The 2022 list of Best Places to Work features 22 suppliers and processors in the plastics industry with abundant benefits, unique team-bonding activities and satisfied employees.
Conventus Polymers was named the No. 1 supplier on the list. Both presidents, John Jorgensen and Alexander Fung, are millennials who manage the company with an open-door policy and improved benefits every year. Half of its director-level leadership are women.
"We are a certified Minority Business Enterprise and truly value the diversity that each person brings to the organization. We want people to work at this business as though they were an owner. … We want work to be rewarding, and our goal is that you stay here until the end of your career, but if you choose to leave, we have prepared you for the next challenge in your career. We are always discussing career planning for our staff, no matter what stage of their career they are in," Conventus said.
Plastic Components Inc. has made the list every year since 2014, and it was named the No. 1 processor for 2022.
"On a random Wednesday, you might smell warm chocolate chip cookies being baked in the HR office to say thanks to all our hardworking employees. Working a weekend might mean a hand-compiled goody bag and a bag lunch prepared by the management team with a handwritten note of gratitude from the leadership team," PCI said. "You may walk into the building and find out it's National Grilled Cheese Day, National Bomb Pop Day or National Ice Cream Sandwich Day when you are greeted by your boss or HR handing out the goodies or making grilled cheese in the middle of the floor."
PCI newsletters highlight employees both new and old. Baby showers are common, complete with hand-knit baby hats. There are also community outreach initiatives and apprentice programs for growth.
Many of the Best Places to Work companies offer holiday parties, Halloween costume contests, barbecues, chili cook-offs and outings to sports games. Asahi Kasei Asaclean Americas employees get a free weeklong trip to Japan, MTD Micro Molding has a state-of-the-art coffee and espresso machine, Dymotek Corp. team members receive $25 grocery store gift cards every Thanksgiving and US Extruders has paper airplane contests.
Numerous companies on the list have formal programs to acknowledge employee birthdays, anniversaries and accomplishments. There's a "wall of fame" recognizing staff years of service at ePlastics. Employees at Diversified Plastics Inc. can spin a wheel on their birthdays for a chance to win gift cards, cash, free paid days and more.
But the businesses are sure to include the serious, important benefits for overall employee well-being, too. Several of the companies have 100 percent paid premiums for medical, dental and vision coverage and employer contributions to health savings accounts so that health care costs are one less thing to worry about.
M. Holland Co. offers free therapy as well as maternal, paternal and grandparental leave. Most of the companies have career development programs in place, such as mentoring, job shadowing, cross-training and apprenticeships.
Diversity and inclusion are also prominent, with many businesses offering D&I training and committees. M. Holland established an employee resource group for women and a D&I council. Conventus' Commercial Leadership Program targets a diverse pool of candidates.
Muslim employees at Team 1 Plastics are able to take off work or work flexible schedules during Ramadan. Redline Plastics partners with staffing agencies that employ Spanish-speaking candidates, and there has been a push to offer all communications in Spanish.
Confer Plastics isn't on the Best Places list, but it recently posted on social media that its "prayer and peace room" is now open. General rules include no food and beverages unless part of a religious service and only one person allowed at a time unless for group prayer. "This room serves a variety of needs for those who may be religious and those who might not be. … Both prayer and reflection require solitude and serenity, and this sanctuary provides it," Confer's post said.
Among companies on the list, 94 percent of employees said their employer enables a culture of diversity, and 92 percent said the organization treats them like a person, not a number. And 91 percent said they would recommend working at their company to a friend.
Although pay is important, it's not the only thing that keeps employees satisfied and excited to come to work every day. With Americans spending one-third of their lives working, employees want to feel like they have purpose, align with their employer's mission and are recognized for their hard work. After all, the University of Oxford found that happy employees are 13 percent more productive. And what's good for employees is good for business.
Jordan Vitick is Plastics News' special reports editor.