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Engaging Global Employees in DSM USA

Engaging Global Employees in DSM USA

July 17, 2019

Employee engagement can be a challenge for any company. But when employees are scattered across the world, engagement and teambuilding exercises become essential for good corporate culture. 

Global Company Making a Local Impact

One such global company recently took a teambuilding exercise to a new, record-setting level. Headquartered in Greater Des Moines (DSM), Kemin Industries teamed up with the Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity on June 17, 2019, for what is now the largest single-day volunteer event in Des Moines. 

As part of a global conference Kemin hosts every four years, more than 700 Kemin employees from across the world were invited to DSM USA for a week of marketing, sales and scientific meetings. Looking to kick off the week in a way that would encourage employees from various divisions and countries to interact with one another, Kemin worked with Habitat for Humanity to create a teambuilding activity that also provided philanthropic benefits to the Greater Des Moines (DSM) community.  

Safety Glasses and Hard Hats

Taking a break from a day filled with conferences and presentations, Kemin employees were put into small working teams and given safety glasses and hard hats in the parking lot of the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center. Habitat for Humanity staged several numbered stations, each dedicated to a very specific task required to successfully complete outdoor storage sheds that would later be provided to Habitat homeowners. 

Working Together, Across the Globe

Employees from more than 25 countries worked side-by-side to cut, paint, nail, sand and assemble 24 of the storage sheds needed in DSM. Kemin President and CEO, Dr. Chris Nelson, even picked up a saw for the cause, providing instruction to employees who had never used power tools before while making precise cuts for wall supports.

A partnership spanning more than a decade, Kemin employees have donated time and talents to help build homes for low-income, deserving families with Habitat for Humanity since 2001. Recently, prior to the June event, Kemin employees from five continents traveled to Brazil to build cisterns for families in need and to Nepal to re-build village housing infrastructure that was devastated by the 2015 Gorkha earthquake.  

Connecting Across Continents 

By choosing to stray from standard teambuilding activities, Kemin was also able to strengthen a local partnership by providing critical volunteer support and strengthening their corporate charitable giving — a win-win. The event also provided employees with a break from the norm and a mental and physical health boost by being active outdoors. New friendships and connections were formed by employees sharing a common goal from across continents. 


Greater Des Moines (DSM) has one of the best business climates in the country. The region is nationally recognized for having a talented and educated workforce, a cost of doing business 17 percent below the national average, a low cost of living and an exceptional quality of life. 

Shallee Keenan

Shallee Keenan is the global events manager for Kemin Industries in Greater Des Moines (DSM).