‘Culture, Culture, Culture: If you don’t get it right, nothing else matters’ among panels at workforce development event

By the end of 2022, Showplace Cabinetry will have shipped more cabinets in a year than ever — more than 200,000.

“And we have a backlog that will carry us through year-end,” CEO Bill Allen said of production. “We will feel very fortunate to be blessed with a record sales revenue year as well. We now have 720 employee-owners — another record — at Showplace, who work their tails off every day to meet our customers’ demands.”

Showplace Cabinetry

None of that happens without a strong company culture.

On Oct. 26, Allen will speak on a panel addressing workplace culture at the fifth annual WIN in Workforce Summit, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.

Bill Allen

The topic is “Culture, Culture, Culture: If you don’t get it right, nothing else matters.” And Allen will be joined by Carrie Anderson of Avera, Tara Cox of Wilbur-Ellis and Teri Schmidt of Experience Sioux Falls for a discussion moderated by New York Life’s Anna Moe.

We caught up with Allen for a preview.

You’re speaking on the topic of culture, which is broad and in some cases open to interpretation. How would you describe how you and Showplace view culture? What does that mean to you?

It may be cliche, but the words “family, caring and good people” get used often by employees explaining how they feel about working at Showplace. When we are making decisions that involve employees, we go by the philosophy of treating people how you would like to be treated yourself. Every decision we make, we look at how it will affect our employees whether good or bad. When you respect people, are fair, honest and upfront with them, put yourself in their shoes, then the right decisions are easier to make. Our employees are a big part of our culture; they are always looking out for each other. Employees step up to help someone who is fighting breast cancer, has had a house fire or something as simple as needing a ride to work. It will always be our people that define us. We continually hear “That is why I work at Showplace: It is the people.”

Showplace cabinetry

Culture also can be hard to define, but from your perspective, how would you describe the culture at Showplace?

Culture is a reflection of the way you run the company; it is something that is woven into what you do every day. We have become more self-aware in recent years that culture can feel different to those in the office, in leadership positions, versus those who work on the production floor. That self-awareness drives us to want to ask questions, listen and learn more about how our employees think and feel about things at work. We are a manufacturer. The fact is some days things don’t go well. It’s hard work, we have issues just like everyone does, we can always improve. One thing is for sure, we try to make the work environment we have here the best we possibly can for our employees given the industry we are a part of.

What have you done intentionally to try to cultivate that culture?

Over the years, we have expanded benefits and employee programs, started company traditions and improved our facilities – all of this has become part of our culture. I have a tendency to want to list all those things as important aspects of our culture. Robust employee benefits, “perks” if you will, are necessary and useful to get people through the door, but they don’t always motivate people to stay with a company and do the best job they can. In addition to having nice “perks,” we are spending a great deal of time and effort trying to develop better leaders, foster creativity at all levels and encourage employee involvement.

Showplace cabinetry

I think our leadership team is very approachable, and it starts with me. I feel anyone at Showplace should be able to come up and talk to me about anything work-related. If I can’t answer their question, I’ll find someone who can. The goal is developing a mindset for all employees that they are not just a number here – they are an important part of our operation. One of our senior managers brought up to me that Showplace is really like a second family for a lot of our employees. It is a job, but it is more than that. It is stability in people’s lives, a place where they can contribute daily to something meaningful. When we work together, do our jobs well, we have the ability to produce something people want to buy and grow our company. That success in our work lives can spill over into individual’s personal lives.

Culture also always is evolving. Are there some elements of yours that you’re focused on improving, and how are you doing that?

This is something we talk about often. What was important to employees 10 or 15 years ago may or may not be important to employees today ​or in the next 10 to 15 years. If you are not consciously looking at how to evolve your culture in the workplace, it will come back to bite you in the long run.

worker at showplace cabinetry

We’ve put a focus on improving English language skills, and we actually teach English classes in-house now. We’ve strengthened our new-hire training programs, and we’ve really looked into and tried to simplify our application process, looking at how people conduct job searches today. What are potential employees looking for, how do we match up and making sure we are hitting the sweet spots the best we can. It is a constant process. Our goal is to be an employer of choice in the region. We focus on being forward-thinking, innovative and competitive with the benefits we offer.

What advice would you give to other businesses looking to address or improve their culture?

Every business has a culture whether you want one or not; usually it is a reflection of how you treat your employees. Pay is one thing, but honestly listening to employees and showing them respect, fairness and appreciation will go a long way towards building a better culture. When you have a decision to make regarding employees, ask yourself how you would want to be treated in that situation and then make the decision. We certainly know that our culture isn’t for everyone, and every employee isn’t for us. But we hope the culture we do have attracts the people who are a good fit!

What broader benefit have you found as a business to your intentional focus on culture?

