Last week I attended a luncheon for past employees of FMC Corporation (Northern Pump, Northern Ordnance, United Defense, BAE Systems) in Fridley. I worked there 30 years ago. It was a unique place to work, founded in 1941, the plant was a huge machine shop (five acres under one roof), the aisles between the machines had street names: people rode bicycles if they had to travel to other departments. Shop employees were members of the UAW union. It was a small city, complete with a metallurgical lab, foundry, print shop, medical office, and banking facilities.
I have great memories of my time there. I recognized several people (including my brother and his wife). Everyone had stories to tell and memories to share. People talked about company picnics, softball trips to Nationals, the year of the tornado, and one-of-a-kind characters who have passed away.
The culture of the company ran deep. If you’re trying to build a strong culture in your organization, you may be inspired by how it was done at FMC.
- Individual recognition – when people were hired or retired, celebrated an anniversary, or received training, their picture was in the company newsletter.
- Family-centered activities – company picnics were a highlight. There were games and prizes for the children and the food was catered.
- Sponsored teams – bowling, softball, darts: if employees were involved, FMC sponsored it (within company guidelines).
- Clubs – travel, computer, camping, foreign language, cooking, like-minded employees regularly met.
- A social mission – FMC supported the United Way, held silent auctions to raise funds (complete with a thermometer goal), and encouraged competition between departments. They also loaned executives to the United Way when needed.
- Great benefits – medical, dental, 401(k), stock purchase, matching grant program, and liberal PTO.
- Tuition reimbursement – and books were covered.
- Pictures – annual pictures were taken of all the activities, clubs, committees, organizations, AND departments. I was a member of an HR Committee in the picture above.
Working in a company that focuses on culture is a privilege. As I look back, I realize I went the extra mile for FMC because I felt appreciated and valued.
What can you do in your organization to build that kind of culture?
The road is easier together,
We are honored you’ve chosen to spend time with us today. Time is precious and we are grateful.