Who are the Pickle People at Mt. Olive Pickle Company?
They are men and women, black, white and Hispanic.
Most speak English, a growing number speak Spanish, and a few use American Sign Language.
Just 20 years ago, almost every Mt. Olive employee was born in America, and most were born in the surrounding community. But the influx of Hispanic families to Eastern North Carolina is changing the face of Mt. Olive Pickle Company’s workforce. As a result, approximately 20 percent of our year-round employees are Hispanic, about 50 percent are African-American, and about 30 percent are white. We have workers from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Germany. We employ approximately 500 people year-round. About 55 percent of them are men, and 45 percent are women.
Here at Mt. Olive Pickle Company, our employees enjoy pay and benefits without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age or national origin. Our jobs are analyzed with a point-factor system so we can compare dissimilar jobs and fairly evaluate their relative value to the company. We look at what the job requires, not who does the job. We hire and promote the best people we can find, and once we find them, we work hard to keep them.
We pay competitive wages, and all of our regular employees enjoy an excellent array of employee benefits, which cost the company an additional 38 percent of its payroll. Our benefits package includes free health and life insurance, as well as group dental, short-term disability and additional life insurance. A prized benefit is the company’s profit sharing plan, one of the first 200 such programs in the country when it was started in 1943.
Our full-time nurse operates an Employee Wellness Program that provides a wide variety of free medical and wellness services. Our employees receive paid breaks, paid holidays, paid vacations, Christmas bonuses, bereavement pay and jury duty pay. We offer a tuition reimbursement program for employees who want to take work-related college courses or work towards a degree. We also work hard to provide a safe and attractive workplace. We employ a full-time safety officer and utilize an employee safety committee. In addition, we conduct a confidential survey of our employees every two years to gauge their satisfaction in a number of areas.
For our Hispanic employees, we hire bilingual clerks in Human Resources, we provide benefit information and all other printed materials in Spanish, we have translators available for meetings, and we offer free English as a Second Language courses on site as needed.
Each summer, during the peak cucumber intake season, we hire over 300 seasonal workers. About 20 percent of these workers are Hispanic. Seasonal workers are eligible for certain limited employee benefits, and many of our regular employees started out with us in seasonal jobs.
As Mt. Olive grows, so does the opportunity for people to be hired and to move up within the company. Our employment practices are based on the objective of maintaining a competent, enthusiastic and efficient organization of people who work well together to make our business successful and profitable.
Our statistics bear that out. We have an outstanding safety record, with a rate of incidents less than one-quarter of the state average industry rate. The average length of employee service is over six years, and our turnover rate is quite low. At the same time, we’re the second-leading brand of shelf-stable pickles in the country, and we’ve seen average annual double-digit sales growth over the past decade.
Who are the Pickle People at Mt. Olive?
They are the single best ingredient behind every jar of pickles, peppers and relishes we make.