Award: DIRECTION
Kwik Trip, Inc.

Q: How does your company create a culture where employees enjoy their jobs?

A: We are blessed to be owned by one family that cares very much about us all. The Zietlow family shares 40 percent of the pretax profits with all the co-workers in Kwik Trip. In addition, we are all treated like a person, and not just a number in the system.

 

Q: How does your company benefit from contented employees?

A: We select only the best candidates to work at Kwik Trip. These happy and talented co-workers then deliver exceptional guest service. This has built tremendous loyalty among our guest base that has allowed Kwik Trip to keep growing.

 

Q: How difficult is it to hire and retain good employees in a tightening labor market?

A: Our culture and benefits really allow us to still attract top-notch candidates.

 

 

Award: MANAGERS
Bluestone Physician Services, Stillwater

Q: How does your company create a culture where employees enjoy their jobs?

A: Our basic philosophy is that we treat our employees as adults, and we trust them to do their jobs. We strive to hire employees who share our values and mission, which in turn contributes to personal value and fulfillment in the work they are doing.

 

Q: How difficult is it to hire and retain good employees in a tightening labor market?

A: This really depends on the location and position. [We] focus highly on the retention of our employees.

 

Q: What unusual features or programs does your company offer?

A: We offer free snacks and beverages in our office, as well as the occasional boat ride and golf outing. We have an all-staff Christmas dinner party to thank and recognize our team for their ongoing hard work. We close our offices early on Friday, which tends to be a very popular benefit.

 

Award: NEW IDEAS
WSB & Associates, Inc., Mpls.

 

Q: How does your company create a culture where employees enjoy their jobs?

A: Creative thinking and collaboration are encouraged and rewarded. The firm has defined the structure in which staff members generate new ideas with unstructured time. The firm has also invested in the WSB University, a dedicated space for staff to host and attend educational courses and presentations that help them grow their leadership and technical skills.

 

Q: What unusual features or programs does your company offer?

A: Our Intrapreneurial Program encourages and rewards WSB staff from all levels to help the company grow and become more efficient through the generation of new ideas in categories of new business/marketing ideas, technical and operational innovation and staff engagement. LEAD (Leadership, Engagement and Development) is a resource group for young staff to get to know one another and learn about the industry through project site visits, facility tours and charitable work. WSB hosts Bring Your Parents to WSB, an event for our most avid supporters (and most curious) — our parents and grandparents.

Awards: DOERS & APPRECIATION (2 awards)
Gentle Transitions, Edina

 

Q: How does your company create a culture where employees enjoy their jobs?

A: Our business model offers freedom and flexibility in scheduling, a big perk of the job. The work we do is very gratifying and provides a sense of reward to our employees. Our employees make a difference in our clients’ lives during what can be an overwhelming time. We share our client feedback and testimonials with each team member, as they are the ones deserving of the praise. We give them credit for the reputation we have built over the past 26 years. We provide up to six employee social gatherings on an annual basis, building camaraderie.

 

Q: How do you benefit from having contented employees?

A: Contented employees enjoy coming to work, so absenteeism is very low. Our employees overall have a cheerful, positive attitude, which is relayed to our clients and also our referral sources in the communities in which we work. Happy employees spread the word to friends and family, making employment with us a sought-after work option for others.

 

Award: MEANINGFULNESS
Feed My Starving Children, Coon Rapids

 

Q: How does your company create a culture where employees enjoy their jobs?

A: Feed My Starving Children is firmly Christ-centered — uniting leadership and staff in a common mission to feed God’s starving children hungry in body and spirit. Each morning, FMSC staff gathers to lift up praises and concerns in prayer.

 

Q: How do you benefit from contented employees?

A: FMSC employees are not simply contented — they are fiercely passionate about seeing every child and person around the world healthy and nourished. This passion, combined with God’s provision, has led to unprecedented results. In fiscal 2015, FMSC welcomed more than 1 million volunteers to pack nearly 273 million meals — this fed more than 745,000 children daily. FMSC is highly efficient, devoting more than 90 percent of total annual donations to feeding kids.

Q: How difficult is it to hire and retain good employees in a tightening labor market?

A: Feed My Starving Children is uniquely positioned to attract and retain employees who feel a greater sense of purpose and impact in their role.

 

Award: ETHICS
Bell State Bank & Trust, Golden Valley

Q: How does your company create a culture where employees enjoy their jobs?

