A consortium of business leaders from throughout Northwest Indiana had the opportunity to learn from two businesses that have been named the “Best Place to Work in Indiana.” Their success does not come without a focus on creating, building, and maintaining a strong company culture. The strategy and execution behind those efforts were communicated with business leaders throughout Northwest Indiana at “Break Through!” a free seminar hosted at Centier Bank’s Corporate Centre on Wednesday.
Chrisanne Christ, Senior Partner in Human Resource Development at Centier Bank spoke along with Craig Menne, President of General Insurance Services, making a case that by building a strong company culture, organizations can see effective results that will positively impact their bottom lines. Both Centier Bank and General Insurance Services are repeated honorees of the “Best Places to Work in Indiana” designation from the Best Companies Group, a testament to the focus and dedication both companies share in terms of creating a culture that actually impacts a company’s productivity.
For companies looking to begin, Christ suggested focusing on small steps to building culture, improving on processes already in place and putting a focus on retaining people already on the team.
“It is so important to learn what is important to your employees, how they would define your current culture, then develop a plan around those needs,” explained Christ. “Needs change over time, so you have to implement a consistent tool to receive regular, honest feedback from them. Also, learn from other businesses that have great cultures. Sharing best practices makes us a stronger community!”
Christ also noted that employees of companies that exhibit a strong culture work harder, are more efficient, and take pride in their work, leading to less discipline, less turnover, and reduced administrative costs.
Menne encourages all of his employees to be leaders by representing the brand and acting as ambassadors for what his company is trying to accomplish. He shared practices he and his team employ to help build morale and define their unique company culture.
“Everyone in our organization has a flip book on their desk with our 33 fundamentals, and every Monday morning, I send out an email about this week’s fundamental and how we can apply that to a situation we know is ahead of us or how we can use it to learn from something that just happened,” explained Menne. “These fundamentals are aligned with our values, our short-term strategy, and our long-term strategy.
The two, along with Centier Bank Vice President of Community Relations and Business Development Anthony Contrucci, also fielded questions from the audience in regards to self-evaluation, additional educational resources, and when to distinguish if clients and customers don’t adopt the same value system as your business.
“The response we have received from the community has been humbling. I often say, “just because you build it doesn’t always mean they come,” said Contrucci. “The support, attendance, and feedback have been incredible. And we have been blessed with wonderful speakers. Those who truly understand the concept of Break Through can take complex subjects and make them both fun and easy to digest. We are pleased that we have been able to produce content that appears to be making a real difference in our community.”
The seminar is the third in a four-part series hosted by Centier Bank and the Times of Northwest Indiana. The final Break Through will take place on March 14, 2018, entitled “Succession or Sell? What you need to know, but no one wants to talk about,” and will focus on business owners looking to form a succession plan as they phase into retirement.