The investment and initiatives implemented at FONA have made large, positive impacts on the business, DiMaggio adds. “The impact of reducing test turnaround time has made FONA more competitive in the flavor industry,” he elaborates. “The impact of reduced customer non-conformances and improvement of percent on time to commit are dramatic.”
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Explore This IssueOctober/November 2016
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As testament to the company’s commitment to food quality and safety, FONA has established this list of core values that are instilled in each employee.
- Do the right thing for all stakeholders in all situations.
- Demonstrate a relentless, passionate partner-centricity.
- Establish and nurture a high-performance work environment.
- Effectively steward our resources and opportunities.
- Invest consistently and effectively in our growth and innovation.
- Share generously with our people and community.
- Outperform our industry in pursuit of profitable growth.
“One health and safety principle that we live by, and something we always say, is that we want to send our people home safer and healthier than when they came to work,” Slawek adds. “That’s why we have employee benefits like health programs, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training, safety training, and fitness classes, to name a few.”
FONA management is extremely proud of the feedback received from MRA (The Management Association), an independent third party who conducts their biannual, company-wide employee engagement studies. This study is a 72-item questionnaire that measures employee engagement and satisfaction, and is rated as favorable or unfavorable for each question.
In the 2015 study, FONA’s PS&Q team had 82 percent of their staff stating that they are engaged in their job, compared to a national manufacturing industry norm of 30 percent. The employee engagement of the PS&Q group improved by 49 points from 2013, the largest gain among FONA’s other departments. The PS&Q group as a whole reported a 97 percent satisfaction with their jobs, compared to 80 percent as a national norm for a non-union manufacturing setting, as compiled by MRA.
No Stranger to Awards
FONA has been recognized in 2016 as a Great Workplace in Manufacturing & Production in the Small & Medium Companies category, as evaluated via independent employee surveys conducted by the Great Place to Work Institute.
For the 11th consecutive year, FONA has also been awarded Chicago Best and Brightest Company to Work For honors in 2016 by the National Association of Business Resources (NABR). FONA has won other national awards from the same organization for five years running, according to Tonya Hubartt, MS, FONA’s human resources director.
In 2016, FONA won a “101 Best & Brightest Elite Award,” the highest rating specifically for Compensation, Benefits and Employee Solutions. “We’ve received an elite award for 11 straight years, and in 2011 and 2014 we won Best of the Best, meaning we were ranked Number 1 in Chicagoland,” Hubartt boasts. “These awards are a reflection of how FONA’s 200-plus employees feel about FONA and our company’s leadership under Joe Slawek.”
Ask Slawek to share what he finds satisfying and rewarding about having a flavor company, an exemplary one to boot, and he is quick to cite the human component. “For me, it always comes back to the people,” he relates. “I really do find the people part of the flavor business most exciting. Being a people person, I enjoy interacting with our customers and with our FONA family members. The FONA people and our customers make this all worthwhile.”
In January 2016 (recognizing performance from 2015), FONA launched a special and innovative Partnership Award Program with its vendors and customers.