Prairie Business asked questions of several business professionals in the region about their corporate communities, how they go about attracting new talent and what they do to retain employees, among other questions. Here's how Kelsey Roth, vice president of Human Resources at Blue Cross Blue Shield North Dakota, responded to the magazine's questions:

Q: How does Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota generally go about attracting new talent?

A: BCBSND’s vision is a new level of health and well-being in North Dakota and beyond, so we are looking for employees who are ready and excited to contribute to that. Each position we hire is unique, so we have focused our outreach based on the position we are hiring. We utilize our college relationship and internship program to introduce the opportunities that BCBSND has to offer as an opportunity to have them stay in the area. Now that we have stronger capabilities in working remotely, we’ve been expanding our searches, hosting virtual career fairs, and connecting with professional organizations to find the best talent.

Q: What are some recruitment challenges it has noticed, and how has it met those challenges?

A: The competition for talent not only locally, but nationally as well, continues to be fierce. We’ve adapted by utilizing some creative sourcing methods, targeting candidates that may not be traditionally found through a normal LinkedIn search. We are also thinking differently about hiring for skill, which has allowed us to narrow down the type of candidate we are trying to hire specific to that job.

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Q: What is one of the best ways the company has found to retain employees?

A: In 2021, we’ve continued our focus on employee wellbeing as a priority focused on ensuring that our employees have a strong work/life balance, have the right tools for mental health, and encourage physical health. We have spent time teaching our leaders how to support employees through their wellbeing journey. In addition, we are focused on the employee experience from hire to retire through the continuous improvement lens with the goal of ensuring our employees can focus on their jobs and career growth. Transparent communication from the top down is also a priority to ensure employees are well versed in the day-to-day happenings of the company. Lastly, we also offer and encourage teams to participate in local volunteer opportunities, allowing our teams to step away and help the community.

Q: What does the company do that helps employees prepare for leadership roles?

A: As employees move into leadership roles, we have built a New Leader Program that walks through their first year of leadership. The program focuses not only on teaching the tools, but also provides educational opportunities with other new leaders to learn more about what it is like to lead at BCBSND. Each new leader is assigned a mentor who also assists with guiding them as they learn.

Q: In what ways does the organization help employees feel like they are valued and their contributions meaningful?

A: Our focus is to celebrate the wins and learn from our mistakes (and move on). Recognizing and appreciating good work continuously evolves, but a quick “good job” or a “thank you” across all levels of the organization is a constant. We also celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries, retirements, and all of the milestones that happen over the course of time.

Q: What are some steps the company has taken to become more diverse with its workforce?

A: Inclusion and diversity is very important in the work that we do at BCBSND. We’ve recently created a team of employees from across the company who focus on ensuring that employees are able to bring their whole selves to work and are empowered to do their best work. We are also focused on continuous teaching and learning, embracing new ways of thinking and building our community around us.