Kloeckner Metals was ranked a top workplace again this year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). For 2018, Kloeckner again placed in the top 50 of mid-sized employers, climbing ten places from last year. Each year the AJC creates the list based entirely on feedback from employees at the various participating businesses, gathered through a survey conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, a research firm on organizational health and employee engagement.
“We are focused on building a professional environment that employees don’t want to leave,” said National Coordinator, Recruiting & Staffing Jeff Corban. “At the end of the day, we’re always looking at the company to see how we can improve to make it a better experience for our employees.”
To this end, Kloeckner tries to cultivate a collaborative work environment. This means listening to employees and giving them a sense of agency. Kloeckner tries to encourage employees to operate like professionals by getting them more involved in the company. When employees feel like they are making a difference in the company they are much more fulfilled.
“We’re empowering our employees to do their jobs and feel like they are making a contribution to the company, not just punching numbers,” Corban says.
There are other things that Kloeckner also does to improve retention. Kloeckner provides many opportunities to move not just vertically but laterally within the company. If an employee wants to change departments or move to a different location, Kloeckner has plenty of opportunities across the country and will try to make it work. Having an innovative workplace is also important, which is one reason why Kloeckner is focusing on its digitalization efforts and constantly evolving.
“We need to make it a priority to stay on top of what is next, what is coming,” Corban said. “We’re always looking for ways to provide more of a home for our employees.”
Providing a good training program is another way to make a workplace attractive to employees. Kloeckner offers the Emerging Leaders Program to employees across the country, for example. Currently, Kloeckner is also developing an internship program as well. As the workplace becomes increasingly automated, ongoing training has become more important than ever.
“With automation comes the need to be versatile,” Corban said. “You can’t just get a phone or computer and be good for 10 years. You have to keep learning. We’re embracing that.”
Culture is also important. Kloeckner’s corporate office has created a commercially driven, collaborative culture. There is a lot of interdepartmental cooperation, whether it is digital marketing and HR working together on a project or purchasing and sales collaborating to help a customer find solutions. Things like the new Kloeckner Metals Relief Fund also play a role in creating a good company culture. The fund is a place where people can donate funds that employees can apply for if they are involved in a natural disaster, fire, or another such emergency. In recent years, Kloeckner has focused efforts on spreading company culture through all the branches.
“It is on everyone’s radar because they want to get an idea of what it is like before they decide to work for a company,” Corban said. “It seems we used to be 50 different branches that kind of did their own thing a little bit, and we’re bringing that in with the One Kloeckner approach. We’re looking to do it at every level of our company.”