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Interview Home > Interview

Interview with Kip Paterson, director of HR for Saint-Gobain Abrasives NA: Saint-Gobain strives for a happy workplace


Feb. 20, 2018 - Building materials manufacturer Saint-Gobain has been recognized as a top employer in North America by the Top Employers Institute for the third consecutive year for its workplace and employee benefits. The company operates its Abrasives North America operation in Worcester. Kip Paterson, director of human resources for that entity, said that the company's practices have led to such distinctions.

Congrats on being named a top employer in North America again. How has the company earned that mark for three straight years?

Saint-Gobain creates innovative materials every day to enhance the well-being of people everywhere, and this starts with our commitment to the well-being of our employees. We're proud to be recognized as a top employer in North America for the third consecutive year and believe this honor is a reflection of our continued work to foster an engaging workplace for employees where innovative ideas can grow.

How has the company changed its practices that has led to this kind of recognition?

Over the last several years, Saint-Gobain has led the way in developing policies and programs worthy of being recognized as a top employer. Saint-Gobain's Diversity and Inclusion Council establishes policies and programs to ensure the organization nurtures and grows a diverse and inclusive culture. In 2015, we built a state-of-the-art headquarters in North America to maximize the comfort and well-being of our employees. We also provide ongoing opportunities for professional development, including on-the-job development, coaching and mentoring, self-study and training programs.

The company scored a 90 on the Human Rights Campaign's LGBTQ index. What does that track record mean to the company?

In 2017, Saint-Gobain submitted to the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index for the first time and achieved high marks for our workplace inclusivity for the LGBTQ community, earning the 90-percent score. As we continue to expand our diversity and inclusion efforts, we're focused on creating welcoming workplace environment for all employees. Achieving such accolades is more important than ever as the manufacturing industry shifts and we're tasked with recruiting new talent and driving innovation and diverse ideas.

Why does Saint-Gobain seek to be such a diverse and employee-friendly company?

At Saint-Gobain, we're in this together. We're committed to understanding what matters most to our employees, which enables us to personalize our workplace. It's this reciprocal relationship between employees and leaders that encourages employees to bring their best selves to work each day and challenge one another with diverse perspectives and ideas.

Last year, Saint-Gobain launched Live Open, an employee resource group, to support members and allies of the LGBTQ community. As a company committed to solving some of the world's biggest challenges in terms of sustainability, comfort and well-being, we're focused on developing programs specific to meeting the needs and challenges of our employees.

How does the company balance maintaining a happy workplace and the rigors of the manufacturing industry?

At Saint-Gobain, our employees have the power to drive change in the workplace. As a company, we maintain a healthy balance between having a happy workplace and the rigors of the manufacturing industry by empowering our employees and equipping them with the necessary tools to grow as professionals.

Does workforce development play a part in these recent distinctions?

The manufacturing industry is changing before our eyes — there's an increased need to close the skills gap and recruit new talent. To meet demand, Saint-Gobain is faced with the need to hire nearly 35 workers each workweek over the next three years. Receiving top employer and workplace inclusivity awards are instrumental in showcasing the company as a great place to work, and, in turn, attract new talent.

What kind of programs is the company looking to develop to help build on this momentum?

We're constantly seeking new ways Saint-Gobain can enhance our benefits, policies and practices, and programs to create an engaging, diverse and inclusive work environment that will ignite innovation.

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