Industrial Molds Inc., the No. 6 company on Plastics News' Best Places to Work ranking, wasn't always a pleasant place to work.
“Our history was built on a superstar mentality. It wasn't a very fun place to work at that time,” said Vice President Tim Peterson. “It was competitive; there was a lot of contention.”
Oddly enough, machines helped bring people together.
“What really brought about a change in attitude was in the early 2000s, when we switched to automation,” Peterson said recently by phone. “You have to collaborate, communicate and work well together to make sure the work is done correctly.”
“If someone isn't a team player, they won't like our culture,” he added.
Peterson's father, Jack, founded the tool-making company in 1968 and turned it over to his sons in 2006.
“My father has always valued employees,” Peterson said, an attitude that apparently rubbed off on his sons. In return, the firm's workforce is loyal.
The employees are vital to the company's success, he said. “It really is about the employees. We facilitate it by encouraging it, but we have a great group of guys who will pitch in and make it work.”
The Rockford, Ill.-based company has many veteran employees among its staff of 56. “The people who have stayed with the company have built the culture more than any master plan,” he said. “The employees really do help each other and foster teamwork, getting things done.”