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Insights & Intuition for November 2022

Four regional business leaders answer a question from Prairie Business.

Insights & Intuition
Insights & Intuition
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Every month Prairie Business asks business leaders in the region a question and they give their insight and perspective. The question we asked for November 2022 is, "What role does company culture play in employee development at your organization?" Below are the responses from four exemplary business professionals.

Michael Ballweber, president, Doosan Bobcat North America, West Fargo, North Dakota

Mike Ballweber
Michael Ballweber
Image: Courtesy of Doosan Bobcat North America

Company culture plays an important role in everything we do at Bobcat Co., including employee development at all of our locations. With innovative roots and a strong track record of empowering people to accomplish more, we leverage a people-first approach to build teams that are supported to innovate for excellence, while fostering a collaborative culture.

While our equipment, products and services are dynamic and ever-changing, we are proud that the core of our company culture has remained steady, authentic and forward focused.

An innate part of our company culture is our spirit of innovation. Every employee is encouraged to contribute their ideas and expertise to grow their career and our company forward. This culture challenges and encourages our employees to problem-solve, lead and innovate – allowing us to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations.

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Our company culture also plays a valuable role in how our employees engage with our community and world – consistently giving back through philanthropic involvement and developing sustainable solutions for future generations.

All this to say, Bobcat’s culture is both a nod to our past and a commitment to our future – joined together to support and empower our most powerful resource – our people.

Chris Heidrich, director of production, JLG Architects, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Chris Heidrich
Chris Heidrich
Image: Courtesy of JLG Architects

Which came first, the leadership or the culture? It’s a symbiotic question as old as time. At JLG Architects, staff development is founded on a culture of empowerment and investment in bright ideas. We pay attention to what staff are saying, give them the tools they need, maybe a gentle nudge in the right direction, and get out of the way; they take care of the rest. The result is bottled lightning.

When staff feel empowered and supported to be masters of their own development, it creates an understanding of how they fit into the JLG fabric. Every JLGer has a career advisor, a trusted mentor that they can go to for feedback; that someone in their corner at every step of their career journey. This culture of support allows them to continually develop and create a rewarding career with JLG.

Our outcome has been employee owners who are excited to come to work, continually better themselves, and have a clear vision of where they are headed. That shows itself in palpable energy in our JLG offices. We may never know which came first, but we know that a strong culture owned by our employees begets strong leadership.

Missy Hall, vice president of new market development, Digi-Key Electronics, Thief River Falls, Minnesota

Missy Hall
Missy Hall
Image: Courtesy of Digi-Key Electronics

At Digi-Key, our culture plays a critical role in overall employee development. As a global company, we pride ourselves on innovation, being curious and embracing a mindset of continuous improvement.

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These elements of our culture provide opportunities for employees to introduce new ideas and be part of implementing change, which leads to their own growth and development, as well as engaged and empowered employees.

One of our core values is "people make the difference.” We're customer-focused and value the importance of connected relationships, meaning we show up every day for our customers and to support each other.

Our culture also embraces a can-do attitude – a willingness to help others, jump in and lend a hand when it's needed – often learning something new or doing something different. These stretch opportunities lead to employee growth and development.

Finally, one of the things I love most about Digi-Key is that there’s so much opportunity and many different roles within the company. It’s not just a job, it’s a career if you want it to be, and our culture and leadership support and are committed to helping our team members find where they’re most successful and fulfilled.

Cheryl Malecha, human resources director, Widseth, Baxter, Minnesota

Cheryl Malecha
Cheryl Malecha
Image: Courtesy of Widseth

Our culture fosters a fulfilling employee experience that is based on a strongly held and widely shared set of values: Integrity (We do what we say); Innovation (Deliver great ideas); Relationships (Always be client driven); Growth (Be entrepreneurial).

These values are baked right into our strategic plan and inform our mission to “Create Value. Inspire Greatness.”

Our values provide clarity and focus on how we operate, how we serve our clients, and the knowledge and skillsets needed to grow and succeed.

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As a result, our culture encourages employees to work together as a team, have each other’s back, and bring the best outcomes to every project. Ongoing employee development is one of our core employee experience focus areas.

It is not an event but rather a series of ongoing and connected processes that employees and managers use to continually develop our talent capability. Employee development starts at the applicant stage, continues throughout one’s career, and occurs through a variety of techniques.

When our employees feel their development happening, they stay, are engaged, and are magnets for others who want to experience our culture.

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