The birth of Bread Loaf Construction Co.'s Employee of the Month program was certainly inauspicious. Leo Breshnahan, a field worker, had approached executive vice-president John Leehman at the company's annual meeting for its 160 employees and complained: "We do all the work out in the field, while people in the office are just having a good time."
Leehman invited Bresh-nahan to spend the day seeing how the office crew earns a living. "It was a real turning point for Breshnahan," says Leehman. "He knows where he can go in the system, and so do other employees who have followed in his footsteps."
Now, every month an employee is chosen to tour Bread Loaf's offices and construction sites to get a sense of just what other people do in the corporation.
What's more, spending a day with the star employee gives managers of the Middlebury, Vt., business a chance to get acquainted with the best management candidates in the company.