What You Should Know
Silver Star Brands employees enjoy a casual dress code and a friendly and welcoming atmosphere where managers know their names. The day often begins around the free coffee bar where colleagues share hot beverages and conversation. A “Sunshine Committee” also helps lift spirits at this direct marketing company by organizing events like movie nights and Popcorn Day. Health and wellness is important to the company, which offers onsite medical care for staffers and their spouses; classes for smoking cessation, weight management and fitness; and twice-a-month visits from their employee assistance program representative for onsite sessions. A healthy work-life balance is supported with flexible hours but those expecting large paychecks or flashy benefits may want to consider other options. "Management knows your name and will say hello,” says one employee. “It makes you feel as if you matter and are not just a number.”
WHAT THEY DO
Silver Star is one of the largest direct marketers of consumer gifts. They use catalogs and Internet channels to sell household items. Some of their products include items for the home, beauty products, cookware and candy.
||US Headquarters: Oshkosh, Wisconsin
|US Sites: 1
||Major Locations: Oshkosh, Wisconsin
|Stock Symbol: BTH
||US Employees: 529
|US revenues: $143 million
|Industry: Advertising & Marketing
How much responsibility would I have? What kind of support is there for professional development?
Great Rated! conducted an anonymous survey of randomly selected employees to assess the quality of the workplace challenges the company provides. At Silver Star, 58 percent of employees report the company often or almost always provides needed training, fair promotions and personally challenging work. Another 29 percent report the company sometimes provides these opportunities, for a combined positive rating from 87 percent of employees in the Great Challenges category.
Silver Star employees sell household items along with other consumer gifts. The company has approximately 529 employees in the United States, who operate from two buildings -- the company's administrative and call center office and its fulfillment warehouse.
Most employees (68 percent) say they carry a lot of responsibility in the organization, and almost as many (67 percent) also say that managers trust them to carry out these responsibilities without micromanaging them.
At Silver Star, 60 percent of employees feel they receive the training and development they need to further their careers.
Supporting Employee Development
- College Tuition Reimbursement: $5,400
- Average annual training for part-time hourly employees: 8 hours
- Average annual training for full-time salaried employees: 8 hours
- Silver Star has annual performance development planning meetings for all employees. Employees set short-term and long-term goals, which they reflect on with management yearly. Employees use a career and organization chart to track their career growth within their departments.
The transition from catalog company to digital - exciting times. Use of consultants adds to the educational benefit.
What would my colleagues be like? How do people have fun? How formal a workplace is it?
At Silver Star, 56 percent of employees say they often or almost always enjoy their colleagues and find their workplace to be fun and cooperative. Another 29 percent sometimes benefits from these qualities, for a combined positive rating from 85 percent of employees in the Great Atmosphere category.
Fun and Celebrations
- The Sunshine Committee organizes company events throughout the year. Activities include sports events, cook-offs and movie nights. They also arrange for free treats like popcorn on Popcorn Day.
- Each department celebrates birthdays, career milestones and other events in their own way, like gift grab bags or team lunches. Departments also hold contests with various themes, like best attendance or fewest errors. In addition, employees celebrate work anniversaries during the annual Team Member Appreciation Day, which features a softball game between two locations and contests and games. The theme of the event changes yearly. This year there is a luau theme.
Caring and Support
- Employees treat each other like family, and come together to support one another in times of crisis. Employees send cards, visit one another and make monetary donations to the family in need.
People celebrate special events around here.
I love my team and the people I work with every day. We have fun taking care of customers and moving the business forward.
What kind of perks and benefits are part of the employment package? What is the work-life balance like? Does the company appreciate hard work?
At Silver Star, 48 percent of employees often or almost always find the company compensates them fairly, provides special and unique benefits, supports their work-life balance and shows genuine appreciation for their contributions. Another 31 percent reports they sometimes receive these benefits as well, for a combined positive rating from 79 percent of employees in the Great Rewards category.
They offer a variety of benefits, and they are generous with their PTO. I was given 15 days in my first year. We can dress casually every day. They offer great repay benefits for going to school.
