Berkeley, Ill.-based KI Industries Inc. is an employee-owned organization. The employee stock ownership plan was established in 2012 and growth has been "exceptional," according to the company — more than 500 percent.
"We saw an increase in value from December 2019 to December 2020 of 30 percent. We focus heavily on the ownership aspect for all our U.S.-based employees, and it has made a difference in the value of our organization [and] in the value of our employees' retirement accounts," the company said.
Founded in 1964, KI is a supplier of decorative plastic parts for the appliance and automotive industries.
To promote the ESOP culture, KI offers a wide variety of activities for employees: picnics, potlucks, 15-minute massages, paper airplane contests and silly hat days. Employee lunches occur around the year for retirements, lunch-and-learns, quarterly updates, summer get-togethers and the Super Bowl.
KI ensures employees have equal access to time off and work accommodations to observe and honor cultural, ethnic and religious traditions and holidays. It also offers diversity training.
Employees can choose from four medical plans. Those with a high-deductible health plan are eligible for a health savings account contribution of up to $800. Ancillary benefits include pet insurance, legal insurance and global health care insurance for those who travel.
KI employees said they appreciate that leaders listen to ideas and suggestions, such as flexible work hours and more vacation time; the environment is inclusive and encouraging; and there's open communication with company achievements and progress.
"As we are employee-owned, our ESOP culture drives the way we partner with employees," KI said. "Our culture is one of a focused, growth mindset within a friendly environment."