Happier employees! I don’t want to mislead anyone – it is very difficult to find and retain employees in the Sioux Falls metro area. I just read there are over 30,000 open jobs in South Dakota and something like 10,000 people actually looking for jobs. That is a big problem, and Showplace is not immune to the difficulties associated with that. The way we look at it is: How hard would it be to find and keep employees if we weren’t doing any of these things?

worker at showplace cabinetry

Register today

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is an approved recertification provider for the Society for Human Resource Management, and human resources professionals who attend WIN can earn nine professional development credits.

Tickets are $89 for in-person attendance, which includes lunch and snacks, and $20 for virtual attendance. Group discounts are available. Contact deniseg@siouxfalls.com.

‘Neurological Nomad’ brings insight from leading change at Google to WIN in Workforce Summit

Travis Hahler lives in a world of constant change.

The Webster native and USD graduate – class of 2010 and 2012 – leads global change and transformation for Google, while based in South Dakota.

But Hahler is an entrepreneur, too, who is building his organization, The Neurological Nomad, into a powerhouse resource for businesses looking to drive change with people at the forefront.

Travis Hahler

In just a decade, Hahler has built an impressive resume working with more than 100 companies around the world, including 40 percent of the Fortune 100 list.

On Oct. 26, he will be a keynote speaker at the fifth annual WIN in Workforce Summit, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.

We caught up with Hahler for a preview.

First, congratulations on your success. What is it about your work that you think has helped you distinguish yourself so early in your career?

Thank you so much. I’m proud of the work I’ve done so far, but I am far from finished.

In terms of distinguishing myself, I think the biggest differentiator has been my perspective and unique point of view. I see a lot of really smart people with singular backgrounds like MBAs, psychology, neuroscience, but having all three creates a fuller view of things that others without that exposure wouldn’t be able to see. That perspective has allowed me to anticipate the needs of employees and leaders, empathize with their experiences, draw incredibly accurate conclusions about their actions and motivations, and be able to articulate all of that to leaders in a language they understand. The piece of all of this that has distinguished me the most is then being able to take that perspective and build tactical plans that seemingly anticipate employee reaction and employee needs while also taking into account the larger environment that the employee is living in at that moment.

What will the theme of your keynote be at the WIN in Workforce Summit?

The theme of the keynote goes hand in hand with the mission of The Neurological Nomad, which is to help today’s leaders leverage neuroscience, neuropsychology and human behavior to design employee-centric organizations and drive transformational change. So what that is going to look like for the WIN in Workforce Summit is first a discussion about neuroscience and the impact that our human physiology has on our behavior, and then we are going to talk about how we leverage that information in business and at our organizations. It’s my goal to help the audience see that neuroscience and behavioral psychology is the bridging point between successfully meeting their business goals and objectives, their workforce goals and objectives, and the desires and goals of their employees.

If I’m a CEO, do I really need to know much about neuroscience?

I think all incredible leaders need to understand people, and there are really two ways that incredible leaders can get to that level of understanding. The typical way a leader learns to understand people is through experience working with them. This is very surface level and built through years of experiences and trial and error. After that, you can probably guess what your organization’s reaction to something will be based on previous reactions over similar situations you’ve seen, or you’ll be able to categorize people’s motivations and ways of working based on other people that you know who are similar or exhibit similar styles. You understand what happens, but you don’t understand why. You can still be a great leader with this type of understanding.

I’m sorry to all the leaders that became great through this method because neuroscience is a shortcut and a multiplier all at the same time. Neuroscience explains the “why” behind people’s behavior. So if you understand neuroscience, you understand people. You’ll be able to do all of the same things I just mentioned in a fraction of the time. What’s even better is that you don’t even need to know someone in order to understand how they will likely react if you understand neuroscience. Understanding neuroscience is a fast track to becoming an incredible leader and understanding people.

Are there some basics that can help me shift my thinking and see an impact with my workforce?

Absolutely, and that is why I do what I do. Neuroscientists don’t publish research that is simple to understand, so I view my job as an interpreter between science and business with regard to neuroscience and behavioral psychology and make it simple. The benefit that you get when learning theory about neuroscience is that it can be both theoretical and experiential at the same time because neuroscience dictates how you react as well as how others react. So, as you learn, you can also reflect on personal experiences and see how neuroscience or neurology influenced that reaction and the reasons you reacted as predicted or the reasons you didn’t.

Travis Hahler

What can neuroscience tell us about what motivates people? Does that directly tie to workforce attraction and retention?

There is a lot out there about motivation and the brain, but I think it’s deeper than that. What neuroscience tells us about humans is that from our humble beginnings, we have sought safety and security. First, it was from the wild, and now it is what most people would call “stability.” Our brain is wired for that. When we think about attraction and retention for employees, the quickest way to get a bad reputation and for your employees to start leaving is by creating an unstable environment in the workplace and triggering your employees to seek stability.

