But he also took care of the bigger things, like showing them respect and incorporating their families into events, which Bales said strengthens the company's culture. “We meet everyone's spouses and kids, sometimes their grandkids,” she said.
In fact, Bales Metal was recognized with the 2015 Award for Business in the family business category from the Daily Herald Business Ledger of Lisle, Ill.
Also, Stacey Bales was named one of Plastics News' 2015 Rising Stars.
Bales Metal has operations in Downers Grove, Ill., and Harlingen, Texas. It applies proprietary coatings and finishes to molds to prevent corrosion, abrasion and wear. A marketing push has led to growing sales and business, prompting the company to hire five new employees last year, bringing the staff roster up to 37.
“It's nice that we're a smaller, family-owned company,” she said. “We can really take the time to sit down with each employee … and find out what resources they need, things to make them more efficient. Because we're flexible, we can accommodate those requests.”
Bales said her open-door policy helps keep things on an even keel.
“Employees will come in sometimes just to vent. By nipping things in the bud early on, letting them speak their minds, it kind of prevents things from reaching the boiling point. We give them the opportunity to communicate before little problems turn into big ones.”
What also helps, she said, is giving employees a safe physical outlet through competitions like bowling and WhirlyBall — which is sort of a combination of jai alai and basketball played in bumper cars with a whiffle ball.
“I'm not the best player, but I give it the good old college try,” Bales said. “We have a few beers. It's nice and it gives the employees a chance to gang up on us [managers]. We might try paintball next year.”
Something else employees appreciate: holiday parties, summer outings, a 401(k) with matching contributions, and year-end bonuses based on length of employment and how profitable the company has been. Also at the end of the year, Bales Metal presents a certificate and gift card to each of at least 10 workers for their attendance, leadership and attitude, among other things.
The company also recognizes employee anniversaries in five-year increments with increasing cash bonuses, lunches with upper management and eventually, engraved watches.
Bales Metal pays for training such as productivity or time management workshops, and English as a Second Language classes.
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