Many of ChemSpec's early employees were relatives of Moreland, as his son, three sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law were all involved in the business shortly after he took a controlling interest. Over the last 20 years, that ratio has shifted with practically all new hires coming from outside the family, many of whom have years of industry experience.
While staff turnover remains low, ChemSpec has experienced the impact of a tight labor market when hiring for open positions. Backfilling of key or entry level positions is hard because of the industry and/or sales requirements many of the positions have. "It takes a couple of years to really understand the market if you never worked in (the rubber industry) before," Moreland said.
ChemSpec collaborates with headhunters, but has experienced recent success turning some contract positions into full-time roles. Part of that approach requires Moreland and his fellow leaders to develop employees, giving them responsibilities rather than tasks. He strongly believes that every team member needs to be challenged with decision-making responsibilities, which requires them to be more engaged in the business.
"It's important for our team to know lead times, trends and competitor process," Moreland said. "We always look to empower them to make informed decisions."
To ensure that, ChemSpec places a prominent level of importance on every position, from customer service to machining and sales. Any customer-facing position has the ability to provide a long-lasting first impression, something that Moreland never forgets. While he plans to work for a few more years, he is looking forward to seeing his younger colleagues take even more critical roles in strategic decisions.
"We always talk to the team about the importance of their roles and how they feel they are doing in their job," Moreland said. "Without our employees, we never would have made it this far."