I don’t want to give too much away because we will explore what those trigger points are and ways to overcome them during the keynote, but here is what I will say: This is going to be exceptionally important as our world continues to change at a greater velocity than ever before. Stability will need to shift from the idea that “I’ve been here for many years, and I know it is the same day to day, and that provides me stability” to “I know my leaders and the way that they have taken my well-being and needs into consideration every time we change or transform and that provides me with stability.” It’s incredibly different from what we have traditionally seen for our workforce, and I believe neuroscience is the key to helping our leaders where they need to be for this shift to happen.

What are some of the common or most compelling issues that you’re hearing from the businesses you work with through The Neurological Nomad? Are there any emerging issues?

As I’ve been talking with different organizations and leaders, there are certainly a few things that I am hearing across the board. The first, and this has been for a while, is the rate of change as companies race to embrace digital transformation and prepare their organizations for what is next and their future. Second, employee retention and attraction. Finally, social justice, diversity and employee wellness.

The common string among all of these is how we operate and understand our employees. I think there has been a long time where employers have been promising certain things and failing to execute on those promises, and the Great Resignation was simply the result of a loss of trust in their employer. We need to rebuild that trust and create organizations that put employees first, not just write it on our corporate values on the website. I’m sure this isn’t a shock to you, but neuroscience is a huge part of making that happen.

What’s the most common mistake or oversight you see companies make when it comes to trying to implement change?

I think the biggest oversight I see is that organizations don’t understand their people and their people’s skill sets. This often leads to the organization not realizing the benefits of the change because their people were not prepared to operate in the new environment. I see this with companies that are going through digital transformation journeys a lot.

Often, organizations also try to do too much too fast. This is usually the result of an organization that hasn’t been proactive about advancing or in industries that haven’t been disrupted in a while. The ROI is rarely realized because people are too overwhelmed with change and not given an opportunity to internalize the new ways of working.

There is also usually a major disconnect between what leadership thinks their organization’s culture is and what it actually is and the maturity of that culture. What happens here is that leaders will often leave out critical engagement opportunities during the change process because “that’s just part of our culture” when in reality it’s not or it’s not mature enough yet to lean on it.

The good news is that we are going to talk about all of this during the keynote, and neuroscience has a lot to say in these areas!

What’s the biggest takeaway you hope the Sioux Falls audience has from hearing your keynote?

We have a lot of incredible people here in South Dakota and many great companies that either exist or will exist. My hope is that this will help our business leaders transform their organizations to either become people-centric or improve their people-centricity. I believe this is essential to being able to future-proof our South Dakota organizations and continue to grow, compete nationally and attract more great businesses to our state.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I would add just two things.

First, you are not alone in this journey. Building and growing a people-centric business is tough and complex, but I believe in what neuroscience and psychology have to offer and the ways that it can transform organizations. You’re not going to leave a 60-minute session and have all the answers, and if you need a partner in your journey, reach out to me at The Neurological Nomad.

Second, I’m so honored to be given the opportunity to speak at a South Dakota-based conference. I have spoken at hundreds of conferences and events but never one in South Dakota, so I am really excited to be a part of the WIN in Workforce Summit, and I hope you’ll join me there.

Register today

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is an approved recertification provider for the Society for Human Resource Management, and human resources professionals who attend WIN can earn nine professional development credits.

Tickets are $89 for in-person attendance, which includes lunch and snacks, and $20 for virtual attendance. Group discounts are available. Contact deniseg@siouxfalls.com.

To learn more and register, click here.

Want to grow your workforce? Consider changing your approach on college campuses

For at least half the year, Kristin Hoefert-Redlinger and her team at Northwestern Mutual are regular visitors on area college campuses.

But they’re not necessarily sitting at career fairs or staffing information booths.

Instead, they’re in the classroom or meeting with athletic teams, offering workshops on everything from emotional intelligence to networking and branding.

“These are things that benefit students with career readiness and leadership skills,” said Hoefert-Redlinger, Northwestern Mutual’s chief talent officer.

“We speak on campuses to give back, mentor and teach students critical soft-skills, and in turn, many of our top internship candidates find us.”

college campus visit

After sharing information that will benefit the students more broadly, there’s a brief pitch to attend a Northwestern Mutual information session to learn more about what the company offers.

“And then we talk very transparently at our information sessions,” Hoefert-Redlinger said. “We offer a top 10 internship in the country, so we have a strong story to tell.”

She will detail her approach to working with college students on a panel at the fifth annual WIN in Workforce Summit, held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.

The Summit is organized by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation and supported by Forward Sioux Falls.

Hoefert-Redlinger’s panel, Collegiate Engagement Made Easy, will be part of an overall track around talent attraction and include fellow panelists Jessica Carlson of the University of Sioux Falls and Cal McKeown of LifeScape.

