Shop-Floor Perspective:

Keeping People

Safe and Happy

Mark Stanley praises Magna’s “great job with communications” during the COVID-19 crisis, everything from the Smart Start playbook that spelled out safety protocols and processes to a personal Facebook page that featured Karmax employees and their dogs.

“During the shutdown, Jim Heffron, the Karmax HR rep, asked people to share pictures of themselves at home with their dogs,” said Stanley, an assistant line leader at the Cosma plant in Milton, Ontario. “It was another way for us to keep in touch with each other. I posted pictures of my dogs Rosie and Duke. You got a look into people’s personal lives, and it broke up the monotony of watching the bad news on TV.

Mark stanley, assistant line leader at the Cosma plant in Milton, Ontario

“Our HR department sent us a step-by-step guide for applying for unemployment benefits in Canada,” said Stanley. “And Magna continued to pay us for a full two weeks while we were waiting for government assistance, and kept our benefits going the entire time during the shutdown. I’m a diabetic, and that was a huge relief for me. I had to refill my insulin prescriptions and my coverage continued. Magna took care of us so our families wouldn’t suffer.”

Stanley spent the down time helping his wife Courtney, a small business owner who runs a freeze-dried food company called 70 Below Treats. He spent lots of time with his kids, daughter Payton, 3, and son Maxwell, 1.

But he was eager to return to the job he’s held for six years. His father Geoff Stanley, a Karmax department leader of Press Shop 2 and the Tooling department, encouraged his son to join Magna because of the opportunities to grow and the ability to be heard.

It’s a fatherly bit of advice that was brought home once again after the restart.

“Management is 100 percent open to suggestions for keeping everybody safe,” Stanley said. “I suggested that in addition to self-screening every day that we do random temperature checks. The idea was adopted the next day. Now, I tell everybody on my team ‘If you have a concern or an idea,’ pass it on.’ They will listen.”

Customized Karmax communication also included a special “welcome back” video put together by the plant’s lean manufacturing team.

“One of my good friends narrated the entire video,” said Stanley, who oversees 12 to 16 shop- floor employees per shift. “Our safety coordinator and our Employee Advocate were in it. It was great to have a specific video for our plant. And it was very professional. We make car parts, but those people could have a career in movie production.”

Those lighthearted moments took the edge off of an uncertain and anxious time. But there were plenty of serious messages during the nine-week shutdown.