Investing in IWCO Direct’s Employees to Move Us Forward

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About the Author

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Missy Smutny

Missy brings human resource innovation to IWCO through authentic, selfless leadership that empowers teams to exceed expectations and achieve unprecedented results. As a progressive HR executive and military Veteran, she combines inspirational coaching, strategic disruptions, and collaboration with senior leaders to advance our output. She most recently served as Director of Human Resources for Renewal by Andersen and held HR positions at Andersen Windows. She started her career at Target Corporation where she held roles in Operations and Human Resources.

When I accepted the position of Vice President of Human Resources & EHS at IWCO Direct, I knew I was joining a company that was committed to investing in new technology to expand on their already robust capabilities. I could not wait to dig in and meet the talented individuals who are the foundation that enables our growth. In the short time I have been here, I have been blown away by the people and culture!

An Investment in Our Talent

Our CEO, Gary Masse, outlined our strategic vision in a recent blog. It includes a significant investment in state-of-the-art technology and the people needed to operate the new equipment. In addition to growing our current employees’ knowledgebase (I’ll touch on that more a little later), we are actively recruiting top-notch talent in our production facilities to help serve our growing client demands.

We’re also focused on expanding our award-winning team of data scientists, strategists, designers, writers, and marketers led by Wes Sparling, Reid Holmes, and Siri Prax. To this end, we are building out our talent acquisition team to support our clients’ business needs today with an eye toward future growth initiatives.

Investing in Our Employees

Our employees are excited about the investments we are making to expand our digital print platform and the way it empowers us to offer an increased array of products and services to our clients. They also see the investments we are making in them by offering cross-training programs that enable them to learn new skills, multiple machines, and enhance their knowledge and abilities.

But training is just part of it. Our Continuous Improvement (CI) program is built on Lean Manufacturing, and our CI team continues to work hard to ensure we’re always striving for better. The CI team guides our efforts, leading Kaizens across departments to assess our processes and determine how they can be improved to increase our capacity and capabilities, in addition to our efficiency.

This month, the CI team announced a new initiative—the Lean Ambassador Program. Our goal is to build a culture of Lean leaders across the organization who can champion and lead Lean events, and all employees at all levels are encouraged to participate. A Lean Ambassador is a functional leader who has the experience and training to lead a particular type of Kaizen using the Lean toolkit. Training, templates, and support are being provided by our CI team.

An Investment in Safety and Well-being

Our improvements go beyond just concentrating on production and modernizing our facilities; we’re also looking at how to improve the everyday lives of our employees and their families. Our employees know that “safety first” is our motto in our facilities. Our safety performance is measured through Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and is reviewed by senior management each month. When an employee goes above and beyond to call-out a potential hazard on the production floor or helps train a colleague on the proper procedures to follow, they are recognized for their dedication to safety and teamwork.

Another opportunity for better living is to offer health resources. For instance, we provide wellness challenges to all employees. This month, our challenge is “Active Outdoors.” Participants are encouraged to spend at least 30 minutes every day doing an outdoor activity like walking or gardening and record their progress weekly to qualify for a raffle. It’s a great way for employees to improve their mental and physical health while enjoying the remainder of summer.

In addition, our comprehensive health insurance coverage includes an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This service is available to all employees and their families at little to no cost. The program offers counseling for a wide range of situations that employees may be facing in their personal lives. This is a confidential service with an immediate response. I’ve personally used it in the past and encourage our employees to contact EAP with no judgment attached.

An Investment in Professional Growth and Longevity

We appreciate our employees’ loyalty and dedication. I am always inspired by the number of long-term associates with careers spanning 25 years or more that we recognize and celebrate in our monthly newsletter, Insight. It’s inspiring to see employees from different backgrounds and experiences growing their career at IWCO Direct. They are multi-faceted and talented individuals that have significantly contributed to IWCO Direct’s long-term success. We are grateful for their mentorship of new employees to ensure they are safely and seamlessly onboarded.

It’s a Great Day to Have a Great Day

I try to live by this philosophy: to be grateful for the successes, but also the challenges, in life. There is growth in both, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without those experiences. The same goes for IWCO Direct. My goal is to make IWCO Direct an even better place to work―every day! Come have a Great Day at IWCO Direct. Join our phenomenal team, check out the career opportunities we offer here, and apply for an open position today!

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