A new employee initiative where your job is everybody’s business
HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. — OFM, a leading office and school furniture manufacturer, distributor, and wholesaler, recently launched a new program called “OFM University” that offers cross-training opportunities through classes and lectures to every employee within the company on how the business operates.
“It’s made all of us more effective at our own jobs,” said Wes Edwards, who works at OFM and is the chair of the steering committee for the company’s Ownership Thinking initiative which helps build moral among employees and encourage them to be active participants in OFM’s financial success. “When you understand why your coworker needs something from you, you’re going to do a better job getting it to them.”
Through the “OFM University” effort, employees teach classes on such subjects as accounting, inventory, graphics and shipping. Other workshops have focused on more specific topics such as how foreign currency affects business, principles of ownership thinking and retirement planning. Classes are 30 minutes long, once or twice a week for 12 weeks.
Setting up a company university came from an idea box that was started internally last January where employees were encouraged to jot down an idea they had for the company. Nearly 70 percent of the ideas submitted touched on wanting to know more about how other departments within the company worked. From these ideas, “OFM University” was born and is one of many initiatives that fall under the company’s Ownership Thinking program.
Edwards says the program is already boosting morale and helps employees think creatively about how to do their own jobs.
“We want everyone at OFM to think about the company as a whole,” he said. “When everyone is looking at the big picture, we’re all more creative, more thoughtful and more effective at our jobs.”
Contact: Alison Beckwith