With 651 employees at materials firm Techmer PM, that's the size of a small town. So, how does leadership build a sense of community but also give employees a sense of identity?
That's what CEO John Manuck works on at the Clinton, Tenn.-based company.
"First, you want to do it within a given site," he said. "Then, you want to spread it beyond that, and where we do some of that is our national meeting, where we take 110 people from around the company. … These 110 people come from every site, every place of the country and from all kinds of job functions, from machine operator to leadership team."
Held since around 1992, Manuck said, the national meeting is an off-site team-building gathering that takes place over four days. Different employees attend each year.
Employees are split into teams, and they compete throughout the week with tasks such as company trivia questions and presentations. The winning team at the end gets their name engraved on the Techmer Cup, like the Stanley Cup. Champagne is poured into the trophy and passed around while "We Are the Champions" plays.
Leadership also gives out awards called the President's Jacket and Chairman's Jacket to 20-30 recipients based on roughly 50 nominations.
"It causes myself to really investigate someone's background of why they've been nominated for this," Manuck said. "When I'm at the podium, I don't just announce their name. I start to give the individual's history: They've been with the company this many years, they've worked in these type of job functions. … And then I finally announce the name. It fits in where we want to create this positive identity."
Techmer rewards employees with Techmer Bucks, which can be earned through suggestion box comments or displaying safe acts, for example. Techmer Bucks can be redeemed for company apparel, gift cards and other prizes.
The company offers "lunch and learns" to promote stress management and healthy living, and there is a walking trail. Techmer Family Day takes place at each of the seven plant sites, but each location decides how to celebrate, such as with a summer picnic or open house.
"What I admire about my people is their self-driven motivation to be better. That's what I'm the proudest of," Manuck said. "… It takes a certain kind of personality, along with things like personal honesty and integrity. That's how we try to build our team so that it really is a team that has a positive team identity. I'm proud of that being represented in the fact that so many people that we have with longevity."
Techmer PM previously made the Best Places to Work lists in 2014, 2016 and 2017. It lands at No. 10 on the 2019 Best Places to Work list.