Jabil: A Company that Cares Every Day

Yesterday was “Companies That Care Day,” an annual event created by the Center for Companies That Care. According to their website, the not-for-profit organization is “dedicated to enhancing the well-being of employees and communities by educating and inspiring employers to practice employer engagement.” Thankfully for all Jabil employees, Jabil is a company that cares every day of the year.

The event encourages employers and individuals to address a significant societal issue that is undermining the well-being of the communities in which the companies exist.

Select characteristics outlined by the Center include: sustaining a work environment focused on dignity and respect for all employees; cultivating the full potential of all employees; encouraging individual pursuit of work / life balance; and appreciating and recognizing the contributions of the people working at the company. Whether it’s encouraging a colleague to submit their project to Deliver Best Practices or nominating someone for Jabil’s Respect. Recognize. Reward. program, Jabil consciously works to meet all of these characteristics and embody what it means to be a company that cares.

To read additional details of how Jabil is a company that cares and information from Jabil’s latest quarterly earnings update, check out Jabil’s blog.

We want to hear from you:
In what ways do you think Jabil contributes to being a company that cares?

Taking the Lead: Five Secrets to Success from Women Leaders

Source: Photo by NEC Corporation of America with Creative Commons License

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The last of our 4-part series “Women Leaders,” unveils five secrets to success.

It’s easy to be inspired by women who have made it to the top of their profession. Many female professionals look upward and see a corporate mountain ahead of them instead of a ladder. Though at times it can feel like you’re climbing with no rope, you’re not alone. Fast Company shared a list of insights from 10 women in leadership roles and what they saw as their secrets to success.

We picked our five favorites and asked women who work at Jabil to lend their unique perspectives.

1. Be Your Authentic Self

Danae Ringelmann, co-founder and CEO of Indiegogo, says, “Don’t be afraid to be you and own it.” She elaborates that power is the ability to influence and impact people but to do that you have to first embrace yourself and the place where you come from.”

Gabriela Martinez,
Talent Acquisition Manager
Chihuahua, Mexico

Being true to your authentic self inspires loyalty within a team, says Martinez. “It also inspires faith in the leadership,” she continues. “The team can connect what [the leader] says to what they do. They’re consistent for those who look up to them.” Martinez thinks that this behavior guarantees learning and a more cohesive sense of unity among the team members. Authentic leaders, she says, generate trust in everything they do both inside and outside the company. They are the type of people that others want to do business with.

2. Ask Questions

Monif Clarke, founder and CEO of Monif C. Plus Sizes, says: “I’ve learned that between customers, employees and all our stakeholders, my number one job is asking [my team] a lot of questions so I can serve them.” She sees her company like a ship that she is steering and to be a good captain she has to ask questions to be responsive to people’s needs.”

Sonya Soparkar,
Senior Director, Global New Business Development
Livingston, Scotland

Asking questions is insight into a person being truly interested, Soparkar thinks. “It shows you’re engaged, that you’re genuine. This helps build trust in the relationships with colleagues and customers alike.” In her experience, asking questions is an important part of Jabil’s culture. “As a company, we are constantly striving to bring creative, transformational solutions to our customers. To do that, all of us, but especially business leaders, we need to get past the surface and dig down through the layers.” Asking intelligent questions does just that, it’s part of the process of understanding business and making sure that your customer’s needs are met.

3. In Good Times and Bad: Be Humble

Brooke Moreland, head of marketing at Gett and co-founder of Fashism, talks about the importance of humility while being an effective leader. “Give credit to your subordinates when things go well and shoulder the responsibility when things hit the fan. It’s hard, but I think the lack of ego is something that people respect and appreciate.” She says that no matter what happens, those at the top are responsible.

Rachel Chan,
HR Generalist
Huangpu, China

“Being humble is to accept the idea that you are not always perfect,” says Chan. “That you don’t always have to be right about everything.” She sees this as being an important opportunity for leaders to learn and grow by opening themselves to others and their mistakes. In doing so, it leads to respect. “One can see things from both sides, this enhances the chances of making the right decisions.”

4. Listening is the Biggest Part of Your Job

Jessanne Collins, editor-in-chief of mental_floss magazine, has learned that the best teams she’s been in are the ones with the strongest communicators who can articulate both a vision and concerns in effective ways. She says, “leadership is mostly about listening. You can’t create a team that thrives if you can’t respond to what each member needs.”

Susan Drane,
Sales Engineering Manager
St. Petersburg, U.S.A.

Drane recognizes the challenges of listening. “What’s really hard is trying to drown everything else out that’s going on in your head and focus on the person in front of you to really understand their pain points.” She sees women as having their own unique challenges in doing this by struggling to balance attention between personal matters, family and work. “Give the person you’re speaking with your undivided attention. Turn your phone over, step away from the computer to talk, go ahead and close the door. If someone truly needs your focus, give it to them; we all want to be heard.”

5. You Don’t Have to Have all the Answers

Kathryn Finney, founder and managing director of digialundivided (DID), busts the myth of leaders being omnipotent creatures. She talks about the process of bringing her company to market and how there was no clear path to success. She says, “the difference is that leaders trust their instincts to lead them to an answer.”

Meredith Kovarik,
Director, Supply Chain Management
St. Petersburg, U.S.A.

“In a company that sits centered in so many customers and capabilities it’s impossible to understand everything at all times,” reflects Kovarik. “It’s all about being surrounded by the right people.” When a leader is supported by an effective team they can make connections between knowledge and capabilities. These connections are the foundation for real knowledge, says Kovarik, and from them comes productivity and innovation.

