Energy bars, KIND bars, mini-sized candy bars, cookies, doughnuts, biscuits… Hungry yet? If you walked into PolyQuest Inc. in Wilmington, N.C., you'd think you were in a convenience store. But those are just some of the benefits the roughly 125 employees at the PET resin distributor and recycler get to enjoy during the workday. (Oh, there's often free breakfast and lunch, too.)
There's also a focus on health, with employees taking walks during the day, 100 percent paid-for dental and vision coverage for employees and dependents, on-site biometric screenings and the occasional in-office weight-loss challenge.
PolyQuest prides itself on employing a diverse workforce. Its Best Places to Work survey noted that it values the "older generational team members and the knowledge and experience they bring to the table" and that its diversity training "emphasizes acceptance and communication among all employees."
On-site diversity training is provided by a professional; it is mandatory for all employees. Its return-to-work program assists employees with injuries or disabilities by offering transitional duty assignments when available.
Every fall, company leaders, department heads, owners and salespeople get together for a corporate retreat. It was held last year in Pinehurst, N.C.
"We get them together once a year to kind of review our strategy — make sure everyone understands that we're all on the same page relative to our long-term focus, goals and objectives that we have — but also open up the door for people to provide their thoughts about ways we can become better as accompany and how we can continue to exceed the requirements of our suppliers and our customers to allow us to grow," PolyQuest Executive Vice President Tod Durst said.
At the end of last year, PolyQuest won the 2017 South Carolina Industry Impact Award — the company has a facility in Darlington, S.C. — for helping to grow the state's economy.
"We have invested over $30 million in that facility since 2005, and we employ roughly 70 people at that location," Durst said. "I think that area in general in the state of South Carolina traditionally has higher unemployment rates than the rest of the state, so we have been kind of a steady force in that area by maintaining a pretty active workforce in that area."
There are three parts to PolyQuest's awards program — corporate service awards, manager awards and peer-to-peer awards — to honor and recognize employees for their years of service, for being an exceptional performer or for going above and beyond their own job responsibilities. Award names include the Help Us Grow Award, Going the Extra Mile Award and the You're a Star Award.
"The reason we are so successful — and people say this all the time, but we truly believe this — but it's the people we have working for us. … Our goal was not to create, for lack of a better term, a Tod Durst Inc.; we wanted to create a company of people and really kind of aspire to be successful on many levels and do things that we felt hadn't really been done in our industry," Durst said. "To do that, we needed the right people in our environment and with our company."