Culture Matters: Kirby Risk's Employee Investment

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A third-generation electrical and lighting manufacturer, supplier and service provider is continuing to focus on training as a way to retain and attract employees to the nearly century-old company. Our Culture Matters segment this month features Lafayette-based Kirby Risk Corp., which FirstPerson Managing Director Paul Ashley says takes an approach that is "all about the people." Kirby Risk has grown to include nearly 1,000 employees and four manufacturing locations, including its large presence in Tippecanoe County.

Ashley says the company has developed a high degree of employee loyalty throughout the years. "They shared stats with us," he told Gerry Dick in Studio (i), "and it's reflected that 40 percent of the employees have been there at least 10 years. Another 20 percent have been there at least 20 years. That's a lot of longevity, that's a lot of dedication and that doesn't happen by accident. Those people are choosing to be there, choosing to hang there hat there because of what Kirby Risk has created in terms of employee loyalty."

Kirby Risk, Ashley says, has continued to forge connections within the community through partnerships with local educational institutions like Ivy Tech Community College and Purdue University, a range of philanthropic endeavors and even helping launch Greater Lafayette Commerce years ago. Ashley adds the company's mentorship opportunities "go both ways" among employees of multiple generations, where older workers are passing on their institutional knowledge and younger workers are "up-mentoring" with their technology know-how.

"They are investing in technology, both on the line, but also in the way the employee experience happens," Ashley added. "A great example: they used to have a paper-based application, 30 questions -- kind of made it hard for future employees to have an initial experience. That's now an automated, eight-question technology that feeds into their HRS system, so they continue to make investments that are technology-driven and efficiency-driven, so that people have a great employee experience." Ashley says the company also boosts employee skills through its Kirby Risk Training Academy.

The company operates five business units: Kirby Risk Electrical Supply, Kirby Risk Service Center, Kirby Risk Mechanical Solutions and Service, Kirby Risk Precision Machining and ARCO Electric Products.

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