July 11, 2016
“I came in as green as green gets,” recalled Mike Call, of his first days at Microspec in Peterborough. “I knew nothing. I didn’t even know what they did here.”
Microspec, a specialty manufacturer that custom-makes medical tubing, takes its entry-level employees through an intake training and on-the-job mentorship that teaches them everything they need to know about the business.
Because the manufacturing that Microspec does is specialized, explained Tim Steele, founder and president of the company, there is an expectation that those hired for even entry-level positions that need no experience, have more elevated reasoning skills. Instead of experience, potential new hires are given a test to determine their intuitive skills – a skill that often people either have or don’t, said Steele.
But if a potential employee can prove that they are able to think flexibly and work to intuit what they need, Microspec is willing to train them in a field with plenty of room for upward mobility, where at the highest levels of training, an employee might earn more than $40 per hour.
The company is in the midst of transferring some of that institutional knowledge into a curriculum that can be taught to incoming employees, as well as technical and “soft” skills such as communication and team work that employees can develop through a online learning system called Halogen.
But it’s not the learning opportunities, the rate of pay or the fact that Microspec pays for 100 percent of its employees health benefits that employees cite when asked why they have made their career at the manufacturer.
“It’s Tim Steele,” said Call, naming Microspec founder and president. “Eleven years ago, on my first day, I met Tim on the floor and he shook my hand and said ‘Welcome to the family.’”
Other employees echoed Call’s statement, saying that it is the small nature of the company and the family atmosphere that makes them stay. The company provides bonding time outside of work, including a company softball team, a community garden, gym, sponsored 5k runs and pizza parties on the months that the company meets its production goals to make sure there are plenty of opportunities for its employees to gel.
While as with any job, there is a certain amount of stress as the time to tally the monthly quota approaches, said Technician Paul Chergey, the positive work atmostphere outweighs the stressors. Chergey, who also worked his way up from a newly graduated college student, working as an assistant to Steele for more than a year.
Stephanie Higley of Peterborough, has only been on the job at Microspec a little more than a month, and said her first day, she was “terrified,” having come in with no experience. But soon, she figured out that she was going to be given direct training on her job, and her fellow co-workers were ready to assist her with any questions.
“It really is a small company feel,” said Higley.
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