Every year in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, The Twin Cities Business Journal conducts a survey to determine the best places to work in our cities (http://tinyurl.com/38etpov). It is an honor that we can all agree is highly sought after and one that gives the recipients a leg up when they are in hiring mode.

Every business strives to attract employees to make their organization flourish.  Great talent acquisition involves a lot more than skills alone.  In addition, keeping great talent in your organization is a vital part of it’s continued growth and success.

A couple of years back I had the pleasure of working with Chris Sawotin, the current CEO of CureIS Healthcare Inc. which is located in Woodbury, Minnesota.  CureIS was recognized as the top small business to work at in the Twin Cities.  I inquired with Chris as to what he felt were the main reasons his employees feel CureIS is such a great place to work.

He attributes the satisfaction of their employees to following these practices.

At CureIS we strive to make sure each member has more in common than an email address. That means creating relationships that go beyond co-workers to include family members. We sponsor an annual team vacation to help everyone get to know their teammates better, learn their personalities and interact with their families. It gives spouses a better perspective about CureIS, puts faces with a name and offers them a chance to hear work stories in a more meaningful way.

CureIS also works very hard to make sure that team members have regular face-to-face interaction and socialization. We want to know that our workers really know one another. In a world of email and text communication it has never been more important to create opportunities for teams to learn each others communication styles. A happy face in an email can mean a very different message if you know who it’s from.

Every company should consider supporting something bigger than itself and beyond the bottom line. At CureIS, we participate in many charities, especially our clients’ causes. We have even created our own 501(c)(3). Giving employees an opportunity to be a part of something greater than themselves creates a very special bond. Our charitable efforts also help us attract people who care about the environment and other noble causes.

Finally, CureIS tries to treat every employee as if they were an owner. While it’s difficult to compensate, reward, and recognize every employee as an owner, we try to empower them as such. It is a guiding principle as we chart the growth of our organization. And it is most evident when someone steps up and goes well beyond a regular work day, and we believe that their efforts should be recognized.

The practices mentioned above are the things when driven from the top down that can be the main reason organizations have success or failure in the area of talent acquisition and retention. We’ve all been part of organizations that say that it is important to be known as a great place to work, but don’t really do what it takes and end up over promising and under delivering. This kind of behavior or lack there of is a sure fire way to alienate you from your employees and open them up to beginning a job search.

One of the things employees need to realize, it is also their responsibility to follow the lead of management to create a welcoming sense of community.  This is done by participating in activities that are set up to make interaction a regular part of one’s day.  For example, this past Friday we had our “Chili Cook Off” to benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  It was advertised companywide for a few weeks and as a result we had a lot of fun, raised money for a great cause, ate some great chili, as well as a great way to spend time with our colleagues from the top of the organization on down.

We all know that work is just that, work.  The goal of every company is to make money and succeed with whatever may be their product or service.  Successful companies big and small usually find a way to focus on the little things that make going to work more enjoyable.  In my current role at Buffalo Wild Wings I can honestly say that I look forward to going to work every day. Don’t get me wrong, I have stressful, challenging situations that make days rough. However I love the company, environment, and sense of community that has been created from the CEO on down.

I realize that many of the things that CureIS has in place are not easy to practice with larger companies. However, the intent and follow through are possible no matter the size of the company.

Regardless of who you are or what part of the organization you represent.  You play a vital role in the success or failure of being a great place to work.