After over 15 years, local pump controls manufacturer SJE has released a new purpose statement and values. The goal was to simplify the values and make them more impactful for its 443 employees, about 240 of whom work in the Detroit Lakes headquarters.
The new purpose statement is: “United as employee owners, we improve lives and positively impact communities around the world by providing exceptional control solutions.”
Suckert highlighted the importance of corporate citizenship in the statement. Through the SJE Foundation and the Charitable Funds Committee, SJE’s employee owners help choose how they would like to make a positive impact on the community. SJE donates to many charities and events at its different locations, such as the United Way and the Heart Walk. She explained that SJE also generates wealth among its employee owners, which then spreads around the community.
The values were released each day in videos that President and CEO Dave Thomas shared with the employee owners via email. These light-hearted videos took a different approach than simply explaining the values. Instead, the team responsible for the values release decided to create short cartoons featuring employee owners in theoretical situations that explain why each value is important. Thomas and Suckert both featured as cartoon versions of themselves.
“This is a project that’s been in the works now for over a year, and these values have been chosen very carefully to reflect our evolution as a company, as well as our goals moving forward as we write the next chapter in the history of SJE,” said Thomas.
The new values are unity, humility, agility, drive and ownership. Ownership in particular plays a unique part in SJE’s culture because the company is 100% employee owned.
“As an employee owned company, we know that culture is really important and a big part of what makes a place great to work,” said Vice President of Human Resources Natasha Nodsle. “We currently have several positions open and hope that these new values really resonate with both current and future employees.”
At the end of the week after all the videos were released, employee owners also received a backpack and mug with a corporate seal that had values logo printed on them. Between the videos and the employee gifts, the release was designed to be a fun kick-off to what will eventually become a long-term part of SJE’s culture.
“We wanted to do something fun and different to really catch people’s attention with this release,” said digital designer Linda Norland, who filmed the videos. “Values can be such a critical part of company culture if taken to heart.”