A lot of organizations talk about their family atmosphere, but the culture at the Dupps Company in Germantown, Ohio is much more than talk. Current president Frank Dupps Jr. is a fourth-generation leader and several other family members work for the organization. Many employees have been with the company for decades or have family members who have been part of the Dupps team. And even many customers are family business operations that have worked with Dupps for decades.
Turnover in the manufacturing industry can be high, but that’s not the case at Dupps, which designs, manufactures and services process systems and equipment for recycling and renewables industries. Jim Vose, Dupps’ HR Director, says worker longevity exceeds any he’s experienced firsthand and notes that when employees leave it’s often because they’re retiring. The Dupps culture didn’t happen by chance and it isn’t taken for granted. And though there are many pieces in the overall puzzle, Vose highlights a few of the reasons that have kept employees around for generations:
Ensuring employees feel needed and recognized and understand they are really part of a bigger picture is at the core of the Dupps culture. “We are human beings and at times we perceive things differently, but we can always openly talk about anything,” Vose said. “There are never any skeletons in the closet so we’re able to resolve issues that come up.”
Communication efforts start from the top with the president, who holds a stand-up meeting with all employees every quarter. He offers a state of the company address, talking about safety, welcoming new hires personally, and ensuring employees know what’s happening within the organization. There also are formal monthly meetings between supervisors and employees as well as many more informal meetings to ensure everyone is on the same page. When a new hire joins the team, Vose posts a welcome notice via email and on bulletin boards welcoming the new employee to the Dupps family and sharing information about his/her background and interests.
Health and wellness
The Dupps leadership team strongly believes that a healthier workforce is beneficial for both the employees and the company, and its award-winning Commit 2B Fit wellness program is evidence of that conviction. In addition to medical premium discounts of up to $1,300 annually for achieving wellness goals, employees and their spouses have access to an on-site doctor for medical care. The company also offers periodic health screenings, covers annual flu shots and mammograms, hosts Weight Watchers at Work and smoking cessation programs and much more.
Training and development
Dupps promotes from within as much as possible and provides training opportunities to help employees grow into new roles. The company regularly sends workers to seminars and workshops and offers 100% reimbursement for tuition and books. As an example, two former warehouse employees made a move to the company’s sales team. They already had a deep understanding of the product and had worked with shipping/receiving, so with some additional training, the move to sales was very successful.
“I’m very fortunate to work in an organization where the need to hire doesn’t mean we need a warm body tomorrow,” Vose said. “The priority isn’t just to get a person hired, but to hire the best person who will be a great long-term fit.” One of the ways Dupps finds those long-term fits that match its organizational culture is with consensus interviewing. Interviews for every position—including shop employees—consist of at least two rounds, and several Dupps employees share feedback on job candidates. “Having several employees involved in interviews is helpful because it provides multiple perspectives on candidates and ensures the selection of the best overall fit for the job both short and long-term,” said Vose. Written tests assess skills like mechanical comprehension and blueprint reading, but the team relies on behavioral, open-ended interview questions to learn about the intangibles like character and work ethic.
Dupps just celebrated its 83rd anniversary and the organization continues to grow and adapt to meet the needs of a changing industry and workforce. What remains consistent, however, is the family culture that focuses on employee safety, health and longevity at Dupps.