Another round of trustworthy businesses is recognized.

When you're in the people business, Kimberly Shoemaker knows that adhering to high ethical standards is an important path to follow.

With Acloché since 1999 and CEO since 2010, Shoemaker says she strives to lead by example and encourages management team members to help her “ensure ethical conduct is upheld in all matters.”

Shoemaker cites a dozen business principles that guide her actions, including protection of confidential information, not taking influence-seeking gifts, avoiding conflicts of interest, practicing mutual respect, embracing diversity and more.

“Connecting people to complementary teams is our fascination, challenge and joy. In business as in life, we search for connections with people who propel us toward achieving our inherent potential, our career goals and our corporate objectives,” Shoemaker says in Acloché's Torch Award application.

Strategies Acloché uses to maintain a positive culture internally and with clients include an open-door policy with company executives for all employees, an anonymous online suggestion box that Shoemaker personally responds to and regular engagement of employees to help solve problems.

“I encourage an open door policy for both myself and my leadership team to promote an atmosphere where employees can talk freely with members of the management staff,” Shoemaker says.

That openness and commitment to addressing employees' concerns has resulted in Acloché reviewing and revising health insurance benefits and improving opportunities for staff to develop professionally and be promoted.

With clients, Acloché team members get involved in brainstorming and problem-solving exercises to address issues from idea development to full implementation, giving staff hands-on involvement in addressing client challenges such as employee turnover, worksite safety, production expectations and process inefficiencies. Dozens of employee-developed solutions have been employed at a variety of worksites, Shoemaker says.

Other values that Acloché actively supports include diversity and charitable giving.

“We are strongly committed to the hiring and advancement of a diverse workforce,” Shoemaker says. “By having associates with a variety of backgrounds, we gain different points of view in group problem-solving situations and effectively come to a more creative solution. Acloché strives to reflect the diversity of the communities we serve in our workforce.”

Acloché sponsors an annual team for the Susan G. Komen Columbus Race for the Cure and, with its employees, also has supported United Way, Mid-Ohio Foodbank, Firefighters for Kids, Faith Mission, Food Pantry Network, March of Dimes, Run Down the Demons, The Wounded Warrior Project and Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio.

Committed to growing the future workforce, Acloché also participates in local mentoring programs to help students hone interviewing and job-seeking skills, sponsors career workshops, and gives presentations on job search processes, interviewing tips, dressing for success, and resumé writing. In 2017, Acloché provided a judge for the NAWBO Columbus Young Entrepreneurs Academy Shark Tank.

As Shoemaker puts it, “At Acloché, we know people—and we are dedicated to changing the lives of all of those around us.”