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Diverse Customer, Employee Base for Exemplis

Exemplis LLC was founded 27 years ago with a mission of making everything about the customer.

A deeper dive into the inner workings of the maker of ergonomic chairs, furniture and other related products reveal the Cypress-based firm is just as invested in its employees.

Just as the firm counts seven business lines for a diverse customer base—from office tenants to video game players—the company has several different internal umbrellas dedicated to diversifying its employee base and providing resources for employees from disenfranchised or targeted communities, such as people of color, people with lower-income backgrounds or members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“Just like the custom products we create are unique, so are our employees,” Mike Smith, vice president of human resources, said. “We strive to create opportunities for all team members to have equal access to resources while embracing the unique perspectives they bring with them.”

Pride month in June brought several examples to the forefront for Exemplis.

Its bag manufacturing arm, Timbuk2, partners with SF LGBT Center to distribute backpacks, luggage and other consumer bags to youth seeking services there.

Joseph Piazza, Timbuk2’s director of customer experience and site operations, heads Exemplis’ E-Pride Employee Resource Group, which participates in various community events and donates time and resources to support the LGBTQ+ community.

Exemplis also has an employee-led Pride Month advisory committee.

“Pride month gives everyone the opportunity to come together as a community and celebrate who they are,” Piazza said in a statement.

Exemplis has two other employee resource groups: Women Inspiring Success at Exemplis and Sustainability.

The company has been selected for inclusion in the Business Journal’s inaugural Embracing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Special Report.

“Throughout our 27 years in business, we have worked hard to create a foundation where our team members can thrive,” the company said.

Flexibility

Exemplis says its brand, SitOnIt Seating, is the largest office furniture manufacturer in North America, providing build-to-order office products like chairs, tables and ergonomic accessories that ship in as little as two days.

Additional brands include X-Chair office chairs and Mavix gaming chairs, as well as Edloe Finch and Albany Park, which offer modern home furnishings, including build-to-order sofas and other furnishings sold online only.

The firm, which has been based in OC since its inception in 1996 counts TK employees, all hired through a “structured, fair recruiting process” with an in-house talent acquisition team that works with local and national organizations to seek out and build diverse candidate pools.

Employees work in the office on a hybrid basis, with increased flexibility to “attract employees with diverse needs by allowing them to manage their work-life balance more effectively and participate in the workforce with fewer obstacles to their success.”

Some positions are fully remote, which has allowed Exemplis to leverage talent from all communities nationwide.

Events, Grants

The company created a dedicated DE&I internal website as a resource for existing and prospective employees, with an events calendar, training materials and information about the company’s employee resource groups.

DE&I events include a speaker series via video conference. The firm in May hosted Bill Bermingham, executive director of New Vista School in Laguna Hills, in celebration of World Autism Month to learn more about neurodiversity in the workplace.

During Hispanic Heritage Month last year, the company hosted on-site celebrations and shared personal stories from staff contributors as part of the weekly newsletter, with employees sharing recipes, photos and family traditions.

Exemplis provides opportunities for staff throughout the year to contribute time or money to different causes, and the firm regularly awards in-kind and cash grants focused on social justice causes.

As an example, the company matched employee donations to organizations supporting the Turkey/Syria earthquake crisis, the Equal Justice Initiative Fund and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Anaheim-Cypress.

Feedback

Don’t just take Exemplis’ word for it.

The firm has monthly and annual employee engagement surveys to measure the success of these strategies, during which it asks specific inclusion-focused questions.

In the past year, an average of 82% of the staff rated inclusion favorably, including questions like “I feel respected at work” and “diverse perspectives are valued on my team.”
Nearly 90% of employees say, “I am proud to work for this company.”

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