Talking Culture with Fusion OEM

By Mary Lynn Fayoumi, CAE, SPHR, GPHR, President & CEO
Published June 14, 2016

On May 17th, over 100 of our members attended Talent Talks at our Downers Grove headquarters. This free event was planned in response to the challenges employers face with recruiting, selecting, engaging and retaining talent. The program’s tagline “How to get’em, How to pay’em, How to keep’em” served as inspiration for our nine guest speakers, including Craig Zoberis, President of Fusion OEM, one of Management Association’s newest members. I had the opportunity to interview Craig about the work he has done to build and sustain a unique culture at the contract manufacturing company he founded in his garage in 2002.

Our conversation began with a discussion regarding his organization’s core values. Craig shared that their original set of core values were fairly generic and did not really capture the hearts of his team. Therefore, they went back to the drawing board and came up with a set of “original” core values that are short, easy to remember and resonate with their employees. In order to keep them from becoming stale, they not only make them visible, but refer to them often in a variety of ways. From custom wallpaper in their breakroom to having all new employees sign a banner that hangs high above their shop floor to mentioning the values during their daily huddle, there are constant reminders that these core values are critical to Fusion OEM’s success.

Hiring was the second topic we spent time on during our “talk.”  Craig emphasized the importance of attracting qualified candidates. They do this through ensuring that their ads are clear about the type of organization they are and the positions for which they are hiring.  In addition, they use modern techniques, including YouTube videos and social media communications that are genuine and unscripted utilizing their own team members as opposed to stock photos or actors. Fusion OEM has found that hiring for attitude and training for aptitude has had a positive impact on productivity and retention. By offering work that is challenging and engaging, as well as ensuring that team members also have fun, Craig finds that people want to come to work and take better care of their customers. 

Benefits and recognition are an important ingredient to any total rewards package. Fusion OEM invests significant resources into these critical programs which for many employees are more important than base pay. Craig believes that calculating the exact ROI on these programs can be a challenge, but he knows through anecdotal evidence that showing appreciation on a regular basis makes good business sense. That is why he offers an array of wellness benefits in addition to paying for the majority of employees’ health insurance premiums.  Fusion OEM also offers an innovative “Rock Star” program which is a peer-to-peer recognition program based on its core values. Employees, not management, vote monthly and winners receive a financial reward and “Rock Star” parking. Monthly votes are then added up and an annual winner receives tickets and limo service to the concert of their choosing. Winners also sign a guitar that hangs in the Fusion OEM office, which is another visible sign of their organization’s commitment to sustaining a collaborative culture.

These are just a few of the ways that Fusion OEM is winning the war for talent. Members who attended my sessions with Craig were impressed by the passion he exhibited.  It was abundantly clear that his leadership has been instrumental in his company’s success.  Undoubtedly, there is not a one size fits all approach when it comes to culture. Each organization needs to develop its own special recipe and keep experimenting until the organization gets it right.  The case study provided by Fusion OEM sparked our imaginations and provided helpful tips on how to nurture a culture that values talent.

If you’re interested in learning more about this innovative company, click here. Or, if you would like to check out materials from Management Association’s other Talent Talks’ presenters, click here .

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