Executives share how to make businesses great places to work

These executive provide sage advice for businesses

Executives from the companies chosen as Best Places to Work 2018 share some tricks they’ve learned along the way on how to make successful businesses.

Communications and resources

goVirtualOffice LLC
“We want our team members to take their careers seriously, deliver high-quality work and provide great customer service (both to external and internal customers) but also to enjoy coming to work. I believe it all starts with communication – early and often.”
— Dirk Shimpach, CPA

Singlewire Software LLC
“[We] hire talented people and let them demonstrate their talents working for our clients. [Our managers] give them the tools they desire, facilitate strong communication and show them how their efforts help achieve Singlewire’s goals.”
— Brett Rimkus, CFO

Waterstone Mortgage Corp.
“We have a culture built on supporting each other, doing what’s right above all else and having fun! We build trust through transparency, clear expectations, high standards and regular open communication.”
— Ryan Smith, branch manager and loan originator

Nordic Consulting Partners
“To empower each of our owners, we share information openly and honestly, even when it’s difficult. This builds trust and allows our team members to contribute their best and brightest ideas to help us further serve our clients and team members.”
— Vicki Ryan, vice president of human resources

Individual NeedsExecutives share how to make businesses great places to work

Frazer Consultants LLC
“Our workplace culture is unlike any other. We make sure that our employees feel right at home here in the office with music, natural light, snacks, drinks and co-workers who are more like family than colleagues. But we also work to improve our employees’ skills through professional growth opportunities like conferences and classes, and a welcoming, collaborative environment where nobody is afraid to ask questions.”
— Vance Vlasak, sales consultant

Powderkeg Web Design
“Our workplace culture is built on complete trust of each other’s talents. This leads to amazing collaboration and ultimately a special end product for our clients. Outside of that, true friendships have been formed here. Most team members hang out socially outside of work numerous times throughout the month. Having that kind of respect and friendships with each other has resulted in an almost nonexistent turnover rate with our team members.”
— Dylan Thompson, director

Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
“When people find a healthy challenge, while also feeling valued and understood, they tend to stay connected. Cress staff members believe that pausing to gather and remember the life of a loved one has the ability to facilitate healing and to change people’s lives.”
— Carey Cress-Fose, vice president

National CooperativeRx
“National CooperativeRx has a culture that emphasizes personal health and professional growth. Each employee has their own office with a standing desk, the ability to work from home and the support to attend relevant educational courses in their field.”
— Jen Dickman, communications manager

WEA Member Benefits
“We designed our office to provide employees a mix of private, semiprivate and open-environment options depending on their needs. Employees frequently fire up the grill and enjoy our private outdoor patio.”
— Pranav Shah, general counsel

CenterX
“Actions speak louder than words. Every day, our managers demonstrate their empathy with their actions. We have no full-time managers. Managers share in the daily hard work answering customer phone calls, carrying the on-call pager, fixing a flakey PC, emptying a dishwasher. Speaking words of empathy shows co-workers that they are appreciated; acting out empathy builds strong, reciprocal trust.”
— Joe Reinardy, president

Manager EffectivenessExecutives share how to make businesses great places to work

Artisan Dental LLC
“When the leadership team consistently acts in a way that is in alignment with our mission and values, our team members sense authenticity and integrity, which lays the foundation for trust to flourish.”
— Scott Andersen, director of stakeholder stewardship

M3 Insurance
“We try to lead from the middle and not from the top as much as possible. People want to feel like they belong and that they are genuinely appreciated for their good work.”
— Mike Victorson, president and CEO

Widen Enterprises Inc.
“Building trust across teams and reporting relationships is done most effectively through openness. Openness is important for business because it helps people make more informed decisions in the moment.”
— Matthew Gonnering, CEO

Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP
“Managers often end up serving as a mentor to the employee – they offer advice, provide timely feedback and are truly invested in helping [employees] to grow within Baker Tilly. This relationship is vital for businesses … great mentors often play a large part in someone’s desire to stay and grow within a company.”
— Linda Peterson, director of human resources, Midwest

Mennenga Tax & Financial Service
“[We] encourage employees to use their gifts and talents. If they are doing what they like to do, they will give exceptional client service.”
— Betty Mennenga, co-owner

Personal EngagementExecutives share how to make businesses great places to work

Agrace Hospice & Palliative Care
“Agrace’s culture is a culture of engagement that’s built around listening to employees’ needs, collaborating with them to build solutions and putting those solutions into action. By consistently applying that problem-solving algorithm, we create an environment where employees speak their minds, expect to be heard and real change happens.”
— Lynne Sexten, president and CEO

Steve Brown Apartments
“We enjoy celebrating each other’s successes, we promote and support each other’s unique contributions and talents, we embrace learning moments and change and we provide opportunities to grow personally and professionally.”
— Margaret Watson, CEO

Core BTS Inc.
“We celebrate and respect the diversity of backgrounds of our employees, their personal and professional experience and the wide variety of roles each contribute to our company.”
— John Samz, regional vice president of sales

Zendesk
“Businesses change and evolve as they mature and grow and the spirit of your culture should support not hinder that evolution. The culture should help you adapt and become a stronger organization. Senior leadership support is also critical!”
— Jess Hannes, senior director, product support

Team DynamicsExecutives share how to make businesses great places to work

Bendyworks
“We foster an environment of encouragement and collective learning. Our team wants to do its best, and we help each other do exactly that. Without that trust, a team won’t raise issues that need addressing, thereby decreasing job satisfaction and retention.”
— Brad Grzesiak, CEO

Talavant Inc.
“We are convinced that we have been able to remain successful as a newer organization and experience very little turnover because we have 100 percent trust in our employees.”
— Molly Gallmeier, vice president of business development

Iconica
“I am surrounded by talented individuals who care for others, who care about our clients and who care about the quality of the work they perform.”
— Jim Pientka, president and CEO

Madison No Fear Dentistry
“We have a daily mission that involves earning trust between us, team members and the patients. We are supportive of timely conflict resolution between team members. This lightens the feel around the office.”
— David Ducommun, president

Heartland Hospice
“Our mission is to enrich life. This not only means the patients, families and customers we serve, but each other … I believe that when the team knows they are working for an organization that puts patients first, they find great value in their work.”
— Ryan Klaustermeier, administrator

Oregon Community Bank and Waunakee Community Bank
“Trust in leadership is a key component to employee engagement. Do the right thing – we see this as ‘Feel Good Banking.’ ”
— Steve Peotter, president and CEO

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