Gail Hering, CEO of Atmosphere Processing Inc., an automotive supplier in Holland, Mich., wanted to keep her employees up to date on the company's performance. She decided to follow the model of public companies' annual shareholder meetings and instituted an annual jobholders' meeting.
Since 1982 about 40% of the company's 180 employees have chosen to participate in the voluntary Saturday-morning event, a day that was picked because the factory is closed, the sales staff is off the road, and everyone has the opportunity to attend.
The group congregates in an off-site auditorium for about three hours to hear reports from key managers on standard public-company financials such as company profits, expenditures, investments, and strategies. Says Hering: "I'm a strong believer in the philosophy of 'The more employees know, the more valuable they are to the company.' These meetings show employees we aren't just paying lip service to how valuable their contribution is to this company."