When they hear the words “Bausch + Lomb,” people associate it with one thing: eyes. Whether it’s contact lenses, over-the-counter eye drops or prescription medications for the eye, millions of people around the globe rely daily on the multitude of vision products from this company in Tampa, FL. Bausch + Lomb is one of the ten finalists for the Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence (SMBE) Awards program, they manufacture an array of eye health, optic and nasal products found at practically every local grocery or drug store. LUMIFY® eye drops (redness reliever), Soothe® XP eye drops (for dry eyes), Opcon-A® antihistamine and redness reliever eye drops, and Alaway® antihistamine eye drops (eye itch and allergy relief) are just a few examples of the products made at the Tampa facility.
“In addition to our over-the-counter products, we make prescription pharmaceuticals for the eye that are sterile,” says Nicole Ferrari, Director of Engineering for Bausch + Lomb’s Tampa plant. “Because these products are sterile, they’re made to the same stringent standard as an injectable for the body. Many people in Florida might not know these incredibly vital products are made right here in the Tampa Bay area,” says Ferrari. “In fact, at the Tampa plant, we make millions of units of products a year that are shipped and distributed throughout the world.”
Best Practices: Employee Focus
With hundreds of employees, focusing on the development of such a large staff is key. Bausch + Lomb ‘s leadership has a vibrant and rich employee engagement experience that focuses not just on developing employees as leaders, but also on their health and well-being.
“Bausch + Lomb has a strong focus on their employees, both from a work perspective and personally,” says Paula DeLuca, Florida Makes Business Advisor. “This is evident through their wellness program for employees, their product discounts and a number of other programs geared specifically toward their employees. It is also important to the leadership of the company that everyone understands how the products are manufactured.”
“Bausch + Lomb believes that in order to enhance an employee’s experience, and in order to retain our highly skilled and talented staff, it’s really important that we create ways to develop our employees, prepare them for the next level and also foster well-being.”
Bausch + Lomb’s corporate leadership empowered its local management to explore creative ways to carry out employee health and well-being programs. Some of those efforts include onsite classes like yoga and stress management.
“Our products are really a testament to our workforce, and when our nation really had to adapt to the challenges brought about by COVID-19, we took every precaution to ensure our employees were working as safely as possible, particularly our manufacturing employees who came in daily.
Patients around the world rely on our products, and Bausch + Lomb has worked hard to maintain its order fulfillment rate. Having these kinds of health and well-being programs already in place was really important, especially during critical times,” said Ferrari.
Another integral component of Bausch + Lomb’s employee-focused efforts include a café to provide diverse food options for their workforce.
“Our facility is running seven days a week, with three shifts, so it’s difficult to find a catering company that can accommodate such a busy, around-the-clock environment. Bausch + Lomb launched a café that utilizes a variety of rotating vendors offering healthy options,” said Ferrari. “We also have a grab-and-go store on-site where employees can pick-up fresh and healthy foods without having to leave the facility.”
Bausch + Lomb also subsidizes its on-site food options to keep the cost of meals economical for employees.
Bausch + Lomb in the Community
Within the past year employees from the Tampa facility collaborated with Hope Children’s Home, sponsoring 40 children for the holidays. Employees also participated in the United Way Suncoast Day of Caring by taking a day to partner and volunteer with the local Metropolitan Ministries. Additionally, employees and family members volunteered their time to Feeding America of Tampa Bay. Dora Arroyo, Human Resources Manager and retired U.S. Army veteran, also solidified the relationship with the U.S. Army Partnership for Youth Success Program, which is a program that assists with Bausch + Lomb’s veteran outreach while guaranteeing employment interviews for recently separated soldiers.
The Awards Process
“Having been a previous finalist, we’ve been through the awards process before,” recalls Ferrari. “We were excited to be a part of this again. Being a part of the larger manufacturing community is really rewarding. We’re proud of what we do here, so the chance to foster relationships is immense. We’ve expanded our community service endeavors and strengthened our relationships with the local universities and schools. This has resulted in great interns who have gone on to become employees and leaders within the company.”
To other companies who want to emulate Bausch + Lomb’s employee focus, which garnered notice from the SMBE team of examiners:
“Empower your leaders and managers to implement their ideas,” says Ferrari. “Here at Bausch + Lomb, we began with brainstorming ways we wanted to serve our workforce. Talk to your employees and take those thoughts to your leadership team. Knowing your employees in terms of what they want for their growth as an employee, but also their health and well-being goes a long way with them. It’s all about the vision you have for your company and your employees.”
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