As the pandemic stretches on, company leaders step up to provide stability, guidance, and support for employees and their community.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact US residents’ health, education, employment, and finances, some companies and organizations are coming together to support local communities through these unprecedented times. One company that has led the charge in setting a standard for COVID-19 response is AJM Packaging. AJM Packaging, headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, MI, is a US-based, family-run company that has been an active employer in Michigan since its founding in 1957. The paper product manufacturer still operates its original Detroit location, and has kept all its facilities within the United States. The company has operations in Taylor, Southgate, and Detroit, MI, and has manufacturing locations in five other states as well, currently employing nearly 3,000 workers.
AJM Packaging’s dedication to their employees and customers was already clear prior to the pandemic. The company is committed to the development and wellbeing of their employees, which has extended beyond their keeping jobs within the U.S.; they offer free company paid medical insurance, a robust benefits offering, tuition reimbursement, and they have received numerous accolades including Employer of the Year recognition from SER Metro-Detroit. AJM Packaging is an established leader in their industry, and has also received certification from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council for their sustainability efforts. Moreover, the company hasn’t laid off any employees due to economic conditions in more than a decade.
With this strong foundation, AJM Packaging has met the obstacles of the pandemic head-on, not only responding to increased demand for their products, but maintaining the health and safety of their employees while hiring for over 200 new, permanent positions to account for the increase in demand.
Maintaining Consistency for Consumers and Stepping Up for Employees
AJM saw increased demand as consumers turned to eating more meals at home and using convenient and disposable products. In response to the increased demand for paper products, AJM chose to open up more opportunities in their plants to provide for their customers.
AJM was deemed a “critical infrastructure” business in the early days of the pandemic and supplied many essential businesses, including grocery stores and drug stores. To keep up with the increase in demand, AJM announced that the company would be hiring over 200 new employees at their Taylor, Southgate, and Detroit locations. The roles included general laborers, machine techs, machine operators, and more, and, as AJM stated, these positions would not be temporary, but permanent, full-time positions.
In addition to announcing these new positions, AJM Packaging implemented a new referral program across all locations. The program gives employees the opportunity to earn an additional $0.50 per hour, every hour that they work when they refer a candidate to AJM who is hired. There is no limit on the number of referrals an employee can make, and this initiative has driven an influx of qualified candidate applications.
Robert A. Epstein, President of AJM Packaging, stated, “In spite of the challenges we’re facing together right now, we continue to be inspired and motivated by the resilience of our employees.We want to show our team that we appreciate the effort they’re putting forth, being present, on time and available for work every day.”
The company has also implemented rigorous safety protocols to maintain the health of their front-line workers. These protocols include checking temperature upon employees’ entry into each facility, providing all employees with masks, regularly sanitizing communal spaces, and contact tracing and testing.
Staying Safe While Hiring
To keep up with increasing demand, AJM Packaging announced that they were hiring for over 200 jobs. Despite the hurdles imposed by the pandemic, the company prioritized the health of their interviewers and potential candidates during the hiring process by adhering strictly to U.S. health officials’ recommendations.
In order to maintain safe practices while interviewing, AJM has held several outdoor recruiting events where interviews are conducted outside of the AJM facilities in open-air tents. Candidates were encouraged to fill out their interview applications in their own vehicles or in the open-air tents, and were given masks. Applicants also had their temperature taken prior to being interviewed. The interviewers also wore masks, and interview stations were also sanitized between each candidate’s interview.
These thorough safety measures did not come as a surprise, based on AJM’s initial response to COVID-19 safety measures for their employees. “The health and safety of our employees is always our top priority, and that responsibility extends to our applicants, too,” said Epstein. “This is a busy time for us, but we’re not letting heavy order volume pressure us into sub-par safety measures.”
AJM’s dedication to maintaining safe health practices during interviews earned the company a superior rating from the Public Health Department in the markets that they operate.
Giving Back to Healthcare Workers
In addition to keeping up with product orders and strong safety standards for their employees, AJM Packaging has made it a priority to aid healthcare personnel however they can. AJM has donated more than 1 million paper bags to Detroit-area hospitals that have been using bags to store personal protective equipment (PPE).
AJM also donated 267,000 bags to the Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital when an employee reached out to the company via their website thanking them for the positive impact their products have had on mask storage and streamlining their work processes during this stressful time. To date, AJM has donated 1.75 million bags to hospitals battling COVID-19, working with GMT Logistics and White Line Express, who donated freight services.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
In these unprecedented times, support is vital. As communities rally together to maintain each others’ safety and keep morale up, we look towards the leaders that emerge in these times of crisis. AJM Packaging has not only shown their commitment to their customers and their employees, but have established themselves as a compassionate force that goes beyond their own communities. AJM continues to serve Michigan and the United States as more than a company — they set an example for how businesses can rise up and how we can take care of one another.
To learn more about AJM Packaging’s history and their COVID-19 efforts, read here.