Osterman & Co. Inc. believes the best employees "are happy, healthy people." The Cheshire, Conn.-based resin distributor, which places No. 3 among suppliers on Plastics News' Best Places to Work 2021 list, established numerous programs during the coronavirus pandemic to support the team through professional and personal challenges.
The company utilizes Microsoft Teams to keep everyone virtually connected. The WaterCooler app hosts events for the entire family to participate — such as sharing a Halloween costume, favorite music or movies, your baby or wedding pictures, and pets — and get to know one another.
Gina Griffin, senior account manager, said employees would play trivia and swap recipes. Regional Sales Manager Rudy Dell said the team-building exercises allowed everyone to connect on a more personal level, "which I think we all needed in 2020."
The virtual company town halls keep employees informed and in touch. Osterman also utilizes Salesforce and its internet portal called Buzz to share company news and information and acknowledge employees.
Osterman has many programs to recognize the hard work of its staff. Seniority awards are given based on years with the company: $250 for five years, $500 for 10 years, $750 for 15 years and $1,000 for 20 years. Other awards include Salesperson of the Year, Service Excellence Award and the President's Award.
Osterman said its employees' well-being is essential. Osterman employees have teamed up and competed in an eight-week corporate fitness challenge. An employee assistance program is available, which includes counseling for marital or financial problems or assistance for substance abuse or smoking.
"We focus on the whole person, not just their employment," Osterman said in its Best Places to Work survey. "We believe that openness leads to better relationships and communication."
Family is also a priority at Osterman. It offers parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child, lactation facilities for mothers and flexible hours to accommodate for school events or taking a family member to the doctor.
The Osterman Community Foundation raises money for those in need. The company hosted the 16th annual OCF Golf Tournament, which it deemed "a great success." It also launched the Osterman Hero Initiative, where the company asks all employees to help someone in need, such as donating food or helping a neighbor. Good deeds are featured on social media. "The idea is to reinforce human kindness during challenging times," the company said.
Osterman said safety is another trait that makes it a great place to work. The company installed a state-of-the-art medical-grade UV air scrubbing system to ensure the best air quality for those who remained working on-site.
The office was renovated during the pandemic. Improvements included sanitizing stations and "people movement flow protocols" to follow health guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The office remodel was celebrated socially distanced-style with pizza.
Surveys gauge the team members' comfort levels of employees returning to work.
Osterman first made the Best Places to Work list in 2020.
"Osterman is a family of co-workers that like each other and have fun," the company said. "This year has been both a challenge and an opportunity. We realize that a company isn't an office; it's a group of good people who work together to get the job done. We work hard and play hard, and that truly makes Osterman a great place to work."