“In so many ways, talent attraction and development begins on college campuses,” said Denise Guzzetta, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation’s vice president of talent and workforce development, who will moderate the panel.

college campus visit

“We’ll share ways the Development Foundation is engaging with college students nationwide and look forward to bringing outstanding insight from our panelists.”

The Northwestern Mutual team regularly visits 16 campuses in South Dakota and northwest Iowa.

“We don’t love bringing someone in as a new college graduate. We prefer to begin that relationship while they’re still in college through an internship because our highest long-term retention is from individuals who have completed an internship with us,” Hoefert-Redlinger said.

“It’s real-life experience. You’re living the life with the mentorship of a financial adviser, so you get to test-drive a career, see if it’s right or wrong, and the risk on both sides is limited. And even interns who don’t stay with us long-term become our best brand advocates. They send us referrals and become our clients.”

There have been other lessons learned, too, from building relationships with younger students to the advantage athletes sometimes have in pursuing a Northwestern Mutual career.

college campus visit

Hoefert-Redlinger also always shares information with college students about the Sioux Falls Young Professionals Network, or YPN, and the broader experience of living in the city.

“I really believe as employers it’s our responsibility to sell the city of Sioux Falls and to sell the state of South Dakota, so we make that part of all our speaking engagements,” she said. “And we get our interns really involved in Sioux Falls, including philanthropy, so they’re plugged in and introduced to a lot of people. Even if it’s not with us, then they have a path here.”

She is a frequent attendee at WIN in Workforce and encourages others to attend too.

“If you struggle with retention and recruitment, you’ll hear from people who do it well and want to share ideas,” she said. “You’ll hear from everyone from young professionals to companies who share different approaches. It’s a great platform to show the opportunities here and how it amazing it is that we live in a city that wants to retain talent enough to invest in a whole event around it.”

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is an approved recertification provider from the Society for Human Resource Management, and human resources professionals who attend WIN can earn nine professional development credits.

Tickets are $89 for in-person attendance, which includes lunch and snacks, and $20 for virtual attendance. Group discounts are available. Contact deniseg@siouxfalls.com.

To learn more and register, click here.

Looking to grow, retain, optimize your workforce? This event is for you

How to attract and maintain a diverse workforce.

Reinvention: The flip side of disruption.

Collegiate engagement made easy.

Workforce reimagined: How manufacturing and tech can help us have hard conversations

Culture, culture, culture: If you do it right, nothing else matters.

That’s just a sampling of the topics that will be explored at the fifth annual WIN in Workforce Summit, held Oct. 26 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.

The Summit is organized by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation and supported by Forward Sioux Falls.

WIN in Workforce Summit

“We just have continued to evolve and now are part of a national conversation about talent and workforce,” said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development.

“We bring people globally into our event and into all the engaging things we’re doing here. It’s just very well planned and diversified as far as the talent and expertise.”

Attendees at the summit can choose from nine sessions divided among three tracks:

  • Talent attraction, which includes a look at best practices across the area collegiate network.
  • Talent development, which will offer insight around how organizations are up-skilling and growing their own talent internally.
  • Today’s issues, which will explore themes such as culture, wellness and sustainability.

“As a community, we have leaders across all these areas, and we’re bringing them together in one place so you can hear directly from them,” Guzzetta said. “When you look at the new generation of talent and what they’re looking for in a workplace, there are increasingly conversations around these themes.”

Additionally, the Summit will feature two keynote speakers.

NFL Pro Bowl running back Justin Forsett, an underdog fan favorite, now is a podcast host on LeBron James’ UNINTERRUPTED Podcast Network and is an entrepreneur and inventor featured on ABC’s Shark Tank as the CEO and co-founder of Hustle Clean.

Justin Forsett

“He pitched an idea, got funding and now his products are sold in major retailers, and he just has a wonderful story,” Guzzetta said. “Everybody thinks you have to be the smartest or most athletic or the best and what he’s going to tell you is it really is your mindset and how you’re looking at things.”

Then, Travis Hahler, a South Dakota native leading global change and transformation for Google, will speak on the themes of his own business, The Neurological Nomad. As an independent consultant, Hahler brings neuroscience, neuropsychology and behavioral psychology to business executives at large and small organizations.

Travis Hahler

“He helps companies with transformation and working through change and understanding what motivates people,” Guzzetta said. “That’s what everybody is trying to figure out right now is what motivates people.”

The Summit is designed for everyone from CEOs and business owners to human resources professionals and even high school and college students, she said.

“If you’re touching workforce in any way – maybe you’re a nonprofit or an economic development organization, or you work in operations for a manufacturer – there are going to be takeaways of value for you,” Guzzetta said. “One of the messages we’re sending loud and clear is that WIN in Workforce is where everyone has a voice and everyone sits at the table.”

