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Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement – It is a phrase talked about often in almost all organizations. Senior leaders discuss it. Managers and supervisors think about it often and how they might improve it. Human Resource (HR) professionals study engagement in order to better inform leaders and managers how to build it. And even employees think about it, especially if they are not particularly motivated or engaged. Engagement is critical to achieving the goals of an organization, whether those are corporate, business unit, team, or sustainability goals.

So, in thinking about Winpak, do we have an engaged workforce? Before we discuss this question, let’s define an engaged employee. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) provides valuable insights on what constitutes an engaged employee. Also, we need to show differences to employee satisfaction as these terms are often seen as synonymous. Satisfied employees are often characterized as feeling pleasant, content, and gratified. Things the company does for them provide this satisfaction. Engaged employees, however, have a focus and sense of urgency in what they do. Engagement goes beyond job descriptions and is persistent and proactive.¹

As I lead sustainability efforts at a corporate level, my lens for seeing examples of engagement come mainly through my interaction with others working to accomplish our sustainability goals. The examples I witness are evidence to me of engagement. What are some of those examples?

  1. Sustainability Team – Each business unit or site is invited to have a representative be part of this team. The goals largely for the team are to carry out our “Action Plan”, to communicate sustainability information within their organization, and to help the corporation reach its goals. Team members come from different functional areas of the company and are volunteers to this team. So, for the most part, sustainability responsibilities are not part of their job descriptions. What each team member has though is engagement and reaches outside his/her primary job responsibilities to help the organization achieve its goals.

  2. Energy & Waste Teams – Another example where Winpak employees engage is on two separate teams focused on reducing energy intensity and waste-to-landfill for the company. Each site has a representative that participates in monthly meetings, share ideas, discusses certain gaps, and even collects and enter data so we can monitor progress on a regular basis. Again, these employees step beyond their regular roles and responsibilities to support the organization and guide improvement in two areas important to the corporation. 

  3. Community Support – As a company and for employees, it is important that Winpak stands for something. This is largely articulated through our “It’s our nature to protect™” slogan. It certainly represents the goal of our packaging products, and it represents our approach to the communities where we operate. Employees in local communities take pride in helping the environment and their communities. In some cases, it is organized recycling events on Earth Day like we saw at our Winpak sites in Sauk Village, IL and South Chicago Heights, IL. It is support for tornado victims in Newnan, GA displayed by Winpak Films Inc. employees. We also see engagement through employees at our Winpak facilities in Winnipeg coming together to donate food items for Harvest Manitoba. Engaged employees demonstrate these type traits and characteristics.

Winpak has established ambitious business and sustainability goals. Our ability to succeed means Winpak employees need to be consistently engaged. I, for one, can do a better job delegating and allowing others the autonomy to further engage and succeed. As an organization we need to continue to communicate expectations, provide needed tools, and ensure employees build their self-confidence through positive reinforcement. Each of us should challenge ourselves to be fully engaged. Whether it is for personal growth, for reaching team or business goals, or for supporting our sustainability initiatives, engagement is critical to our success.  


Phillip Crowder
Phillip Crowder
Director, Corporate Sustainability
Senoia, Georgia

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