Magazine ranks Shaw among state's top places to work
by Matt Shinall
Nov 07, 2010 | 1199 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With 2,946 Shaw employees either living or working in Bartow County, the flooring giant claim's the rank as Bartow's largest employer. Shaw now holds a spot on Georgia Trend's list of the "Best Places to Work" featured in the magazine's November issue.

Ten companies made the statewide list spanning numerous industries but Shaw proved to be the only manufacturer. Inclusions were selected after reviewing employee nominations based on several factors focusing on employee and community commitments.

This recognition comes as no surprise to Director of Shaw's Contract Manufacturing Group James Jarrett.

"Our three core values really come into play I think, which is honesty, integrity and hard work. I think in order for people to feel good about the company they work for, they've got to believe, that for the most part, it's run with honesty and integrity," said Jarrett, a Bartow County resident and Shaw employee for more than 30 years.

In a press release, Shaw CEO Vance Bell attributed the company's success to the work of those who made the nomination.

"Without question, our people are truly the foundation of our business -- and our culture, our work environment and our accomplishments are all thanks to the ingenuity, experience, skill and dedication of our associates," Bell stated.

Shaw has been making the news for some time as an employer, most recently for their commitment to veterans. Administration at Bartow's Plant 15 received Patriot Awards from the Department of Defense while the corporation was named 2009 Employer of the Year from the Georgia Department of Labor's Veteran Services.

Jarrett expounded on some of the factors that go into such a consideration to be named one of the state's top places to work.

"There are obviously a lot of things that go into being a good employer and one that people are proud to work for and enjoy working for," Jarrett said, adding that one of those factors is remaining competitive in wages and compensation among others. "And I think at Shaw, the fact that we're a stable company -- although we've had some very difficult times in the last couple of years with the drop in building but in Bartow we're mostly in commercial carpet. That security and stability is a part of it, certainly, but the other thing is I think our people feel valued. We try to engage everyone from the person who just started out on the floor today to people like myself who've been here 30-plus years in the decision-making processes that surround them."

The employees that Shaw attributes for its success have found value in their employment, which is made apparent not only by recognition and awards but also by the number of tenured employees who have made a career at Shaw. Jarrett among them, has experienced the development process that enables employees to grow with the company.

"In today's manufacturing/industrial environment, or even business environment, we have an unusual number of folks who have long tenure with the company -- and it's because they've been able to grow. We've always tried to provide an atmosphere in which people can grow and develop their skills," Jarrett said. "It's hard to build that kind of loyalty, but a company that allows you to learn and allows you to grow -- that's the kind of place that a lot of people want to be a part of."

Georgia Trend's feature on Shaw highlights a few of the elements that made the company stand out. One of those was their sustainability efforts as seen in their "cradle-to-cradle" manufacturing process. Brands and products have been created with environmental ends in mind. Collection sites have also been setup around the country to recycle more than 100 million pounds of carpet each year.

The magazine also pays particular attention to corporate training programs, which have been applauded by human resource professionals and organizations. Programs include Shaw Learning Academy for training development and tuition assistance for employees choosing to pursue continuing education.

"We have some of the best training programs that you'll find anywhere. I know over on our sales and marketing side, they have been at or near the top of the training world in terms of our sales training program for many, many years now," Jarrett said. "Security and safety programs are important, too, particularly the safety program. When people know you're concerned with your safety, they know that they care about you and it's a caring atmosphere in total here. Like any large organization, you've got differences from one department to another but I think primarily that people know they are cared about, that they're valued and that their ideas are valued as well as their ability to make things happen."

Lastly, Jarrett pointed to Shaw's transformation, which began in Bartow, to team-based production. The efficiency model proved to do much more than organize workflow.

"Here in Bartow County, in particular, we made a transition about 15 years ago to a team-based high performance organizational structure where our associates on the floor work in teams," Jarrett said. "Teamwork is extremely important. Even when you're not necessarily in a team but you're in a collaborative environment where people work together, it really does give you a better sense of belonging and a greater opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way and to be creative. ... People can make individual connections through team members and feel very much a part of something that's bigger than themselves -- and I think that's an important aspect of who we are."

Georgia Trend can be read in full at www.georgiatrend.com.