The Human Side of Human Resources

The ladies of Integrated Manufacturing & Assembly: Shakina Murphy, Jacqueline Daniels and Terrena Long.
The ladies of Integrated Manufacturing & Assembly: Shakina Murphy, Jacqueline Daniels and Terrena Long.

Middle class America’s frightening secret is out--if an emergency strikes (i.e., a surprise car repair) most wouldn’t have $500 on-hand to handle it.

It can be assumed that working class Americans are even more vulnerable to financial emergencies--and not having dependable transportation can ultimately result in job loss.

That is, unless, the worker has access to a human resources department that specializes in removing the real-life difficulties that can interfere with job productivity.

At Integrated Manufacturing & Assembly (IMA), a leading supplier of automotive seating systems and seat subassemblies for a variety of vehicle manufacturers, workers have access to an on-site counselor that assists with financial emergencies--confidentially.

“We implemented the Employee Resource Network program a year ago at our Detroit location,” states Integrated Manufacturing & Assembly Human Resources Director Jacqueline Daniels. “And we have an on-site counselor to help them with housing, transportation, utilities, and food. We step in to help the whole person, and not just focus on them as an employee.”

As you can imagine, since the program launched, company-wide absenteeism is down; and morale has soared.

“They see that we do care about them as a whole person, and we’re constantly looking at ways to help them,” says Daniels. “We also have the Detroit Employment Solution program to help our employees with financial management and taking accountability at work.” (IMA employees can take part in a six-week training program, and they are compensated for their time).

Shakina Murphy.
Shakina Murphy.

That’s the other side of IMA’s human resources philosophy--the company is committed to providing opportunities to the surrounding community.

“IMA gave me a second chance,” says Shakina Murphy, a Production Operator and mother of seven. “Before this, I was a stay-at-home mom, and I wasn’t doing anything.”

Terrena Long.
Terrena Long.

Murphy, and fellow production operator Terrena Long applied for their jobs through the Michigan Works program. “This is the longest, in a long time, that I’ve kept a job under my belt,” Murphy beams. “I’m proud of myself.”

Long says that it’s important for her son to see her being productive. “I’m glad that IMA is giving back to the people,” Long says.

Years ago, the outlook was grim for the single mom: “For five years straight, I didn’t have a job...and it was hard to provide. I had a little boy at the time, and I wanted to work so that he could be proud and see me getting up everyday, going to work and doing something,” Long recalls.

Suddenly, Long flashes a huge smile: “He sees that now.”

Click here to find your dream job with IMA.

Note: This is part two of my three-part series on working in Detroit. I was not compensated, it’s just a blog. :)

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