Openness, trust and support – solid armor to battle a downturn

Winning Workplaces Success Stories – IRMCO

Openness, trust and support – solid armor to battle a downturn

The road to a winning workplace can begin in an unusual way. In the mid-1980s, suffering from the cancer from which he would eventually die, William O. Jeffery, III committed his final years to making the company he owned and ran a better place for his people, and its products better for his industrial customers. Out went the oil and animal fat-based lubricants IRMCO had made for decades. In came much more environmentally friendly, water-based products.

As he overhauled his product line, so, too, did Jeffery remake the way management dealt with its employees. “He got extra-focused on people,” recalls his son and IRMCO’s current CEO, William C. “Jeff” Jeffery, who runs the 22-employee Evanston, IL, company, with his brother, Bradley. A key first step was to put in place what is now commonly referred to as “open book” management – sharing all financial details, except payroll, on a regular basis with all employees. More…