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Springfield, MO

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Todd Sherman, Plant Manager
Todd Sherman, Plant Manager

2011 Choice Employers, 300+ Employees No. 2: Kraft Foods

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The benefits package at Kraft Foods’ Springfield plant includes a medical and dental plan, paid vacation time and holidays, and retirement savings options such as a 401(k) plan.

The company has a local work force of 1,047 employees and pays more than half of health insurance premiums for full- and part-time staff.

There is no waiting period for taking paid days off, and all employees are eligible for bonuses.

Kraft also has an employee mentoring program, and many of its management positions have been filled from within the company.

How does your company foster employee loyalty?
“(It) is a constant, ongoing process. The foundation for this is treating our people with respect and dignity. We also believe in and foster open communication and transparency.

“Our ability to provide a solid, competitive compensation package that includes benefits – medical, vacation, holidays – (and) competitive wages, an incentive plan that all participate in, and retirement benefits is also an enabler to fostering the commitment we seek. Finally, engaging our associates as owners in improving how we run the business helps foster loyalty. An engaged work force tends to be a loyal work force.”

How does your business support work-life balance for employees?
“Our information systems support remote access for those jobs that can be done from home when life’s demands require it. Our manufacturing associates have vacation days, emergency vacation days and the opportunity to trade shifts if there is a need to be off work. We also have eight-hour and 12-hour shift configurations for those who like the trade-off of longer workdays but shorter work weeks.”

Has the economy made it difficult to award raises? How are employee efforts rewarded?
 “We are pleased that we have continued to be competitive with our wages (and) have been able to award raises during these challenging times. We recognize our employees’ efforts in many ways. Some are as simple as saying, ‘Thank you,’ in real time or on a visual recognition board that we post for all to see. Other ways include our annual incentive plan that all employees participate in. We have recognition events for achieving milestones. For example, we celebrate safety milestones with meals, movie tickets, et cetera. … We have monthly, quarterly and annual recognition for ideas that result in operational improvements and savings.”

How does your company support employees’ desires to give back to the community?
“For the past three years, during the first week of October, (Kraft’s) Springfield plant has participated in Kraft’s worldwide Make a Delicious Difference Week. During this week, Kraft associates from the Springfield plant volunteer for projects at organizations such as Ozarks Food Harvest, Habitat for Humanity, Boys and Girls Town of Missouri and the Springfield-Greene County Parks Department. We also sponsor multiple blood drives during the year to support the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks (and) are active supporters of United Way, Springfield Little Theatre, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Convoy of Hope and Ozarks Public Television.

“We also have associates who sit on various boards for nonprofit organizations and school boards. Many also are involved in the community as Girl Scout and Boy Scout leaders, coaches for youth sports activities and as leaders in their churches.”

Click here for the full 2011 Choice Employers.
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