He thought it might be hard to recruit without the Bayer name, but Covestro still gets calls where people say that they’d like to work at the company, after they met the employees who were volunteering, out there carrying the Covestro name.
“We use a saying at Covestro, we say: diversity is our strength, inclusion is our commitment and innovation is our direction. That makes up what we want to be,” he says.
It all starts with the workforce, which still delivered strong business results throughout the transition.
“I tell them all the time at a town hall, ‘Keep doing what you do best; deliver results’ — and they do. No matter what they’re faced with, they voice it; they go back to work,” MacCleary says. “It’s something that I applaud all of them (for). I have so much respect for all the employees here that continued doing that year in, year out for this region.”
Not only has Covestro added social mixers to help employees connect, it was named a best place to work in 2016. While Covestro had never participated in these competitions in the past, an 84 percent response rate from the 750 Pittsburgh employees was encouraging to MacCleary, who welcomed even constructive criticism.
“That’s something that we take some pride in, it gives us a little feedback that we’re making progress,” he says. “Now, of course, we have to sustain that momentum.”
But he believes if the employees are happy, they’ll be ambassadors and continue to build the culture.
“We’re heading in the right direction. We’ve just got to make sure we keep working on this and never get complacent,” MacCleary says.
- Physical changes can spark mental ones.
- Engaged employees are the best brand ambassadors.
- First, listen and be transparent; then trust will come.
The MacCleary File:
Name: Jerry MacCleary
Company: Covestro LLC
Education: Bachelor’s in accounting, West Virginia University
What was your first job and what did you learn from it? I took on my first job in seventh grade, working as a golf caddy for a local country club. This meant jogging around the course weighed down by two large, heavy golf bags. In that sense, I learned the value of hard work and perseverance. But I really credit that job for helping me to build strong interpersonal skills. When you’re a seventh grader talking to people at a country club, your success is strongly linked to your social intelligence.
What other business leader do you most admire and why? That’s a tough question to answer because there are a number of leaders I admire for different reasons. Close to home, I think of Tom Usher, Tom O’Brien and Jim Rohr — all of whom led major companies through transformative periods while also driving Pittsburgh’s latest renaissance. They were insightful executives who knew how to get things done.
Of course, you can’t talk about Pittsburgh’s influencers without acknowledging the Hillmans and the Rooneys — civic leaders and philanthropists whose legacies will shape this region for years to come. They taught us the importance of giving back … in a quiet, unpretentious way.
You’re on several nonprofit boards. Where do you see the biggest change in this sector? Our region is fortunate to have so many nonprofit organizations. That’s what makes this city so special. The challenge I see today is the pool of financial supporters is dwindling, as some major contributors to these nonprofits prepare for retirement and move away.
We have an opportunity now to engage the next generation in giving back — not only in terms of their time and talent, but also from a financial perspective. Happily, what we’re seeing through our work at the Covestro Institute for Engagement is that the next generation is passionate about finding purpose in the community, and I’m confident the donor base will grow.
What advice would you give yourself, if you went back to the beginning of your career?
I would strive for a greater work/life balance. I was always taught to work hard and give my best. That philosophy has earned me a long and rewarding career, but also a very demanding one. I’ve been fortunate to have a family that was both understanding and encouraging, but there were some important milestones I missed as my kids were growing up — and you don’t ever get that time back.