Best Places spotlight: A 'get-involved' attitude reigns at International Paper

Senior management encourages IT employees to share ideas and take charge.

Employees are front and center at International Paper, a 70,000-person global manufacturing firm, and the 1,060 people in the IT group are no exception.

The Memphis-based company's tech division is known for its "commitment to develop our people," says business analyst Stephen Sloas. He should know: In the three years since he joined International Paper straight out of college, he has received hands-on support from a mentor who coached him in both IT and the corporate culture, and he has been promoted.

Sloas recruits IT employees from the University of Memphis, and he helped expand the onboarding process for new grads to include more stints in business units. "Even if you're new, if you have a good idea and do your research, you won't be shut down," he says.

CIO Robert Wenker encourages IT staffers "get in the game" instead of "yelling from the sidelines." Employees can do that at regular town hall meetings and at "Play to Win" sessions, where they present project ideas directly to Wenker. Staffers also get to meet with their boss's boss or other high-level executives in skip-level meetings.

International Paper
At International Paper, IT employees like Ronald Thomas, Emily Williams (front), Carolyn Jones and Jeremy Bradford are encouraged to "get in the game." (Credit: International Paper)

Next: Spotlight: At HCA, the No. 42 large organization, IT pros gain satisfaction using technology to help patients.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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