Hyson Products Realizes Strategic Advantage in Their People


“We need to continue to change to be successful,” was the realization reached by Hank Kelm, general manager of Hyson Products, Brecksville, Ohio. Hyson Products is a business of Barnes Group, Inc. (B:NYSE). The company was struggling with change, not only with their product mix, but also their place in the global market, and even technology on the plant floor. Hyson is known worldwide for providing force generation solutions to its customers, and recognized the need to expand outside the traditional tool and die markets, both in its customer base and product offerings.

Realizing the stress that comes with organizational growth, Hyson began using Legacy Business Cultures processes, including Increasing Human Effectiveness (IHE) and Connecting with Respect curriculum. In 2006, the company partnered with Legacy Business Cultures’ Glen Whipple. Glen was hired initially to facilitate a series of workplace development workshops. Almost five years later, Hyson, like the rest of the country, was in the midst of another major change – the recession. Recognizing how key the people side of the business was during this downturn, Hyson enlisted Glen to work with the leadership team in multiple capacities from training to coaching.

Hyson Metal Forming Solutions

About Hyson Products

Hyson is a design and manufacturing company focused on innovation that creates value for their customers. Through their force generating control products, Hyson Products enables companies to collaborate and form standard and advanced metals to offer safer, more reliable products to their markets.

Our Approach

This began a partnership, where Glen facilitated workshops monthly, including IHE and Connecting with Respect. In 2011, Hyson conducted an employee satisfaction survey. While many of the results were positive, they also showed a disconnect between office and plant, with employees feeling they were not part of the business. Having this untapped potential led Kelm to roll out Connecting with Respect to all staff members, not just the senior leadership. That is just how strongly he believed in this process. “Hyson Products did it the right way,” said Glen. “Every associate participated in the Respect curriculum and contributed to the final results.”

In the last months of 2011, all employees completed the Connecting with Respect curriculum in one of five sessions. Each program had a cross section of employees from engineers to machine operators, from hourly workers to salaried employees. At the end of each program, the individual groups developed their own Code of Cooperation – a set of guidelines for employee conduct. Then a member from each team met to create an organization-wide Code of Cooperation. At the February 2012 Communications Meeting, the Code was unveiled. It begins with the statement “We are One Team” and focuses on each employee’s responsibility to be actively engaged in the business and its operations. Each employee signed the document and agreed to be guided by these principles.


All of this added up to give Hyson its best year, not only in financial performance, but in meaningful organizational change that has impacted everyone who works there. This transformation has been spearheaded by Kelm, whose infectious enthusiasm has spread throughout the company and who believes that creating a culture of learning allows all employees to be empowered, to realize their full potential and have fun at the same time.

Hyson is a success story of a small organization that has made a huge impact in their human assets, which in turn supports and advances their goals for the future.

“Having the latest equipment and technology takes us only so far. Our strategic advantage is our people.”

Are you ready to increase your organization’s resiliency, collaboration and effectiveness?

Contact us to learn more about how we can help develop an enduring culture of respect and civility that reduces employee turnover and increases engagement and productivity.