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Insights & Intuition

Four business leaders answer a Prairie Business question for July 2022

Insights & Intuition
Insights & Intuition
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Every month Prairie Business asks business leaders in the region a question, and they answer with their perspective and insight. The question we asked for July is: “How does your organization’s culture differentiate it from other companies?" Here are the responses from four business experts:

Todd Forkel, CEO of Altru Health System, Grand Forks, N.D.

Todd Forkel
Todd Forkel
Image: Courtesy of Altru Health System

At Altru, “Care. For One Another” isn’t just something we say. It’s the way we live out our mission every single day. Each and every person who works at Altru holds our patients at the center of everything we do. From our greeters, to our IT team, to our physicians – each of us is called to care for each of you. We also care deeply for each other.

Whether it is our Spirit of Caring program, where employees can directly support other team members who find themselves in hard times; or our Code Lavender response team, developed during the pandemic to provide peer-to-peer emotional support, we are here for each other in tangible ways.

Our Code Lavender Team has responded to everything from an unexpected employee death to the tragic loss of an employee’s child to teams experiencing burnout. And, they have provided everything from a shoulder to lean on to a warm cup of coffee to helpful tools for dealing with grief.

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At Altru, we are proud to care for one another each and every day – as a team, as a healthcare provider, and as a vital part of our community.

Shawna Witt, human resources manager at Banner Associates, Brookings S.D.

Shawna Witt
Shawna Witt
Image: Courtesy of Banner Associates

The culture at Banner starts with transparency and open communication throughout the company. When I started here, it only took a few conversations to realize the leadership team’s open-door policy was a full-on invitation for ideas, suggestions, and questions from anyone and everyone in the organization.

When we talk about the company’s vision for the future, we know what to expect because we have goals and hold one another accountable – in a good way.

We collaborate across departments to make sure every project gets the attention it needs. We celebrate the wins together and pick each other up when we miss the mark. The unique part is all of that happens so naturally here, like geese flying in a formation so the whole group can go further than they would alone. We set our own course, follow our proven processes, and take care of each other to support our staff and clients’ needs.

Our culture is more than how we operate: It’s who we are.

Marc Pariza, operations manager at B&T Manufacturing, Rapid City, S.D.

Marc Pariza
Marc Pariza
Image: Courtesy of B&T Manufacturing

Here at B&T Manufacturing we place our employees first, as we believe that a well-cared for team member will create a far superior product that the customer will experience when they purchase from us.

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Being flexible to our team members and working with them makes for a happier team member and a much more profitable product that our customers see.

We all know that life at times gets complicated, and so at B&T Manufacturing we don’t want to add to the complexity of our team members' lives. We strive to be supportive in this great adventure we call life.

Kurtis Karn, associate vice president of talent acquisition at KLJ, West Fargo, N.D. 

Kurtis Karn
Kurtis Karn
Image: Courtesy of KLJ

At KLJ we take a people centric approach to culture. When you focus on the individual employee and give them the opportunity, the support, and the tools to do their job, the culture takes care of itself.

We believe if you take care of your people, ask what they want and need, the sales and revenue will follow. We are also always looking for cultural additions, not just culture fits.

If you keep adding the same types of individuals to your organization, you lose opportunity for new ideas. We want to continue to move forward and grow and you need new ideas and mindsets to do that successfully.

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