How to create an engaged workforce

The Last Word

Kevin Steiner
President and CEO, West Bend Mutual Insurance Co.
1900 S. 18th Ave., West Bend
Industry: Property and casualty insurance
Employees: More than 1,000
www.thesilverlining.com

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More than ever, businesses need to go the extra mile to keep their best employees engaged and retain them as a part of the organization long-term. Here, West Bend Mutual president and CEO Kevin Steiner shares his company’s strategies to build a culture of employee engagement.

“Every year at West Bend Mutual Insurance, we honor our ‘legacy’ employees who have chosen to stay with the company for an extended period of time. There are currently 235 members of what we call our “25 Year Club.” These are employees who’ve been with the company 25 years or more and include retirees. We recently added 12 new members to the club, bringing the total number of members currently employed to 160.

“The reasons for why someone chooses to stay with an organization more than 25 years may vary among individuals. However, there are basic principles we strive to maintain as a company in an effort to build a culture of employee engagement, which include:

  • Maintaining transparent top-down communications: This means effectively communicating with employees and fostering an understanding of their role in the organization’s overall success.
  • Community engagement: Being involved in the community through philanthropic or volunteer efforts is a great way to engage employees with co-workers and the community.
  • Mentoring: Setting up a formal mentor program underscores our commitment to developing and keeping talent.
  • Fostering a family environment: It’s important to make the office a place that people want to come to, which means fostering a welcoming environment that celebrates personal and group achievements.

“The result of our efforts to take these steps at West Bend has been retention of long-tenured associates with valuable knowledge and experience. It’s also contributed to our successful recruitment of new associates. Both contribute to our success and it can do the same for your organization.”

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