Spend time with the five other valuable insights that Fast Company listed and see if any blend with your personal style of leadership. It has been shown that having a mentor can help you reach your career goals. So don’t be afraid to seek out leaders to draw inspiration from and get advice.

We want to know:
What is something that has helped you improve as a leader?

Bringing a Positive Attitude to a Logistical Challenge: Elaine Zhou

During the Deliver Best Practices competition, things can get very serious, afterall they are competing for top prizes. The ever-cheerful Elaine Zhou, Logistics & Customs Trade Compliance Manager from Jabil’s Shanghai site, represented her team and presented their project during the 2014 competition.

With a focus on the future, Zhou and her team developed a new management system for balancing logistics and manufacturing while cutting costs in their project, “The Portal Into the Future of Logistics.” The portal they created manages and controls vendors / forwarders as well as improves awareness surrounding buyers and logistics. The project received first place in the “Operational Excellence” category of the competition.

Seeing setbacks as motivation, Zhou always brings a positive attitude, one of Jabil’s core values, to what she does and gains inspiration from customers’ feedback.

“In manufacturing we have to face various customers’ requirements and sometimes these are challenging,” said Zhou. “These requirements give us a lot of innovation, creative and imaginary space.”

It’s evident Zhou and her team acted as a family as the song they chose to represent them during the competition was “We are Family” by Sly and the Family Stone. Additionally, Zhou states that the best part of her job is her “wonderful team members.”

In her free time, Zhou likes to travel with her family and one day would really like to backpack around the world.

We want to hear from you:
How has bringing a positive attitude to your job helped you?

Joules Sweep the 2014 Deliver Best Practices Competition

(L-R: Chief Operating Officer Bill Muir, Elaine Zhou (Shanghai, China), Executive Vice President of Strategic Planning and Development Joe McGee, Eréndira Landeros (Guadalajara, Mexico), Chief Human Resources Officer Scott Slipy, Amy Shen (Taichung Design, China), Chief Financial Officer Forbes Alexander, Ami Warren (Tiszaujvaros, Hungary).

The 2014 Deliver Best Practices competition came to a close Friday afternoon and it’s no surprise to the thousands of Jabil Joules around the world that all first place winning presenters were females. The women of Jabil are continuously showcasing their talents and this competition was no exception. Of the 32 competitors invited to present their projects at Jabil’s corporate headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida, 11 were females. We will be featuring each individual Joule in the weeks to come but for now, let’s focus on our first place finishers.

Elaine Zhou of Shanghai’s Operational Excellence Team took home the title of first place with their “The Portal Into the Future of Logistics” project.

Ami Warren, representing Tiszaujvaros, won first place for their “Embracing the Art of Collaboration and Communication” project in the Customer Satisfaction category.

In the Human Development category, Amy Shen, or Ms. PPP, as she introduced herself during her presentation of the “‘Good to Great’ Through the PPP Program,” will take the first place trophy back to her team.

Finally, our site in Guadalajara was represented by Eréndira Landeros in the Social & Environmental Responsibility category with their “Functional Food: Improving Employee Health” project.

Come back soon and read in further detail about all 11 impressive Joules competitors.

We’re Diverse, But Are We Inclusive?

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It is well documented that diversity is a key driver of innovation. Some of the most disruptive ideas come from outside the traditional discipline. So, smart organizations rethink recruitment and hiring strategies to get more diversity into their workforces. But just because there are more diverse types of people in seats within the company doesn’t mean that they’re being included in discussions that shape a company’s future. That’s the difference between diversity and inclusion – how can companies ensure they’re doing both?

Diversity and Inclusion

We often hear the word inclusion used in conjunction with diversity, as both are necessary parts of a successful corporation. However, it is important to understand the distinction between the two, in order to truly benefit from your company’s diversity.

“Inclusion is a call to action within the workforce that means actively involving every employee’s ideas, knowledge, perspectives, approaches and styles to maximize business success.”

This is where the rubber meets the road. Diversity without inclusion is useless.

A company can be extensively diverse, but if they are not empowering new ideas and perspectives that their employees offer, diversity becomes a fruitless buzzword.

The imperative then for companies should be to create a culture that isn’t just tolerant of diversity, but also one that opens the floor for all employees to contribute to a corporation’s success. A key driver of this is opening up a corporation’s lines of communication.

“Certain management practices tend to stifle, rather than drive, productivity and innovation. When all decisions are made at the highest levels, for example, lower-level employees might feel like their opinions and ideas are being controlled rather than heard.” —Dan Schawbel, Forbes contributor

Allowing all employees to share ideas regardless of rank or job function develops a greater sense of engagement within the company.  “Inclusion circles” or weekly collaboration meetings across a corporation’s departments and employee levels unlocks ideas that might not otherwise have been shared.

According to Beth Walters, Jabil’s SVP Communications and Investor Relations: “At Jabil, our Deliver Best Practices competition is a great global example of inclusive diversity — teams from all over the world, and at all levels of the company, work together to bring game changing solutions to fruition.”

Diversity, inclusion and collaboration work like a chain reaction. They can all exist separately, but when a corporation puts them together, they become greater as a whole. A corporation that puts them together produces an innovative, creative and ultimately more successful culture.

When it comes to differentiating yourself from competitors, it all comes down to your people. By recruiting for diversity and then empowering idea-sharing throughout the organization, companies tap into people’s passions, ideas, creativity and natural interests. Harness that and you’ll blow the competition away.

We want to hear from you…

Do you have an example of how an inclusive approach to problem-solving made a difference for Jabil or a customer? What are your ideas for improving inclusion? Share your thoughts with us below and keep up with the conversation at JabilCares.