COMPENSATION BY THE NUMBERS
| $24,900 Average wage for Fulfilment
|| $19,000 Average wage for Call Center
| $68,800 Average salary and additional cash compensation for Manager
|| 100% 401(k) match of employee's salary, up to 1% of an employee's contribution; 50% match on the next 5%
| 68% Company-paid health coverage for employees
|| 68% Company-paid health coverage for dependents
PERKS TO MAKE LIFE EASIER
- Free snacks during the day
- Discount ticket sales
- Onsite health coaching and nutritional classes
- Onsite package/mailing service
- Fitness classes
WORK-LIFE BALANCE BY THE NUMBERS
| 9 days Holiday & 15 paid time off days for your first 1 - 5 years of employment
|| 84 days Job protected leave maternity provided above and beyond FMLA
| 3 days Paid parental leave
WORK-LIFE BALANCE PROGRAMS
I am able to take time off from work when I think it's necessary.
People are encouraged to balance their work life and their personal life.
The call center has very flexible scheduling options which is a huge benefit to our team members.
HEALTH INSURANCE COVERS
- Dental care
- Prescription drug subsidy
- Vision care
- Mental health care
ONSITE HEALTH BENEFITS
- Cholesterol tests
- Flu shots
- Subsidized offsite gym memberships
- Blood pressure screening
- Complete biometric screening
What inspires employees' company spirit here? Do people stand by their teams' work? What impact do people have outside the organization?
At Silver Star, 58 percent of employees report that they often or almost always carry meaningful responsibilities within the organization and are proud of their accomplishments, community impact and the company's reputation in the world. Another 29 percent report that they sometimes experience this pride as well, for a combined positive rating from 87 percent of employees in the Great Pride category.
Silver Star catalogs and Internet channels reach more than 120 million households. The firm is one of America’s largest direct marketers of consumer gifts and household products, and processes five million orders annually.
I'm proud to tell others I work here.
This company has a unique origin story and is extremely involved in the surrounding communities, which makes me feel really good about the work I do.
Supporting the Community
- Silver Star donated approximately $95,000 to charities such as United Way, the Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA, the Christie Ann Domestic Abuse Home and the local zoo.
- Silver Star also donates money for scholarships to a local college and is helping to build an alumni and welcome center.
I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community.
What's unique/unusual is the community involvement. The company is a sponsor in many community events, as well as encouraging team members to get involved in community activities and volunteer opportunities.
How easy is it to talk with managers and get the information I need? Will managers listen to my input?
At Silver Star, 57 percent of employees say they often or almost always experience a free and transparent exchange of ideas and information within the organization. Another 27 percent sometimes has this experience as well, for a combined positive rating from 84 percent of employees in the Great Communication category.
Many employees (67 percent) describe management as approachable and easy to talk with, 62 percent report that management makes its expectations clear and six out of 10 employees believe they can ask management any reasonable question and get a straight answer.
With a flat organizational structure, all team members have access to all executives in the company when needed.
What are managers' leadership strengths?
At Silver Star, 54 percent of employees say their managers often or almost always act with integrity and care, are competent in their positions and provide clear directions and vision for the organization. Another 29 percent say their managers sometimes display these characteristics, for a combined positive rating from 83 percent of employees in the Great Bosses category.
Silver Star employees widely appreciate the friendly and welcoming atmosphere that leaders support. Most employees (70 percent) describe managers who are honest and ethical in their business practices, and 63 percent believe leaders are competent at running the business.
For the most part, employees are given a voice. I think management understands that we are on the front lines and they respect our opinions about processes or other key department- or job-related issues.
Great Perks and Programs
- Casual Dress Code: The casual dress code for all Silver Star employees encourages staff to be comfortable and productive.
- Onsite Medical Care: At Silver Star, there is an onsite nurse, physical therapist and health coach available to all workers. The onsite medical care is for team members and their spouses and can be used to address non-work-related health concerns.
- Sunshine Committee: The committee is responsible for acknowledging and celebrating all significant life events at Silver Star. Whether it is marriage, having a baby or an anniversary, all employees get a signed card as well as a gift certificate of $25.
- Coffee Bar: There is a free coffee bar that serves coffee, tea and hot chocolate to all employees. Food is also served at the annual Team Member Appreciation Day which takes place at a park.
