Versa Pak has been taking multiple steps to address a shift in our internal culture, all driven by a desire to focus on our values, vision and mission.
Keep reading to learn more about the professional development and additional training our employees have completed since we have implemented these changes.
What is Changing at Versa Pak
Shift huddle meetings in the factory, mentoring meetings, and a focus on employee needs have already been put in place to help align the everyday culture at Versa Pak around the company’s values.
“We’re focusing on growing stronger leadership, having greater accountability, and building better camaraderie between leadership and employees,” said Chief Strategy Officer Andrea Green.
As part of Green’s role, she’s helping to lead the culture shift and ensure employee engagement at every level.
“An engaged worker has excitement, drive, and passion to do more, to be more, and to create more and take pride in their work. This is what Versa Pak wants for our employees,” Green said.
Training Programs to Become Better Leaders and Communicators
Several Versa Pak employees have attended an 18-month training program to become conscious leaders. In this course, they’ve learned more about leading powerful conversations, leading with their best selves, learning to work through others, advancing decision-making, maximizing team performance, system mapping and improving documentation. In addition, a group of other employees has completed a two-day leadership course.
To influence and lead others, they first needed to learn more about developing themselves.
As a result of these courses and changes they’ve implemented, they’ve already started seeing better communication between team members. And Versa Pak president Michael Brunswick said the change will help pave the way for the company’s continued growth.
“Versa Pak has been very blessed with the growth we’ve seen over the years,” he said. “With growth comes new challenges and adjustments to our job requirements. As a team, we continued to add to our plates where needed to keep the company running at full tilt.
“In doing so, some of our communication, accountability, and clarity of roles started to get blurry. We recognized that we were outgrowing our current style of management and needed to find something that would better suit the future of Versa Pak,” said Brunswick.
An Additional Focus on Mentoring and Coaching at Versa Pak
Additionally, as part of the internal change, employees have completed developmental training specific to their needs. For example, we’ve spent many hours improving our employee mentorship and coaching opportunities here at Versa Pak, such as setting up “buddies,” where new employees are paired with a mentor. Another one of our main focuses has been on setup training.
“We’ve developed additional classroom training as well as documentation for on-the-job training,” Human Resources Manager Gail Hess said of the new setup training process. “We have implemented easier access to training for our setup operators by installing iPads close to the work stations for easy reference. We also continue to add signage and job aids.”
Versa Pak also continuously monitors our setup training and new hire training, such as by collecting information from supervisors, new hires and current employees, making adjustments as needed. Employees also participate in a positional growth plan, where they can work to reach specific goals.
“We promote from within, and there are growth opportunities available for those who are seeking that,” Gail noted. “There are individuals that come in, do their job, and go home and that’s great, and we also have individuals who want that growth.”
Overall, we’ve continued to receive great feedback from our improved new hire training process.
“I really appreciated the time Versa Pak took for orientation,” says Dena Stammen, who works in customer service at Versa Pak. “It was detailed training to learn the process and procedures and the training environment was great. It is a very positive atmosphere. The hands-on training really helped me grasp the whole process. [Versa Pak Trainer Ryan Baer] kept things moving along and was very energetic.”
Matt Mulligan and Sierra Reese were hired recently as line operators, and they both described their experiences as positive.
“My training experience at Versa Pak was positive,” Matt said. “My trainers were good at giving information and allowing independence to learn. Everyone seemed to work together and offer help when needed. Everyone was kind and helpful.”
“The training for new hires went really smooth,” Sierra added. “Ryan covered the basics and I felt comfortable with the process. It was a good combination of classroom and on-the-job training. The people I was paired with were kind and explained things well. They displayed the company values and had good attitudes. It is a fun and energetic company.”
Continued Training at Versa Pak
In addition to continued leadership and development training, Versa Pak’s employees are also regularly trained on various certifications. With this focus, the company also recently renovated our training space to accommodate a larger and more cohesive learning environment.
“It’s another space for us to be able to educate employees,” Hess added. “We do ongoing forklift training and yearly SQF (Safe Quality Food) training, and safety and other compliance training.”
One of the prominent features of the training room is a listing of Versa Pak’s core company values, something every employee is reminded of each time they’re in the room. These values can be found throughout our Celina, Ohio, manufacturing plant:
• Fun spirited
“We continue to incorporate our values throughout everyday conversations,” Hess said, referencing employee activities such as an appreciation week where they handed out goodies as well as other activities as a fun-spirited example, in addition to the company’s renewed efforts in communication and mentoring. “All of our values are present in what we do every day.”
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This blog was originally published in March 2020 and was updated in April 2022.