Every month Prairie Business asks several regional business leaders a question, and they answer with their perspective and insight.
The question we asked for September is: "In what ways does the company help a new employee understand and contribute to the culture of the organization?”
Below are how four of the region's business leaders responded:
Kari Kiesow, Human Resource manager, TSP Inc., Sioux Falls, S.D.
As employee-owners, we start introducing potential team members to our culture during the interview process. We hold several meet-and-greet sessions with team members throughout the firm, including CEO Jared Nesje.
The majority of the time is spent on our company values, our Vision/Traction Organizer “game plan,” and which roles the prospective team member would play within our organization. We use the Entrepreneurial Operating System to help guide hiring decisions and operations.
As a welcome gift, Jared provides all new team members a copy of “The World’s Most Powerful Leadership Principle” by James C. Hunter. Later, he invites team members to sit down with him to discuss their favorite parts.
That concept carries into how we approach client projects and continually improve our internal processes. Under the EOS structure, our employee-owners have the opportunity to balance working in the business with working on the business.
We look to our team members to identify issues and solutions within their area of responsibility. Each of those discipline groups meets every quarter so team members can pinpoint what is or isn’t working. From there, we discuss how to build on what we’re doing well and solve issues that stem from the things we need to do better.
Scott Borcher, director of Project Management and Service Delivery, Nexus Innovations, Bismarck, N.D.
Our culture is at the core of who we are at Nexus Innovations. Laying the foundation of our culture starts early. A new employee must have an understanding of the importance of culture – that when a team has a shared language around teamwork, dedicates time to understanding and cultivating these behaviors, amazing things happen.
These behaviors – or more precisely the lack of these behaviors – is exactly what inhibits most teams from achieving their full potential.
Continual communication and living out our cultural values is a key component to helping our new employees gain the understanding of our culture. This is accomplished through reviewing our core values and purpose weekly during team meetings.
New employees are able to contribute by participating in meetings internally and with our customers. Intentional time for preparation and follow-up mentoring of these meetings allows for open communication around who we are and how we interact with our team and with our customers.
Establishing our culture through values and purpose with new employees is critical to our success as an organization and vital to maintaining the high trust relationships we have within our team and with our valued customers.
Ilene Baker, VP Human Resource manager, First Western Bank & Trust, Minot, N.D.
Helping employees understand our culture starts when they are job candidates. During the interview process, we talk about our bank; how we value our community and family-orientated culture. We give back to the communities we serve and support each employee and their family.
During orientation, we include a new hire interview. What they share is used in a short article that accompanies their photo on our bank’s intranet. Employees can find others with similar interests, reach out to the new hire and share what they do. This fosters an early connection with the First Western family.
A big part of our culture is giving back to the communities in which we live and serve. The bank’s Outreach Committee organizes volunteering activities and the bank pays for time spent volunteering.
Additionally, employee volunteers have fun earning First Western dollars to spend at the First Western Store. Employees are welcome to include family members when volunteering.
“First Western University” is an important tool, consisting of six sessions presented by employees, that helps new employees understand our culture and bank history.
Fellow employees continually teach by example and the bank provides guidance so new employees can successfully carry on our culture.
Amanda Torok, senior vice president of Culture, Gate City Bank, Fargo, N.D.
Getting to know Gate City Bank’s unique culture begins before the first day of employment, starting with the interview process. New hires are engaged during a two-day orientation at the corporate office, as well as throughout the entire onboarding experience.
These are the moments that matter – where team members know they are valued and connect to our mission of creating a better way of life for customers, communities and one another.
The orientation process involves new team members taking part in face-to-face sessions with multiple Bank leaders, including Kevin Hanson, president and CEO. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn about the Bank’s mission and how the culture drives its decisions while bonding with the innovators who have helped make the Bank a financial leader in its communities.
Additionally, it’s important for everyone who walks through the Bank’s doors to understand that the passion for giving back is everywhere. At Gate City Bank, the commitment to helping the communities where our team members live and work runs deep.
When new team members leave orientation, they’re even equipped with a volunteer shirt in their welcome bag, ready to live out the Bank’s culture and make a difference in the communities they serve. * Member FDIC