11. Henry Ford invented corporate spying on employees
Henry Ford was rightly credited for the innovations of the $5 per day wage, which more than doubled the average pay of his workers, and the five day work week. Ford did not raise wages to allow his employees to purchase his cars, he did it to alleviate the high rate of turnover in his plants, which threatened his bottom line. In 1913, over 50,000 men were hired by Ford, though his workforce averaged about 14,000 for the year. The rest left their Ford jobs for others, a business cost that Henry found unsustainable. But the $5 per day rate was offered with a cost for workers, which had to be met for them to qualify for the higher wage.
Workers were required to comply with the mandates of the Social Department, which enforced regulations which affected the worker’s personal lives. Gambling, drinking, and smoking were all vices which Ford found repugnant, and which were banned. Investigators from Ford visited employees’ homes to ensure that his rules were followed. Single women were not offered the higher wage, unless they were supporting a family on their own, and married men whose wife worked outside the home – a practice Ford frowned upon – were also ineligible for the higher pay rate. Eventually the Social Department employed investigators which ensured Ford’s personal standards were complied with throughout the company, and those not in compliance were subject to lower pay rates.