King Memory values work-life flexibility.
Joe Krivicich began at the bottom at King Memory, like everybody else. “I started with things like testing and working for our Amazon fulfillment program,” he says. But he might as well have been an executive at the computer memory company in Columbus, judging by how his time was valued. “When I first started working here, I was in school—I was working and going to school at the same time at Ohio State University,” he says. “And they were more than reasonable with respect to how many hours I worked.”
Five years later, Krivicich is a senior operations coordinator working to get King Memory certified according to international environmental health and safety standards for electronics recyclers. That means 50-hour weeks that pay overtime, which helps his household while his wife attends nursing school.
Krivicich also retains the flexibility to scale back his hours when needed. That's one of the ways King Memory supports its employees, leading them to praise the company in anonymous survey responses for Columbus CEO's Top Workplaces, earning it a special award for work/life flexibility this year.
Heidi Ludwig, who joined King last June as human resources manager, can already say confidently the company offers uncommon employee support even as it grows rapidly—it added 24 workers last year and plans to hire 40 more in 2018.
“We have a highly satisfied team of employees,” Ludwig says. “They like everything King has to offer, and they recognize the commitment and loyalty the company has to them. So they want to put in hours. We've never had to ask people to work overtime. They just do it.”
In return, she says, “When employees have something going on with family or medical appointments, we have no questions. We leave it up to employees to take care of what they need to do and make adjustments to their schedules.”
The company leadership makes sure employees don't have too much on their plates, which lessens the need for overtime, co-founder Darryl Tanner says.
“We try to be really intentional with that work/life balance,” Tanner says. “So in general, someone working excessive hours simply means they are not effectively delegating, or they have too many roles.”
That intentionality has created a culture that values every employee, Tanner says. “We are on a mission to build the best culture of a privately held company in Columbus, and we're still young in that endeavor,” he says. “So every high-level person we bring on is going to help shape that and help influence that.”
Late nights and hectic schedules can be common for an Inc. 5000 company that's grown sales 368 percent over the past three years, but keeping things light helps workers manage stress and stay productive.
“That means everybody working together and getting the job done, meeting their goals,” Tanner says. “No two days are ever the same—it's always interesting. There's always new opportunities and challenges.”
Putting on some headphones and plowing through a pile of work can be fun in such an environment, Krivicich says. “Around the holidays we had to get some last-minute orders out, and I had to work quite a bit of overtime that weekend,” he says. “But I really like the people I was working with. It sounds really corny, but it doesn't feel like work.”
Katy Smith is a freelance writer.