In the wake of years of under-employment and wage stagnation, a new report from The Hitachi Foundation identifies policies and practices that are empowering businesses to boost competitiveness while also improving wages, service, employee loyalty and profits. Doing Well and Doing Good challenges assumptions that tough times inherently require cutting jobs and wages as a means to stay afloat.
Marlin Steel Wire Products of Baltimore, which garnered a Pioneer Employer Award for its workplace practices from the Precision Metalforming Association in collaboration with The Hitachi Foundation, was among the companies profiled by the Foundation at pioneeremployers.com.
"I am passionate about manufacturing because it is key to creating a strong middle class," Marlin Steel Wire Products President Drew Greenblatt said. “We build wire baskets only in the U.S. and we value our employees."
Marlin was recognized for its investment in technology and in its people, through vigorous training and professional growth, to make that technology work. Those efforts fostered Marlin's growth from a small operation supplying baskets for bagel shops to a premier supplier of enclosures for a variety of markets. Marlin Steel was an "Inc 5000" company in 2012 and 2013; among the 100 fastest growing companies ranked by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City in 2012 and 2013, and a two-year recipient of Baltimore Employer of the Year Award.
The health care and manufacturing companies profiled in Doing Well and Doing Good help workers gain skills, retain their jobs, advance and generate greater value. Those improvements resulted in higher profits, increased productivity, greater opportunities for workers, and, in the case of health care, better patient outcomes. Manufacturing firms grew in revenues and total employment.
Three innovation areas were critical to these improvements: human capital, products or services, and production or service delivery methods. The 14 profiled companies (selected from a diverse mix of 90 firms with similar approaches) achieved the largest gains for themselves, their workers and shareholders by innovating in all three categories. Profiled companies with highly effective “doing well/good” policies include:
• NatureBake (Oregon) increased sales 1,000 percent over seven years.
• GR Spring & Stamping (Michigan), despite automotive sector crises, increased sales 300 percent over the past decade with 29 percent annual growth since 2009. Employee turnover is 40 percent below industry average.
• Good Samaritan Hospital’s (New York) training/advancement programs generated wage gains of 22-100 percent for new nurses trained from among existing lower-level staff. Their nurse vacancies were slashed in half with $3 million annually in associated savings.
• NewAge Industries (Pennsylvania), despite sharp downturns in the industrial tubing market, has an 8-year string of record breaking revenues and maintained profits. While competitor stock prices dropped sharply, NewAge employee stock ownership shares soared by 200 percent. Most workers, including those in frontline production, earn over $40,000.
"The future of the American economy will be shaped by business innovations that challenge conventional wisdom” said Barbara Dyer, the foundation’s President and CEO. “These industry leaders do just that by investing in their workers because doing so generates major financial and strategic returns for the long-term."