A: Employees nominate their co-workers for “How Bell of You” recognition based on our core values of family atmosphere, unequaled service and giving back. A select few receive Bell Value Awards, celebrated at a memorable ceremony each year. We make sure we have a fun workplace, recognition of things like employment anniversaries, and special events — including picnics, musicals, ballgames and holiday parties — throughout the year for employees and their families.

 

 

Q: What unusual features or programs does your company offer?

A: Our Pay It Forward program puts charitable giving directly into the hands of our employees. Every full-time employee receives $1,000 and every part-timer $500 each year to Pay It Forward to individuals, families or organizations in need. To date, more than $8 million has been given away through this program. This year, in celebration of our bank’s 50th anniversary, we made Pay It Forward even bigger. Every full-timer is receiving $5,000 and part-timers $2,000. They get to keep half for themselves and use half to Pay It Forward.

 

 

 

Award: CLUED-IN SENIOR MANAGEMENT
Keller Williams Realty, New Brighton

 

Q: How does your company create a culture where employees enjoy their jobs?

A: Our entire philosophy is centered around our associates’ business. We’ve created a culture where they openly help and support each other. Our education, technology, economic model and culture all work in harmony to support our associates and their businesses.

 

Q: How does your company benefit from contented employees?

A: Our Market Centers enjoy a palpable energy that comes from enthusiastic and engaged associates. Because they enjoy the environment and learning so much, they want to and do refer others to join our organization. It’s one of the key reasons Keller Williams is the largest and fastest growing real estate company in North America.

 

Q: What unusual features or programs does your company offer?

A: Keller Williams was named the best overall training company in the world across all business categories last year by Training magazine. Associates enjoy cutting-edge technology, profit-sharing, a voice in how the company is run, and a terrific culture of helping one another.

 

Award: COMMUNICATION
UCare, Minneapolis

Q: How does your company create a culture where employees enjoy their jobs?

A: UCare’s employees find meaning in the work they do to support our health-improvement mission and are recognized for their efforts. UCare employees participate in strategic planning and have a voice in shaping important decisions. Employees also have opportunities for fun on the job — such as the games area, food truck Friday, the annual bowling competition, summer outings and onsite wellness classes.

Q: How does your company benefit from contented employees?

A: We attribute our historically low (below industry average) turnover rates to our high employee engagement. Engaged employees are willing to put forth extra effort.

 

Q: Is there any other information you’d like to share?

A: The strength of UCare’s culture has enabled the organization to weather a downturn and still retain highly talented and engaged employees. During the past year, UCare experienced a loss in business and layoffs, which makes it even more remarkable that we were able to maintain our Top Workplaces standing and receive special recognition for communications.

 

Award: WORK/LIFE FLEXIBILITY
Ackmann & Dickenson Inc., Mpls.

 

Q: How does your company create a culture where employees enjoy their jobs?

A: We hire professionals who are passionate about their jobs. We trust them. And we hope that trust empowers employees to drive the culture and take ownership of it. By allowing employees to have a balanced work life and personal life, we are able to give our employees the versatile environment to excel.

Q: What unusual features or programs does your company offer?

A: The unlimited PTO is always one of the first benefits to get mentioned. We also hold summer BBQs for our team. The employees have set up bowling leagues and kickball leagues. With the addition of a few new hires, a new tradition of office pranks has been introduced. In addition, we offer an excellent benefits package, with 50 to 85 percent of premium paid for by A & D.

Q: Any other information you’d like to share?

A: We really strive for a non-micromanaged approach and work environment. There’s a level of trust and professionalism that ensures every employee feels valued and empowered.

Award: TRAINING
American Income Life-Altig, Mpls.

Q: How does your company create a culture where employees enjoy their jobs?

A: Each office holds weekly agency meetings to promote mentorship and training. We also have a culture of promoting from within and have an “open door policy” regarding management, meaning everyone has an equal opportunity to take on a leadership role.

Q: How does your company benefit from contented employees?

A: AIL-Altig has a mutually beneficial relationship with its team members. Management goes above and beyond to invest in our people and show they’re committed to individuals’ growth. As a result we have developed motivated leaders who are just as invested in helping the company succeed.

 

Q: What unusual features or programs does your company offer?

A: Altig gives individuals the freedom to take ownership of their time and money. Each team member has the flexibility to create their own schedule and determine the amount of hours needed to reach their goals.