go for the individual performance bonus. Design an incentive scheme for providing a bonus to the individual operators based on their individual performance. Say overall efficiency% of the workers. You can set eligibility criteria for earning the performance bonus, like
  • Individual worker’s overall efficiency should be 60% to get the jump bonus after that every point of efficiency increment they will earn an extra amount. 
  • Line efficiency should achieve x% to be eligible for the individual bonus.
  • Weekly or monthly attendance should be 100% or one leave per month for getting the bonus 
  • A few more criteria can be included when giving the bonus.
(Note: The Above bonus eligible criteria is shown for your reference. this may not work for your factory. You need to set your own bonus eligible criteria)

3. Employee attendance bonus

To reduce the employee attendance issue that you have mentioned in your note, you can provide your workers attendance bonus. The attendance bonus should be lucrative too. This will gradually improve the employee attendance in your factory. As a result employee movement between the production lines will come down.

4. Skill training of employees to enhance individual performance

Some of your workers may need skill training to improve their performance on the job they used to do. By increasing their performance, they will be eligible for earning more money as their skill level will be upgraded. Even if you provide an individual performance bonus, they will get a chance to earn extra money.

5. Overtime working and double rate for OT work

I will still focus on creating possibilities of extra earning opportunity for operators. If you allow overtime work, which will allow operators earning extra dollars, many operators will be interested on working with you. You should provide an overtime rate at 1.5-2 times than the regular hour rate. In another article, I have discussed on overtime working – benefits and negative impacts.

6. Good HR policies

Though I said money can motivate workers, there are many other ways to make your workers and encourage them. There are many small things can be considered under HR policies those can motivate workers to stay with your company and give more effort to achieve the factory’s best performance. For some example,
  • Allowing leave to workers when they need it
  • Provide low cost and quality food inside the factory pantry
  • Paying the salary within the defined date
  • Establishing a good work culture inside the factory and supporting co-workers and supervisors.
  • Taking care of workers issues


Introducing the performance bonus is a good way of motivating workers. But you should have a strong system to measure and calculating employee performance and all eligible workers should get the incentive amount as you agreed to provide them. Incentive scheme should easy to understand and transparent to workers. By encouraging and motivating your workers you can produce more garments with the same number of workers and staff.

Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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