We are very excited to announce that AK Material Handling Systems has been named the #26th Best Place to Work by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. AK was an honoree under the small business category in the MSPBJ.com 14th annual Best Places to Work.
How it Happened…
In April AKMHS was nominated by its employees to participate in this year’s competition. AKMHS employees then filled out an anonymous survey which was then used to determine the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journals Best Places to Work. AKMHS was then selected as one of the highest-scoring companies in the category of Small Business. At the award ceremony, AKMHS was notified that they were awarded the 26th Best Place to Work!
The Q&A from CEO / Business Development Al Boston:
Name of company: AK Material Handling Systems
Title: CEO / Business Development
What factors do you believe make a good workplace?
Provide an environment where you explain and train everyone on the companies vision and mission and then empower them to get results. Everyone likes to have a challenge in the workplace to continue to grow in talents that provide great customer service.
What’s your strategy to achieve the above?
Our companies strategy is to train and equip everyone with the knowledge and tools to do a great job. We are always on the cutting edge of technology in our industry and provide the best tools to get great results. Everyone has iPhones and Ipads along with Mac computers with dual monitors. The warehouse ships and receives products paperless on Ipads. Everyone is connected with instant messages and photo/video communication. Book of the month club on topical business issues, weekly meetings with role-playing and timely presentations, and charitable team building events like Habitat for Humanity and Feed my Starving Children. These strategies were all introduced by our valuable employees.
Why is it important to you to create a good workplace?
It is everyone’s responsibility to do the right thing. I believe that if you create a good workplace you will attract good people and in turn, you will be able to be a leader in your industry. Time spent at work I believe is only second to sleeping so you might as well make it as enjoyable as possible.
What are some of your company’s perks?
We grew into the building next door to our original building a year ago. We had extra space so we set up a large room with fun things to do such as a pool table, darts, putting machine, etc. On short holiday weeks, we try to bring in lunch for everyone that is working. Once or twice a year we have an event that will bring families together to enjoy being together. We have a 401K with a nice savings match. In good years we also add profit sharing.
What’s your ‘gold-medal’ strategy for retaining employees as the economy improves, companies begin hiring again and people start re-evaluating their career options?
Provide a great work environment and pay everyone a competitive wage. Always provide upward mobility and have a clear road map so that everyone knows what they have to do to grow with the company. Customers are always looking to spend money with companies that are going to make it easy to do business. If your strategy is to give everyone an opportunity to prosper in additional earnings they want to stay and keep getting better in their careers. Use your trade organizations to make sure that you know what competitive wages are in your industry.
Are you hiring?
We have hired four people in the last year without losing anyone. We hired two people the year before. As long as growth continues we will always need to hire good people.