Area businesses land on Top Workplaces list | Business

More than ever, businesses know they need to create work environments that will attract and retain employees as talent is increasingly difficult to find.

Many businesses in the region have long focused on creating an attractive workplace culture and have landed on the Star Tribune’s Top Workplace list, some in multiple years.

More than a dozen area businesses made this year’s list. Top Workplaces is based on employee feedback results captured by the Energage Workplace Survey of nominated businesses. The research-backed survey is built on data captured from more than 27 million employees at more than 70,000 organizations over the past 16 years.

Some of this year’s top area businesses have a single location while others are part of a larger group with multiple locations.

Talking to managers at a couple of those making this year’s list shows they focus on factors that workplace experts say are key to a smooth-running operation with loyal and content employees.

Mankato Surgery Center

Garret Hilgendorf, administrator at Mankato Surgery Center, said that in 2019 they hit the threshold of having 50 employees, the minimum to be considered in the Top Workplaces competition, and have landed on the list since.

“We’re at 60 employees now. The team here is a great size — we’re small but pack a punch. Our focus has always been the patient first and that’s really acted on. That’s how we approach everything,” Hilgendorf said.

“With our size we can make impactful changes quickly. We don’t have layers of task forces.”

He said their focus on patients unites their team. “Last month we had a 98% patient satisfaction, and we’re proud of that. With that common goal, it makes our team want to do well by the patient. No patient wants to be here. They’re nervous, but we do this every day.”

The Surgery Center doesn’t have many of the amenities some large companies such as Google have to try and keep employees happier.

“I wish I could say our break room is fantastic, but it’s not. It’s just a break room. No foosball and stuff like that.”

But they do cater in lunches every day. “Sometimes our team is working through their lunch hour so we bring it in,” he said.

“The team knows they’re the decision makers — it’s not just the board or me. People bring things up that we need to work on.”

He said the Surgery Center also knows the importance of employees’ personal lives and families.

The center starts at 6 a.m. to get surgeries done and monitor patients before they’re released. “People work hard and they get out of here and have a life.”

The Surgery Center is 50% owned by the Mankato Clinic and 50% by the Orthopaedic and Fracture Clinic, but it operates as a separate business. It’s on the Wickersham Campus.

The employees are mostly skilled nurses and those working in anesthesia with the same-day surgeries done mostly by Mankato Clinic and OFC surgeons. They also get surgeons from Ophthalmology Associates in Mankato.

“Our board of directors are surgeons we work alongside,” he said.

“We do a lot of orthopedics, scopes, shoulder repairs, knees, cataracts, neurology, general surgery and back pain injections,” Hilgendorf said. “Patients are from months old to 99-plus years old.” They see 5,000 to 6,000 patients a year.

The Surgery Center was the first of its kind in this region and still the only multi-specialty larger surgery center.

Frandsen Bank & Trust

Nick Hinz, Frandsen market president, said the bank, with 37 locations, has been on the Top Workplaces list for the last several years.

“What makes us a good workplace is because both corporately and locally, we recognize that a good culture is important. You have to put the time and effort in to have a good culture.”

He said it’s not one thing but a lot of little things that help make a good workplace.

“We really focus here on communicating well with staff. When we have a goal, we tell employees what’s going on. And we’re big believers in one-on-one meetings. We do that every month with each employee. It gives the employee a time to air things out, or if they’re frustrated, they can talk about it.”

Hinz said they also try to get to know employees’ families.

“We do things to get families together so we get to know them. Staff is here eight hours a day, so we want to get to know their families who are supporting them.

“We make sure people have a lot of flexibility to do things with their family. If they have a child in a game and want to go, even if it’s during work, we want them to be able to,” Hinz said.

“It creates loyalty. It’s not just about pay; it’s that they like being here.”

More Information Area businesses on Star Tribune Top Workplaces Affinity Plus Credit Union Bolton & Menk Coloplast Compeer Financial Cooperative Ebenezer Society Edward Jones Eide Bailly First National Bank Frandsen Bank & Trust Great Clips Kwik Trip Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota Mankato Surgery Center Pioneer Bank United Prairie Bank