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Rhino's Owner Explains the Company's Purpose

July 1, 1996
Related Topics: Vision, Future Workplace, Latest News
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Ted Castle knows what a good company should look like. When he started Rhino Foods 15 years ago, the owner and president specifically wove an Employee Principle section into his company's purpose statement. The statement serves as a beacon for human resources efforts, keeping Rhino on track:

The employees and families of Rhino Foods are its greatest assets. The company's relationship with its employees is founded on a climate of mutual trust and respect within an environment for listening and personal expression. Rhino Foods declares that it is a vehicle for its people to get what they want.

Here Castle explains how these words translate into everyday actions.

The employees and families of Rhino Foods are its greatest assets.

"We added "families" not because we want to dive into people's lives, but because we do think about working from the outside in — and people come from the outside in. We want people to have a healthy life outside because if they do, we think they come to work in much better shape. And if we have a work environment here that creates healthy people inside our company, when they go home they have a better chance of a healthy environment there. To try to say that one doesn't affect the other is putting blinders on."

The company's relationship with its employees is founded on a climate of mutual trust and respect within an environment for listening and personal expression.

"We do what we can to get people to trust us. At our company meetings, we're being as honest as we can with people. Trust is a huge thing. People don't come to work for a company and trust that company right off the bat. It takes a number of years for people to develop trust for their employer. We also try to create an environment for listening. We work hard at listening to what our people are saying, and we work hard to get people to express what they think."

Rhino Foods declares that it is a vehicle for its people to get what they want.

"If we can get people who are good at getting what they want, then we have a group of people who can be proactive about getting results either in their personal life or while they're here at work."

Castle emphasizes that it's crucial to stay true to Rhino's employee principles, continually performing an HR progress report of sorts: "It's a lot of work. You need to constantly evaluate how you're doing. You can't wait a few years and do a program and then wait another few years and do another. It's too patchwork and it doesn't work that way. You have to stay focused all the time."

Personnel Journal, July 1996, Vol. 75, No. 7, pp. 38.

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