Nearly a decade ago, Appleton, Wis.-based CMD Corp. made a concentrated effort to advance the company culture, President Stephen Sakai said. Today, CMD has made the Best Places to Work list for the fourth consecutive year.
"We have created [this culture] collectively; you don't change a culture by an individual person," Sakai said. "We describe culture as the day-to-day interactions that all of us have collectively. That forms the basis of our culture. It starts with some very basic tenants around how we want to treat each other, and we talk about very fundamental values around trust and respect."
An extensive training program for more effective project management was formed last year, and it continues into 2018. Training initially focused on project managers in the engineering group, Sakai said, but CMD expanded that effort and incorporated it throughout all functions of the company.
"What we feel is that we could do a better job in collaborating and working together more effectively if everyone more fully understood the ramifications of what we're going to do in the development projects and therefore how they could best adapt their own job functional requirements to accommodate the needs of these development projects," he said.
A more diversified career path has also been developed, where three business teams were created to help shape and guide the direction of the company's three businesses — "a cross-section of employees from all across our organization participating in those teams," according to Sakai. He added that this offers a different perspective on company issues.
"And it also helps to enrich our employees in terms of helping them get a much broader understanding of our business and the complexities that are entailed and managed in an ongoing basis," he said. "We think that offers an enriching experience for the people who are participating on these teams."
CMD, which designs, manufactures and services converting machinery to produce plastic bags, pouches and flexible packaging, employs an aging workforce with low turnover and accommodates employees with disabilities. The company, which has "about 185" on staff, according to Sakai, also provides diversity training to all employees as part of its leadership training.
"Our cultural graphic and verbiage refer to trust, respect, dialogue and collaboration as key drivers of our collective excellence and technology leadership," CMD wrote in its Best Places to Work questionnaire.
At its annual winter gala, held at the beginning of the year, CMD announces its service awards for the previous year. Employees with service milestones of five, 10, 15 years and more are recognized with a formal certificate and monetary amount based on number of years employed at the company. Sakai said last year CMD celebrated an employee who has been with the company for 30 years.
Also offered are wellness programs for health and finances, dry Green Bay Packers tailgate parties, chili cook-off contests, Eagle Bucks for safe work environments and vending bucks for employee appreciation.
"I think one thing I can tell you is that when we bring new people into our company, they are able to recognize that something is different," Sakai said. "They talk about the fact that when they come here, it's noticeable to them almost immediately — the way people interact, the way they go about work — it's different, and they like it."