Although there are just more than a dozen employees in the Parsippany, N.J., offices of Asaclean-Sun Plastech Inc., there are workers from several different countries, including Lithuania, Poland, Colombia, Mexico and Japan.
In celebration of those cultures, the company, which manufactures purging compounds in the United States and Japan, partakes in International Food Day, or World Food Day, in October. Employees bring in cuisine from different countries for everyone to try.
Marketing Manager Tom Hanvey said there is usually snack food in the break room on other days too.
"We have a lot of guests that come from overseas because we are a Japanese company. They bring snacks from Japan over," he said. "There is always something new and different to try."
"Lunch and learns" come with a catered lunch. Special occasions and milestones, such as hitting a sales goal or an employee service anniversary, are sometimes celebrated with a champagne toast.
Every year, two employees who have been with SPI for at least two years get to travel to Japan to visit parent company Asahi Kasei Corp. and sightsee in Tokyo and Kyoto for one week.
Controller Irina Karmilceva has gone on the trip before and visited the temples, attended a tea ceremony, explored the Kyoto bamboo forest, made traditional sweets in a cooking class and more. (She said visiting Kyoto was her favorite part because she is fascinated by the architecture.)
Joseph Serell, who joined SPI as national sales manager in 2004, was named president in September 2018, succeeding Glenn Kornfeld. Serell left the company toward the beginning of the year.
"During his tenure as president, Joe really embraced holidays and brought employees closer," Hanvey said in an emailed statement. "We had a holiday tree, a gift exchange and an ugly sweater contest for the first time. Additionally, we went on a dinner cruise, competed as teams in an escape room and had several company dinners. All of these were warmly received by our full team."
Other team bonding activities have included barbecues, golf outings and sporting events.
SPI also believes in a strong work-life balance, Hanvey said. The regular workweek is 35 hours, and the hours are flexible. The core hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., so employees arrive between 7-10 a.m. and leave between 3-6 p.m.
New employees receive three weeks paid time off as well as time off between Christmas and New Year's Day. Additionally, unused time off can be carried over to the next year, Karmilceva said.
Employees receive annual raises, and they are eligible for annual bonuses based on company and personal performance. SPI also matches 50 percent of employee 401(k) contributions up to 15 percent of an employee's overall compensation.
Match contributions are also made to the employees' flexible savings accounts.
Karmilceva, who is currently managing the company, said compassion is the No. 1 quality she admires most in her coworkers at SPI.
"There are always employees always ready to help each other, always ready to help take an extra step," she said. "You work seriously and there is a time to joke. But I love the environment of the company. … It was really nice with all the change [in management] happening: A lot of people stuck by and asked if I need any help and if I did, to let them know. That's a good feeling."
Hanvey said if something ever needs to get done, someone is always willing to take initiative and help out because "we care about each other" and "it's the right thing to do."
"Everyone is working toward the same goal. … For me, that's the culture in a nutshell," Hanvey said. "Everybody wants to support the customer. … It's about how we can help someone else. It started at the top. I know Joe just left and Glenn left, but that's what I was taught from the second I got here. Everything in this company is about support."
SPI has made Plastics News' Best Places to Work list every year since 2015 and is named the No. 7 Best Place to Work for 2019.
Profiles of the Best Places to Work in the plastics industry will be posted online March 25-29. Click here for links.