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Company culture is paramount

Prairie Business editor's note for September 2022.

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Earlier this year my company held a culture event. We all gathered for dinner and a movie at a local theater. We watched the Ron Howard flick “The Paper,” a film about the journalism industry in the early 1990s. We all chuckled at the antics portrayed in a newsroom that now seems so far removed from today’s news organizations. While the work of newsgathering is the same, the tools to put out a daily newspaper – or monthly magazine – have changed over the years.

What’s a darkroom, for instance?

Funny movie aside, our team had fun together. We had good conversation and food, pleasant camaraderie, and shared stories and laughs. It’s the kind of activity – gathering outside of a work function – that helps members feel like they are part of a team and are appreciated for the work they do on a daily basis. It offers a time to connect on a more personal level, to deepen friendships.

Culture at any company is important and is one of the things that make a place of business a great place to work. Of course, culture involves more than activities and is, in fact, the crust that holds the bread together.

In this issue of Prairie Business, we feature 50 of those places that seem to be doing culture right – the 50 Best Places to Work in 2022. Some of the companies listed in the following pages have been here before – several in consecutive years – while a few are new to the list.

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What makes these companies stand out? The employees say it best:

A nomination for Enclave in West Fargo, North Dakota: “Enclave has a number of company outings and lunches that allow everyone the freedom of coming together outside of the work place. … I get the opportunity to grow and learn more about what I'm passionate about. I feel safe in speaking up and asking for what I want and where I want to go professionally. And more than that, I feel like I'm being heard when I say it.”

From an employee at TSP Inc. in Sioux Falls, South Dakota: “The TSP family are partners in work. We have built a culture of respect and accountability. Each member wants to do their best and encourage the best out of everyone else.”

And a nomination for Arvig in Perham, Minnesota: “They put employees first, including employee ownership. … They always look for efficiencies in making duties easier for employees. … They offer service awards and recognition bonuses. With the constant advancements, employees are always learning. They offer classes for free and the option for class reimbursements. They offer levels to most positions to increase salaries and match market conditions.”

Prairie Business had nearly 1,700 nominations this year, employees sharing their views and insights about their places of employment.

How companies treat their employees, clients, and business partners – including the media – goes a long way in describing the culture of a business. So does how a company helps its employees grow, the offerings it provides for a healthy work-life balance, and the benefits it offers – all important factors in the success and wellbeing of a company and its employees; things that make employees want to stay long term.

Yes, culture is paramount because it encompasses so much.

What is your company’s culture like? If you struggle at all in that regard, take a peek at the following businesses to learn some good traits to adopt.

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A lesson for all of us: Keep doing what we’re doing right, and learn ways to improve where needed.

Congratulations to this year’s 50 Best!

Andrew Weeks
Andrew Weeks

Andrew Weeks is an award-winning journalist who has reported for a number of newspapers and magazines. He currently is the editor of Prairie Business, the premier business magazine of the northern plains. The magazine covers various industries and business topics in the Dakotas and western Minnesota.
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