The WIN in Workforce Summit also will provide plenty of time for questions, networking and sharing best practices.

“Hopefully, you’ll become what we’re calling The Great Attraction, or The Great Upskill,” Guzzetta said. “There’s a huge opportunity right now to make investments in talent.”

WIN in Workforce Summit

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is an approved recertification provider from the Society for Human Resource Management, and human resources professionals who attend WIN can earn nine professional development credits.

Tickets are $89 for in-person attendance, which includes lunch and snacks, and $20 for virtual attendance. Group discounts are available. Contact deniseg@siouxfalls.com. To learn more and register, click here.

Register now and save: WIN in Workforce conference to bring NFL speaker, workforce strategies

It’s likely the most valuable day you’ll invest in workforce development all year – so register now for this fall’s fifth annual WIN in Workforce Summit.

Three professional tracks will guide the day, which will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.

“We talk about talent development, talent attraction, and then we take the issues of the day and talk about best practices,” said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.

“And it’s just amazing. This year, the content is going to be fantastic, and we’re also going to have a lot of different companies sharing their journeys and how they have evolved their programs so they can continue to build on their growth. We see that in our business community. We’ve been very successful regardless of the environment.”

Retired NFL running back Justin Forsett will be the keynote speaker. Forsett, founder and CEO of personal care company Hustle Clean and a co-host on LeBron James’ Uninterrupted podcast, will kick off the event with a message on transforming your career path.

“He went on ‘Shark Tank,’ he pitched an idea, and now his product is sold throughout Walmart and Target, so just a great inspirational message from someone who started homeless, had an opportunity to focus on a talent — sports — and took that talent and realized he wanted to make a career change and did that successfully,” Guzzetta said.

Examples of topics include workforce reimagined, collegiate engagement made easy, how to attract and maintain a diverse workforce, reinvention and culture.

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is an approved recertification provider from the Society for Human Resource Management.

“Human resource professionals who attend WIN in Workforce will earn nine professional development credits, which is wonderful, and the networking benefit is huge,” Guzzetta said. “WIN is just a great place to engage and really grow. Workforce is something we’re tackling on a national and global level, so coming together to talk strategies and things you can implement right away is really powerful.”

Register by July 31 and take advantage of the early bird discount, with admission to WIN for just $30.

For information and to register, click here.

Workforce today – and in 2030: Experts will share insight at upcoming Workforce Summit

What does the workforce of the future look like? It depends on where you’re viewing it.

For Matt Paulson, founder and CEO of the state’s largest digital media company MarketBeat, “the future is hybrid,” he said.

“People want flexibility, but they also want to be in an office. And I’m seeing people move to different jobs for more flexibility. I think that’s a trend. They’re less interested in jobs where you’re working a ton of hours with no flexibility.”

For Lucas Fiegen, vice president of Fiegen Construction, “I think the biggest thing is you have to be creative,” he said. “We saw an opportunity to expand the industry and help workforce, and it was saying yes to those things and thinking through how to do it strategically.”

Those two, plus dozens of other local experts, will share their insight at the upcoming WIN in Workforce Summit on Oct. 28 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. The annual event, produced by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, will feature keynote speaker Chad Greenway and multiple sessions revolving around topics such as Your Workforce in 2030, 4 Tools for Retaining High-Functioning Teams, Talent Tips That Work and Future Labor Skills – Employment Prospectus 2030.

“We have an incredible lineup of presenters that ensures you’re going to leave this event with actionable takeaways you can immediately apply in your workplace,” said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development.

“Whether you’re trying to understand Generation Z, hoping to improve your recruitment and retention or looking to learn some best practices, this event is going to deliver for you.”

For Paulson, who will speak on the 2030 workforce, the pandemic has represented “a 10-year leap forward” in terms of how, when and where people work.

In his own downtown office, “nobody’s there the entire day,” he said. “I get a sense of productivity by how long projects remain on their plate. We’ve done a great job attracting people by saying we’re not X big employer. We get applicants looking for something different, so that’s been an advantage.”

He also sees more people trying out being their own boss.

“People sometimes see the good parts of entrepreneurship and don’t realize you have to work 60 hours a week for a long time or more,” he said. “But the equation in people’s heads is changing too. It’s not about maximum cash and who cares how much I work. It’s more of a ‘how can I fit my job around my lifestyle’ and not my lifestyle around my job.”

Fiegen will speak at the summit about how his family business has seen success increasing interest in the trades through a unique partnership with O’Gorman High School to support the school’s industrial arts program.

“Year one they were building sawhorses and sheds, and now we’re starting to get other trades involved, so this year they were pouring and finishing concrete, and next semester we’re going to have some masons come out and show them how to lay a block foundation,” Fiegen said.

