K-2 Manufacturing is a contract manufacturer located in Phoenix, Arizona. Since the company started ten years ago, it has steadily expanded its services and capabilities, providing fabricating CNC services, welding, finishing, and assembly to a diverse customer base including aerospace, gas, medical, and commercial businesses.
The president of K-2, Tom Wright, understands that the company’s employees are paramount to its continued growth. “We are very fortunate to have a dedicated staff that knows we stand behind them,” said Wright. “It doesn’t matter what your role is at the company; everyone and every job is important to our overall success.” The company also places a high value on continuous process improvement, which helps it stay competitive by keeping quality and on-time delivery rates high.
K-2 was happy with its growth and is preparing for more. Its leadership team recently created a dedicated human resources position. The team identified a current employee who was ready for the next step in her career. She demonstrated the work ethic and professionalism but needed more HR knowledge.
To approach this transition professionally from the ground up, K-2 engaged Arizona MEP to audit the company’s HR practices and provide one-on-one HR training.
Identify Gaps and Train on Best Practices
Arizona MEP’s HR expert audited K-2’s policies and procedures. During this phase, K-2 had two primary concerns: to ensure everyone would be treated equally from onboarding through offboarding and to ensure that it was complying with any required laws and regulations. K-2 used the audit to identify gaps and create a plan to implement more comprehensive employee and company policies. The management team, the new HR manager, and the next level of supervisors participated in the audit and trained on best practices.
After completing the audit, AZ MEP introduced K-2 to a process to improve the company’s strategic planning and turn the HR department into a strategic asset. The process included having AZ MEP work with K-2 to develop detailed employee job descriptions and plans for every employee. “What I liked about working with Arizona MEP was that they worked with us to develop the overall plan and didn’t dump all the action items on us all at once,” Wright reflected. “We were able to develop and implement the project in incremental steps with their assistance.”
Formalize Procedure, Set up HR Role
Before the team could start writing new job descriptions, the expert worked with the new HR manager one-on-one to develop and implement new policies. K-2 needed to provide clear descriptions of acceptable employee and company behavior to ensure all employees would be treated the same way. The new policies incorporated the specific needs of K-2, best practices, and requirements to adhere to state and federal laws. During implementation, the new HR manager gained expert knowledge by learning directly from an AZ MEP expert with decades of HR experience.
Use Job Descriptions to Transform Strategic Planning
AZ MEP recommended that K-2 develop more detailed job descriptions for every position. At face value, detailed job descriptions provide the necessary structure for managers and employees to understand what is expected of them. When these descriptions are also tied to company performance metrics, the company can use them as a planning tool. Do they have the right people in the right positions? Do they need more or fewer positions in a particular area to achieve their goals? When used in this way, job descriptions helped align K-2’s people with strategic goals and provided a more comprehensive structure to their organization.
In addition, these job descriptions have become the foundation for performance reviews. The metrics used in the job descriptions are what employees are evaluated on. This allows the company to look at the big picture when assessing its performance against goals. The performance reviews and job descriptions are also used as the foundation for employee development plans. Employees now receive the training needed to fill knowledge gaps and expand skill sets.
The outcome of these activities was the establishment of a strategic organizational structure at K-2. The company took a leap forward in how they use job descriptions to align its goals with employees’ jobs and performance. K-2 used recent employee development plans to launch the company’s first program teaching English as a second language. AZ MEP helped K-2 find an instructor to lead this program. The classes focused on increasing employees’ reading and comprehension. Ten employees took the classes twice a week for six weeks. K-2 will evaluate the success of the class based on employee input and team performance to determine if additional classes will benefit its team members.
“Arizona MEP is a very good resource for manufacturers. The people are top shelf and they provided us with the tools needed to build a solid foundation for continued growth.”—Tom Wright, President, K-2 Manufacturing