Our company prides itself on the investment we make in our people, starting with the very first day of employment. Every Monday at Ozinga, we have a day-long onboarding session for new coworkers. During this experience, new coworkers are not only set up with all the administrative aspects of starting their career with us, but also learn about the values and history of our company in a personal and engaging way. Someone from the Ozinga family, often from the third and fourth generation of ownership, meets and talks with the new coworkers to share stories, discuss our future and answer questions. For me, this opportunity is one of the highlights of my week. I find it holds me accountable to see the new faces of our coworkers, look them in the eye, and share with them our commitment as a family.
The following are seven key points I share during onboarding:
- Thank you and welcome. We know you have a choice of where you can work, particularly when the economic environment allows for such low unemployment. We’re thankful that you chose to come to work with us. Welcome aboard!
- We’re different because you’re here. In a world of 7.5 billion people, there is only one you. You have unique talents, life experiences, work history and relationships. You have something unique to contribute to this company that only you bring. So not only are we different because you are here, we have new potential that we didn’t have before you arrived…and that is very exciting for us.
- Here to stay. We are a 91-year-old, fourth-generation American family business. Our desire, Lord willing, is to stay in operation as a family business for another 91+ years. We have no interest in selling out. Rather, our goal is to provide a lasting impact in the lives of our coworkers, customers and communities for generations. Our commitment to you is that as we have success, we will reinvest in you, in equipment and facilities to better serve our customers and serve as a good partner in our local communities. It’s what we love to do.
- We’re in this together. We are all the beneficiaries of those who have gone before us. We view ourselves as stewards or torch-bearers of the business for a finite period of time. We invite all our coworkers to share that vision as co-stewards with us. It is our desire to pass the torch to the next generation, leaving everything better than when we were entrusted with it. Business can be a force for great good in the world, impacting families and communities in a positive way. Together, we have a tremendous opportunity to leave a legacy that will positively impact future generations of people and the trajectory of our world.
- We have room for improvement. This company may look like a well-oiled machine from the outside looking in, but once the “new” wears off it is certain you will find opportunities for improvement and change. In fact, because you are unique, you may see things that no one else sees. This is a good thing. Every day we want to get a little bit better than yesterday. With your help, we can do that.
- You’re joining a great company in a great industry at a great time. Ozinga has established itself as a leader in our industry. This is because of our people. The building materials industry is a very exciting, dynamic, local relationship-focused one. No day is the same. It will be challenging and very rewarding for those who take great pride in it. It is a great time to join and the future is full of potential.
- Be safe. We know behind every person, every coworker on our team, there are loved ones who count on them. We want to make sure all our people go home at night to them without accident or injury. Safety is a team effort that requires every individual to be aware of their surroundings, to make decisions thoughtfully and to err on the side of safety. As you join the Ozinga family of coworkers, if you ever see something that gives you pause, make sure to take the time to make the necessary and proper precautions. We appreciate each and every one of you – for choosing us, for bringing your unique skills and talents to our team, for helping us to constantly improve – and we want all of you to be safe so that we can continue that work together every day.
I like to believe that this time in our onboarding process helps us stand out from other companies because it shows we take the time to invest in our people and treat them as a part of the Ozinga family. And while I provide guidance and touch on these seven things during my talks with our new coworkers, I know that face-to-face time is equally valuable for me and for Ozinga – listening to and learning from each of our new coworkers, helping us to continue to push the boundaries.
Marty is the president of Ozinga and the oldest of the fourth generation. He holds a master’s degree in communications from Northwestern University and is actively involved with The Bright Promise Fund for Urban Christian Education.