Iowa City Area Development Group Wins Economic Development Award for Helping Regional Companies Use Workplace Culture and a Talent Attraction and Retention Strategy

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In June of 2013, the Iowa City Area Development Group launched a series of workplace culture programs to help employers in Eastern Iowa realize that today's workers have a choice in companies, locations and communities, and culture plays a key role. This program received an award from the Mid-America Economic Development Council on Monday, December 8, for first place in the business retention and expansion category.

TEAM Centered Workplaces in Iowa's Creative Corridor

We noticed that companies that were showing high value and low risk scores were also receiving accolades as some of the “fastest growing” and “best places to work” in our region, so workplace culture became a priority.

The Mid-America Economic Development Council presented its annual Economic Development awards at the 2014 Mid-America Competitiveness Conference & Site Selector Forum, held December 7-9 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Chicago, and the Iowa City Area Development (ICAD) Group received First Place in the Business Retention and Expansion Category for their entry “Making Iowa City and Iowa’s Creative Corridor a Hub for Workplace Culture.”

Mark Nolte, ICAD Group’s President, said this initiative stems from data collected through its annual existing industry survey. “As we came out of the recession, we started to see a greater divide among area companies struggling for workers, losing workforce, and those who had unfavorable opinions on local workforce, versus companies that were seeing year-over-year growth,” said Nolte. “In fact, we noticed that companies that were showing high value and low risk scores were also receiving accolades as some of the 'fastest growing' and 'best places to work' in our region, so workplace culture became a priority.”

In June of 2013, ICAD Group launched a series of workplace culture programs to help employers realize that today's workers have a choice in companies, locations and communities, and culture plays a key role.

Included in that programming were visits from Hagie Manufacturing, an agriculture implement manufacturer in Clarion, Iowa, to share their story of transformational culture and rethinking the work environment to attract talented people; promoting World Blu’s “Democtratic Workplaces” certification for companies in the region (3 area companies were certified this past year); and the full-day Workplace (R)evolution conference, held this past summer in Cedar Rapids, that attracted attendees representing more than 70 companies from throughout Iowa’s Creative Corridor.

Plans are in place for Workplace (R)evolution 2015 in Iowa City and a workplace culture educational series at Kirkwood Community College. Additionally, a workplace culture coalition has since formed in the region known as TEAM, a concept promoted by ICAD Group and Diversity Focus. With TEAM, companies declare their intent to become TEAM Centered Workplaces and work toward greater internal collaboration and employee autonomy, through Trust, Enjoyment, Accountability and Managing the Whole Person.

Linda Barnes, Vice President of Organizational Agility for Geonetric, says creating a great workplace culture is critical to attracting and retaining top employees. “ICAD Group’s TEAM concept brings that to life,” said Barnes. “Being part of a coalition that meets monthly to share ideas and practices is invaluable as we grow our company here in the Corridor.”

The TEAM Centered Workplace coalition currently consists of 24 regional employers and continues to add new members monthly. Participating employers are in varied disciplines, from banking to educational testing, software design to advanced manufacturing, with operations/offices in all seven counties of Iowa’s Creative Corridor.

“When MediRevv first learned about the TEAM initiative founded by our partners at ICAD Group, we immediately saw the value to our organization as well as the opportunity to our Creative Corridor community,” added Brad Baldwin, Vice President of Operations at MediRevv. “The ideals of the TEAM initiative are foundational to building the human capital it takes to win in our business. While our mindset at MediRevv was already geared towards these principles, the TEAM initiative has allowed us to continue our momentum and share the ROI of our investments we experienced internally with our community partners.”

Companies looking to learn more about TEAM Centered Workplaces can visit http://www.icadgroup.com/team.

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Eric Hanson
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