Since Roy O. Martin, Sr. started his family business in 1923, the company that today bears his name has been a force in the timber products world. Alexandria, Louisiana-based RoyOMartin manufactures southern yellow pine oriented strand board (OSB), plywood and solid wood products from exclusively domestic materials, offered for sale worldwide. The company, which has more than 1,250 employees across four sites, is also known for its commitment to workforce training and retention. RoyOMartin has developed a broad menu of training programs that allow its team members to regularly improve their skills, advance within the company and remain safe on the job. Meanwhile, additional external workforce development programs help RoyOMartin to recruit and onboard its next generation of talent.
“People are our number one resource,” says Roy O. Martin III, president, CEO and CFO. “We’re committed to developing our people, such as through offering a number of training and advancement programs to our team members.”
Those include carefully designed programs that offer different aspects of training and development for everyone within the organization. One is RoyOMartin University, an internal leadership development program that helps managers do their jobs better. The program uses classroom instruction and on-the-job training to sharpen the hard and soft skills critical to managing people within the organization.
Another program, Pay for Knowledge and Skills, or PKS, is a self-driven, customizable advancement plan for manufacturing team members. Employees can earn a higher wage if they master new skills through a defined, cross-training program. In 2018, team member enrollment in PKS reached an all-time high, with nearly 1,000 new skills earned throughout the company. By making it easy for employees to increase their skills and understand how they fit into the company big picture, PKS has improved productivity and product quality. It has also helped decrease turnover and safety incidents.
One of the distinguishing factors of RoyOMartin’s workforce training programs is their sheer breadth. They cover a multitude of topics, employee levels and areas of interest. The newest program, Maintenance Multi-Craft, enables industrial electricians to cross-train as millwrights, and vice versa. And the Master Operator program makes it possible for manufacturing team members who have mastered their own work systems to learn skills in other areas of the plant, thus increasing their earning potential within the company.
Programs also focus on developing a solid regional workforce pipeline, says Vice President of Human Resources Donna Bailey. “The only way to have excellent products and processes is to have excellent people, and we do,” Bailey says. “I’ve heard Roy say many times that we’re not in the manufacturing business, we’re in the people business. We work hard to find the right people and develop them for growth.”
The company has found that one effective way of recruiting new team members is through school-based outreach. The WoodWorks program, founded by the company in 2007, is an accredited, industry-based curriculum offered in public high schools across Louisiana and Texas. During the 2018-2019 school year, 245 students in 18 schools enrolled in the program, which teaches the basics of manufacturing, including applied mathematics, industrial safety and employability skills. RoyOMartin employees serve as WoodWorks mentors and discuss with students the real life application of the skills they’re acquiring. A large number of WoodWorks certificate holders have gone on to work for the company.
Recruiting and retaining women is another important company objective. RoyOMartin’s annual Women in Manufacturing Day spreads the word to middle and high school girls in Central Louisiana about the broad opportunities for women within the company in sales, supply chain, production, manufacturing and many other disciplines. Women employees are among the guest speakers at the annual event. In 2018, attendance doubled from the previous year, demonstrating the broad enthusiasm young women have for manufacturing as a career option.
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