“We’re trying to figure out as the program evolves how they can have hands-on experience in a multitude of industries.”

It has expanded to add CAD technology and 3D-printing programs and has attracted more students than anticipated.

“My uncle Rusty goes in once or twice a semester and talks about next steps and where kids can go, including tech school, and the different opportunities they have,” Fiegen said.

His company also is working with new employees aspiring to management positions to start them in the field, including mentoring and shadowing.

“We want them to get in-the-field experience and then transition them into a construction management role.”

If these topics sound like ones you should explore further, click here to register for the WIN in Workforce Summit.

“These ideas and experts are just the start of what you’ll learn,” Guzzetta said. “We look forward to connecting with you and your team.”

Gen Z is entering your workforce. Are you ready for them?

Just when you thought you’d figured out your millennial workforce — here comes the next generation.

By 2030, the number of Generation Z employees in the U.S. workforce will triple, bringing with them a burst of creative and digital-friendly skills essential to the U.S. remaining competitive globally.

Already termed “influencers” and “digital creators,” Gen Z’s hypercognitive and socially driven communication styles and workplace preferences undoubtedly will have a positive impact.

This incoming generation will be one subject covered in the upcoming WIN in Workforce Summit on Oct. 28, headlined by Chad Greenway.

To learn more and register, click here.

From best practices on enhancing communication and engagement tips to competitive incentives, this strategic learning session will provide the tools your organization needs now to prepare for the newest generation of talent, including:

  • Discussing global generational trends impacting your current and future human capital strategies.
  • Gaining an understanding of the ties between engagement and inclusion while learning best practices.

Nathan LaCroix, talent acquisition sourcer for Avera Health, will participate in the discussion “Workforce Guide for Generation Z.”

The panel will be moderated by Greta Stewart of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and also includes Breanne Lynch from the Harrisburg School District and Josh Muckenhirn of ISG.

We sat down with LaCroix for a preview of the conversation.

First, how do you define Generation Z? Is it by birth year, life experience? And what are their key characteristics?

I would define Generation Z as the cohort following millennials, born between late 1990s and early 2010s. Generation Z is the largest generation in American history and constitutes 27 percent of the country’s population.

This the most diverse generation by far, considered digital natives since they grew up with internet and during the rise of smartphones. They tend to be independent, hardworking, highly educated, higher demand for flexibility.

As you recruit members of Gen Z, what stands out? How are you adjusting your approach for them?

It’s important to customize the different recruitment tactics. Focusing on more social media efforts, possibly collaborating with influencers, improving the organization’s perception within the age group. We highlight our value proposition and the value the particular position brings to the organization. This helps them understand the importance of the role and the change to make a meaningful impact. Going beyond status quo is important.

How about a little Generation 101. How do you find Gen Z differs from millennials?

Gen Z are defined by their competitiveness, independence and wanting to be judged by their own merits. They are skilled at multitasking as they have always lived in the connected world.

What should organizations know about creating an optimal work environment that both attracts and retains Gen Z?

It’s important that organizations are offering flexibility, coaching opportunities from peers, providing meaningful work, work/life balance, clear development opportunities and social awareness — because they are digital natives.

What do you hope WIN attendees take away from this conversation?

Just how influential Gen Z is and how much of a positive impact organizations can realize when having them join the workforce. We can evolve with Gen Z and provide best practices to help retain and recruit top talent.

Great things are ahead, and I, for one, am excited to work with the next generation.

Click here to learn more and register for the WIN in Workforce Summit.

Chad Greenway to headline WIN in Workforce Summit

Workplace civility, freedom of speech, equal pay: Legal issues that also directly affect workforce

From striking the right balance between personal freedoms and workplace harmony to issues involving pay equity, employers have mounting issues to navigate in addition to workforce challenges.

Those topics that are considered workforce legislative issues will be the subject of a session at the upcoming WIN in Workforce Summit organized by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation on Oct. 28, headlined by Chad Greenway.

To learn more and register, click here.

Justin Smith, a shareholder of Woods, Fuller, Shultz & Smith PC, will be among the speakers.

Moderated by Sandra Wallace of First Premier Bank, the panel also includes Debra Owen of the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce and Marcella Prokop of Southeast Tech.

We sat down with Smith for a preview of the conversation.

This is a full topic, so let’s tackle each area first. What issues have surfaced in the workplace around civility, and what should employers and lawmakers be aware of?

In the last few decades, employers have become increasingly focused on fostering positive, collaborative workplaces. Workplaces are more productive and morale is higher among employees where civility is a priority. On the whole, workplace “civility” is not something lawmakers should have to address through statute, although some laws have been enacted in this area. In 2014, for example, Tennessee became the first state to pass a “Healthy Workplace Act,” which encourages anti-bullying and respectful workplace policies. Courts will not generally punish workplace harassment unless it implicates some “protected characteristic” under the law – i.e., sex, race, age, religion, national origin, disability or some other protected class.

