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Maryland MEP's HR Peer Group - Supporting Manufacturing through Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing

With the help of: Maryland MEP


For over 100 years, Saft’s longer-lasting batteries and systems have provided critical safety applications, back-up power and propulsion for their customers. As a leading battery company, Saft’s innovative, safe, and reliable technology delivers high performance on land, at sea, in the air, and in space. Saft, located in Cockeysville, Maryland, is a wholly owned subsidiary of TotalEnergies, a broad energy company that produces and markets energies on a global scale: oil and biofuels, natural gas and green gases, renewables and electricity.

The Challenge

A global pandemic, technology advancements and new regulations left many businesses, and their human resources departments, with a lot of unknowns. Since 2020, the labor force participation has continued to decline, new policies and health initiatives have been introduced and employees have started to feel differently about how and when they work. To address these challenges, Maryland MEP, part of the MEP National Network™, created an HR Peer Group with human resource directors from around the state to provide support and guidance to address today’s toughest workforce challenges.

The Maryland MEP HR Peer Group has been most impactful to me as the HR Manager of a manufacturing facility in the Hunt Valley, Maryland. In March of 2020, the COVID pandemic began to shut down businesses within the Maryland area. Given the nature of our product and the support our products provide to the US military, slowing down or stopping production was not an option. Instead, we had to maintain the status quo in an environment where people had to continue to work in close proximity, despite apprehension and the mixed messages they were receiving from society at large. As you can well imagine, HR and Safety professionals were on the front line trying to support their employers and their co-workers.

Having the resources of a group of HR peers from companies similarly situated, provided the opportunity to share best safety and work practices during this very challenging time. I am most appreciative of the opportunity Maryland MEP provided during those days and the days since then – it has been of tremendous value.

— Sallie Kilbourne-Reed , HR Manager

MEP's Role

Maryland MEP launched the HR Peer Group to support manufacturers in managing an exceptional degree of complexity and risk related to managing human resources and all aspects of talent acquisition, employee development and transition to meet business needs. The HR Peer Group provided Saft's HR leadership with the ability to network, learn and share best practices with other manufacturing HR professionals. Saft participated in eight interactive sessions, each one led by a new industry expert and including discussions around recruitment, employee assessments and skill inventories, attendance policies and flexibility, compliance and legal challenges facing employers, HR tools, driving peer-to-peer engagement, leadership development and company culture.
Created January 30, 2024