Van Meter’s Osako Wins National Award from Workforce Magazine

Driving change in an organization isn’t easy, but for Van Meter’s human resources manager Stacie Osako, it fuels her passion.  Over the past year, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based company has implemented considerable focused at improving employee total well‐being, and much of that can be contributed to Osako.

Her leadership hasn’t gone unnoticed, and Osako was recently named a 2016 Game Changer by Workforce magazine, which reviews applications from across the world and selects only 25 HR professionals under the age of 40 for this recognition. These top 25 performers will be featured in the magazine’s August issue. For more information about the award, visit workforce.com.

In 2015, Osako helped launch a personal accountability plan at Van Meter that empowers employees to recharge and refocus themselves. Referred to as TOTAL, an acronym for time off to appreciate life, the plan allows employees to decide for themselves how many days they need off to balance life with their workload.

According to Osako, “We’ve moved away from a traditional paid time off policy to more of a personal accountability plan. We believe that when you treat people as adults –- people who are passionate about their jobs – they will do their best. They know what time they need off and they’ll work to get their jobs done.”

Osako also helped introduce a one‐time, month‐long employee sabbatical program for workers who have been with the company at least 20 years. Recognizing the needs of new parents, she led an initiative to add six weeks of fully paid parental leave for both mothers and fathers. New mothers are provided 6 weeks of short‐term disability plus the additional six weeks paid by Van Meter for a total of a 12‐weeks paid leave.

“These innovative changes have been very successful,” stated Osako. “It’s become less of a benefit and more of a way of life.”

Van Meter also made the news this year when it was recognized as one of Iowa’s Winning Workplaces by the Des Moines Register and the Coolest Place to Work in the Corridor by the Corridor Business Journal.

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