Indianapolis — Diane Hiles noticed employees at Anderson Technologies Inc. weren't taking advantage of the company's employee assistance program.
"We were lucky to see one or two people use it in a quarter," Hiles said. "It's free. It's confidential. Why weren't people using this program?"
That's when Hiles, director of finance and administration, decided to try a different approach. The injection molder in Grand Haven, Mich., teamed up with several other area businesses and hired a success coach. The success coach is employed by the state and comes to the facility at least once a week to meet one-on-one with employees who might be having issues at home.
Hiles outlined the program during the Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference organized by the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors in Indianapolis.
The success coach is connected to various nonprofit and assistance agencies to help with people who could be struggling in any number of areas including childcare or simply falling behind on bills.
Hiles said there's a loan program through a local credit union that gives employees $1,000 and a year to pay it back in small increments. The worker is also required to put an additional $10 a month into a savings account that can't be touched until the loan is paid back in full.
Hiles said the program costs about $100 per employee and has helped break down barriers that might be holding employees back.
"Two years into the program, and we're seeing a difference in our workforce," Hiles said. "They are making better decisions, personally and professionally."