- P.R.I.D.E. Award: This program allows any team member to nominate any other team member for their hard work. Prizes in the past include company-branded drink holders, umbrellas and backpacks. Members are also eligible for a gift certificate ranging from $10 to $100.
Great Rated! collected feedback from Silver Star employees via an anonymous survey. Following are common reasons employees said they appreciate their workplace.
"It cares about the employees and does as much to celebrate them as it can."
"Management knows your name and will say hello. When they see you, they will stop and ask how you are doing. It makes you feel as if you matter and are not just a number."
"Many managers are extremely flexible in work schedules. If ever I have a personal issue that I need to attend to, I am almost always given the chance to flex my hours so that I can do what I need to do, but still get my work done and my hours in. It also works in reverse, when work loads demand, I will put in the hours when needed, and then be told to take some time off to compensate."
"I love that I'm given the opportunity to be as independent as I choose with minimal supervision, but still expected to perform my tasks well."
"This company is very big on getting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. They have 'lunch n' learns' with topics about eating better, exercising, quitting smoking, etc. I find their push to being healthy makes this a really great place to work."
"As a company we often strive to promote within, and generally are focused on career development."
"We have a very supportive wellness culture, including receiving up to $700 incentive back (team member and spouse each) for healthy living, and many wellness initiatives throughout the year. This shows we care about team members and their family's health and well-being."
"The schedules here are fairly flexible. I am able to set my available hours to what works for me and am not scheduled outside of that availability."
"Employees are given the opportunity to grow and learn by making suggestions and implementing them. You do not have to work solely within the confines of your current position."
"What's unique/unusual is the opportunities we are given to grow and be promoted to other positions. Also, the rewards we are given for doing a great job."
"This is a company that does a good job of hiring from within and giving people opportunities to move up."
"I feel that the work that we do makes us unique. It's a great place to work because it is a fun and creative work environment that gives you specific opportunity to advance within the company, as well as help to improve the quality of work. You have opportunities to give ideas you have for new products or even just ways to improve existing ones. I love my job here. "
How to Get Hired
We asked Silver Star for some inside information on how to get hired at the organization. Here is what they had to say.
What key characteristics tell you a prospective employee will be a great fit for your company?
Drive, initiative, creativity, innovation, team spirit, strong communication, desire to challenge the status quo and do more, motivated! Strong desire to learn, grow, try new things, learn from successes and failures. Humility. We use a 360 interview process and ask behavior-based questions which help us understand how they have behaved/reacted in the past to various situations. For exempt level, we have them take a personality assessment which gives us insight into how they prefer to work or what their tendencies are.
What can prospective employees do to get your attention?
We tend to pay attention to someone who has a very crisp, clear, easy-to-read resume and who has really highlighted their skills and experience. And they present themselves, through any method, in a polite, professional manner. Enthusiasm, integrity, trust, customer focus and willingness to learn are traits that we look for.
Each manager tries to build a talent network, so that as openings become available, they can reach out to those potential candidates and let them know we have openings.
Are there any unusual or especially rigorous steps of your hiring process that candidates should be aware of?
For exempt or full time positions, we do a 360 interview approach. Candidates go through a phone interview with HR, and depending on the technical requirements, may also go through a technical phone interview. Then if brought on site, they will meet with a cross functional team which usually includes peers, leaders and internal customers. This process can take 2 – 5 hours to complete. Once done, the team meets to give the hiring manager feedback on all candidates, which allows them to make the best hiring decision.
For our part-time/seasonal interviews, candidates will meet with HR first and then will meet with a team leader for a tour and interview. For our customer service positions, they will also do a phone interview, which enables us to assess their phone skills and presence. By having the team leader involved in the process and making the ultimate decision of who to add to the team, they build trust and allow them to choose the best fits for their teams.
Are there any positions or types of candidates you are particularly focused on hiring in this coming year?
We are always looking for people in marketing, merchandising, e-commerce, IT and call center representatives.
What should interested candidates do to find out more and get started?
Interested candidates should look at our web pages. We have a web page http://www.silverstarbrands.com/, we also have pages on LinkedIn, Facebook and several videos posted to Youtube.
|41Average number of applicants per opening
||15%Total voluntary turnover in past year
|1977Applicants in past year
||628Openings in past year
|5%New hires by employee referrals
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