At Ellington, Conn.-based Dymotek Corp., career training and job advancement tools are emphasized.
The thermoplastic and liquid silicone molding company offers employees up to $1,250 per semester upfront, not as reimbursement, for tuition and books.
Dymotek participates in co-ops and internships for those who want to "take a dip in the manufacturing world," CEO Norm Forest said. There's a quality and technical apprenticeship program for those who want to learn more about the injection molding process.
"We put them through a four-week training where they get to learn and shadow a process technician," Forest said. "It's not just shadowing; they get their hands dirty. They do mold changes and learn about process. … It's a stepping stone for the next time there is an opportunity for those folks that have done well in that program."
The same process goes for the quality apprenticeship program.
Dymotek, which has 92 employees and is ranked No. 8 for 2019 Best Places to Work, also participates in Manufacturing Day in October by opening up the plants to the community, high school students, parents, and local, state and federal officials.
"We've promoted 22 different folks from within," Forest said. "In this busy workforce market that we live in today, we can't wait for unicorns to show up."
Dymotek is involved in many community service efforts, including youth sports, animal shelters, community theater, holiday giving, farmers markets and a sponsored hole for the miniature golf tournament at the local library.
The company organizes several wellness initiatives throughout the year, such as bingo in January to promote health in the new year. Each box on the bingo card has different tasks, like cutting out fast food for a week or getting at least eight hours of sleep four days in a row, Forest said. Those who scored a "bingo" won health-related prizes like a fitness watch or gym trial.
Dymotek pays 100 percent of premiums for dental and vision coverage for employees and dependents.
In December, a speaker came in and talked to the employees about the importance of breathing and meditation. There are also free apples every October and free flu shots, among several other programs.
The company hosts giveaways, contests, surprise breakfasts, potluck lunches, an annual company picnic and more.
In the last year, Dymotek has introduced its foundational messaging of character and ethics called Dymotegrity that values and relationships be held to a high standard.
"At every turn — and we have signs that were posted all over the plant last year, and I've met with all the shifts repeatedly and again at this meeting — I've echoed that I want [them] to hold me accountable in every action that we take," Forest said.
Forest added that management works hard to make sure the atmosphere feels open and like a family.
"I once sat on a roundtable external to the company where I talked about how it's important to have those relationships and conversations, even if it's ugly. You need to talk about it and address it," he said. "Somebody in the room said, 'Doesn't it just turn into a whining session?' And I was like, 'Well, if it's a whining session, then you should be addressing it. If not, what kind of a culture are you going to have?'"
Dymotek has been on the Plastics News Best Places to Work list every year since 2016 and was named 2016 Processor of the Year.