Many of us would probably approach the concept of “civility” by citing the Golden Rule – treat others as you want to be treated. Much of the concept of “civility” can be addressed through proactive employer policies. Employer and workplace policies have been drafted for decades to include requirements for respectful interaction with co-workers and customers. More recently, employers have begun to draft policies to include guidelines on inclusiveness, viewpoint tolerance and anti-bullying. When formulating such policies, it is advisable to seek counsel from your employment law attorney.

How have freedom of speech issues been evolving in the workplace? What are the emerging themes there?

In general, the First Amendment prohibits the federal government from enacting laws that would restrict an individual’s right to say or express themselves how they choose. While the protections for freedom of speech have been expanded over time, the First Amendment has limited application in private workplaces. Even if your employer is a government entity, your speech is typically only protected if it involves an area of public concern. In South Dakota, most private employment is “at will,” meaning an employer can terminate an employee at any time, for any reason, without incurring legal liability. Even so, employer decisions motivated by employee speech can create legal liability. This is particularly true where the speech at issue could qualify as “concerted activity” or where an employer policy on employee speech only affects a certain, protected class of people.

Some states have expanded the protections afforded to freedom of speech in private workplaces, including prohibiting employers from influencing employees’ votes and prohibiting discrimination based on political affiliation of employees. Such issues in South Dakota are typically addressed through employee policies adopted by private employers. These types of policies must strike a delicate balance. On the one hand, employees can be allowed some freedom to discuss political, social and related topics with co-workers. On the other hand, employers must be careful to prevent freedom of speech from infringing on workplace productivity and civility. For these reasons, private employers should consult with human resources and legal experts when crafting such policies.

Equal pay has been an issue for decades, but what elements of it are top of mind or should be today?

This topic is mostly outside my wheelhouse as an attorney, although I have seen legislation introduced in Pierre during my lobbying practice. In 1963, Congress enacted the Equal Pay Act, making it illegal for employers to pay women lower wages than men for equal work on jobs requiring the same skill, effort and responsibility. Many South Dakotans do not realize that we have also had pertinent law on our books for over 50 years. State statute prohibits an employer from discriminating between employees on the basis of sex by paying a lower wage for comparable work. Violations of the statute can be grounds for affected employees to sue their employer to recover unpaid wages and attorneys’ fees. The statutes further protect employees from retaliatory action in response to reports or lawsuits. Apart from these types of laws, much of the issue of equal pay is left to the free market.

What should organizations know more broadly about themes you’re seeing in the legal world that could directly impact their ability to recruit and retain?

Starting with recruitment, the legal issues implicated with job postings, candidate research, interviews and job offers continue to keep HR staff busy. However, the rise of remote work and virtual conferencing has led to some legal nuances with workforce recruitment. When hiring remotely or for a remote position, HR staff must first identify the best way to advertise for candidates. Availability of technology can lead to disparate impact among prospective employees. There is also the security side of virtual recruitment, including the risks to confidential information and potential that interviews will be recorded. On the practical side, employers and HR staff must wrestle with the implications of never interacting with candidates face to face before — or even after — hiring.

Switching gears to employee retention, the current job market often gives employees more leverage in the areas of wages, benefits and workplace conditions. Where practicable, an increasing number of employees are pushing for the ability to work remotely. Employers and HR staff must balance employee requests against the realities of the employer’s industry and structure. From a legal standpoint, employers should consult with HR and legal professionals to consider the impact of giving new employees wages and other benefits comparable to existing personnel. Remote work will again raise security, confidentiality and related concerns for willing employers.

What do you hope WIN attendees take away from this conversation?

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The COVID pandemic has certainly highlighted issues like workplace civility, freedom of speech and equal pay. However, even before the pandemic, topics like these were on the minds of employers, employees and lawmakers. As always, it is the proactive businesses that will set the trends on how these issues are addressed. The WIN attendees are demonstrating their commitment to engaging with these and other important topics for the benefit of our local workforce and business community. I am grateful for the invitation to join the WIN conference and speak to these developing topics.

Click here to learn more and register for the WIN in Workforce Summit.

Gen Z is entering your workforce. Are you ready for them?

Former Minnesota Vikings Linebacker Chad Greenway to headline WIN in Workforce Summit

South Dakota native and former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway will headline the annual WIN in Workforce Summit on October 28 at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.

The annual workforce symposium brings together industry leaders, innovative educators, and business professionals from the upper Midwest region to prioritize, strategize, and energize workforce development.

Greenway, known for mental and physical resilience and strong work ethic, will kick off the event with a conversation on leadership.

“I’m excited about it,” Greenway said. “I love to break it down and tell the whole story about my background and where my leadership skills started.”

