Manufacturer shares successful on-boarding approach

June 25, 2018

This paid piece is sponsored by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

Central States Manufacturing in Hartford is a fast-growing steel fabrication company that takes pride in the friendly — and effective — way it introduces new people to the team. After opening five years ago with 17 employees, the business has grown to 54 employees.

The current facility has capacity to expand the team, and human resources manager Brittany Glanzer has been working for the past three years to ensure that new hires are set up for success at Central States.

“We want to be a welcoming place,” she said, “and our strategies for bringing people on board reflect that. We encourage face-to-face meetings from the first contact and drop everything to meet with people who walk in to inquire about joining us. Our unique company culture requires some explanation and introduction, so we stress communication from the start.”

The culture of the Hartford plant — one of nine production facilities in eight states — arises from the company’s start there, when a handful of employees got it all done, regardless of the jobs that needed doing, according to managing director Terry Glanzer.

“We still have that team mentality,” he said. “Our Hartford plant leads the company in several categories because nothing can beat our work ethic. We’re a family, and we have a small-town work environment where everybody looks out for everybody else. We hire people who fit into our culture.”

Fitting into that culture begins with a unique two-day paid onboarding process involving four site staff. New team members are presented with a Central States welcome box containing a hat, T-shirt, water bottle and directory of key people at the Hartford plant with pictures and cellphone numbers for reference. The box is signed by current employee-owners with welcoming messages. After being taken out to lunch and sharing information with the onboarding crew for two days, new hires begin their training.

Central States works hard to make sure team members feel they are supported by supervisors and management. The company also utilizes an Employee Assistance Program for those with family, financial or spiritual struggles, and a company chaplain is on-site once a week, available for any Central States employee to talk with.

Preparing team members — who become company owners thanks to the Employee Stock Ownership Plan — for success doesn’t stop with the onboarding process or excellent production floor training, Brittany Glanzer said. Central States encourages employee growth through additional learning sessions in safety, problem solving and goal setting.

“We provide activities to learn new things to enhance the employee experience,” she said. “We try to find ways to grow our employee-owners and help them strive for the next level.”

That growth extends to giving back to community. Central States Hartford will give $25,000 back to the community along with setting a goal of 600 Giving Back hours to the community. Employees are asked to contribute eight paid hours, and most exceed that by participating in programs at McCrossan Boys Ranch and local schools. It’s all part of the family approach, Brittany Glanzer said.

“We don’t want to stop learning,” she said. “We want to be the employer of choice. We want to have 50 people lined up out the door, all wanting to work here, ready to be welcomed to the Central States family.”

To see more workforce development strategies, read the latest edition of WIN: Workforce Information Now from the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

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