Long before he became a leader in the football huddle, Greenway gained leadership skills on his family farm in Mount Vernon, managing kids younger than he was. They built fences, moved cattle, and took on added responsibilities.

“That gave me the opportunity to be very selfless in my thought process of what it took to make a farm run and to thrive in that role and get better and strong,” he said. “Learning how to lead someone without an ego, I applied it in college, dropping back down and being a freshman and working your way up. Same thing in the NFL. The pressures that come with being a high pick and as a linebacker being a required leader in the huddle.”

In today’s workplace, there needs to be an emphasis on culture, he added.

“Are we a company people want to work for? Suppose the pool we’re hiring from has shrunk to essentially almost no pool. How will I attract that savvy young person coming out of college, or the veteran in the field you want to bring over? How do I separate myself?”

In business, as in football, it starts with fundamentals, he suggests.

“If you have a bad game or the team has a bad game, how do you right the ship? When you strip things back to fundamentals – footwork, responding to what I see in front of me, letting my body react – I always get back to my center. And I think companies have to get back to who they are,” Greenway said. “Set that culture, lean on that, and create an environment people want to be a part of.”

He’s also increasingly familiar with the newest generation entering the workforce, as a father of four ages four to 13 who coaches kids in basketball and soccer.

“This generation gets a little bit of a bad rap,” he said. “They don’t appear to be as hardworking as the generations that have come before, and I think that’s a fallacy in a sense because the work is just different now. Kids coming out of college are programming apps and building technology. We’re not cold calling for ad sales anymore. We’re working smarter to spread the word quicker, and we’re more efficient now than ever.”

No matter what the work, it gets back to being where people want to be, he added.

“How do I make it comfortable – not always fun, but an environment where kids want to come be part of that,” he said.

Greenway brings a valuable perspective to the topic of workforce and leadership, said Dana Dykhouse, president of First PREMIER Bank.

“We’ve had him speak to our staff before on lessons in leadership, and he has a really unique and great perspective on it,” he said. “He’s just got a great style and story from growing up in Mount Vernon to the bright lights of Iowa in college and his career with the Vikings.”

Chad Greenway’s leadership discussion kicks off at 12:00 Noon. Following Greenway, WIN Summit has nine breakout sessions with 43 talent and workforce experts. Experts will share their organizational strategies involved in talent development, attraction, and retention, to help and enhance your talent management initiatives. 

“WIN Summit break-out sessions have incredible and very tangible workforce tips to help organizations of all sizes,” shared Michelle Lavallee, CEO of South Dakota Children’s Home Society.” 

Human Resources professionals may also earn five continuing educational credits for attending WIN in Workforce Summit 2021 Telecast. 

“We’re thrilled to welcome Chad Greenway and grateful to First PREMIER for making it happen,” said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development. “His message about what talent today wants in employment is very timely and will set the tone for an incredibly valuable day. We look forward to connecting him and dozens of other experts with tactical strategies you can immediately apply back in the workplace.”

Click here to learn more and register for the WIN in Workforce Summit.

Secure Safe and Open for Business

Cybersecurity will continue to grow as technology becomes digitally connected. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor predicts that the demand for cybersecurity jobs will continue at 31% until 2029. Based on the Internet of Things and cloud computing, learn from nationally recognized experts the best pathways forward to develop, attract, retain this competitive talent to grow and expand your organization’s footprint.

Based on the Internet of Things and cloud computing, learn from nationally recognized experts the best pathways forward to develop, attract, retain this competitive talent to grow and expand your organization’s footprint.

This content was originally recorded from our 2020 WIN in Workforce Summit.

This video is approved for SHRM Educational Credits.

Talent Retention 101 Dinosaurs Deficits or Diversity

Earn SHRM Recertification credits by watching “Talent Retention 101. Dinosaurs, Deficits, or Diversity.” with Avera Health, Marsh & McLennan, and Smithfield Foods. This video highlights the substantial diversity and inclusion initiatives leading health, financial services, and manufacturing companies have implemented to increase operational and organizational efficiencies.

This content was originally recorded from our 2020 WIN in Workforce Summit.

Innovation SF: How Today’s Talent is Solving Tomorrow’s Greatest Challenges.

Watch this to appreciate how generational technical skills and abilities are enabling growth within the bio, life, and health sciences communities of Sioux Falls.

This content was originally recorded from our 2020 WIN in Workforce Summit.

Zero to Seven Days: The New Talent Recruiting Playbook

“Zero to Seven. The New Recruiting Playbook,” shares turnkey talent management efficiencies involving recruiting, on-boarding, engagement, and exiting employees. Discover interesting tips and best practices from experts in the biotech, health, and manufacturing sectors.

This content was originally recorded from our 2020 WIN in Workforce Summit.