Want to know how to outperform your competition, help your employees be more productive, and keep them around for longer? Well, according to an article by Growth Everywhere, the key is to make them happy.
The best way to help our employees enjoy coming to work every morning is to create a company culture that promotes openness, positivity, and enthusiasm. “Company culture” can be one of those nebulous, hard-to-define terms that get thrown around often, but it's really valuable to figure out how to build and maintain a healthy culture at work. Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends, defines company culture as,
“The accumulation of the attitudes and behaviors of everyone in your company – starting with you as a [leader]. If companies had personalities, your culture would be the personality of your company. Culture is based on values — what you as [a leader] and what people in your company value and think is important.”
Haas & Wilkerson Insurance has a long tradition of valuing our employee's time and talent. We strive to create a positive and productive workplace in which everyone is able to take pride in their work and excel. Let's take a look at three key ways to build a company culture that will keep us and our employees at the top of our game.
Have you ever had the infectious rhythm of Michael Franti's, “Say Hey (I Love You)“, stuck in your head? If you don't recognize the name, click the link and I bet you'll you'll be humming along in no time! I recently had the privilege of sitting in on a live recording with Franti himself at KCPT The Bridge's studio. It was fascinating to be in the room as The Bridge interviewed this talented and uplifting performer! To be present as thousands listened in on the station interview was a very cool experience and a great reminder of why we support 90.9 The Bridge. I want to take a moment to share what I learned and talk about our new segment: Give Back Fridays.
Do It For The Love
Michael Franti is an excellent example of how The Bridge selects well-known entertainers to interview for the listening pleasure of Kansas City and the surrounding areas. Franti is more than just an internationally known singer, rapper, and poet. He is an energetic humanitarian and the founder of the non-profit Do It For The Love. Do It For The Love is a wish-granting foundation that states “through the healing power of music, our goal is to inspire joy, hope, and lasting celebratory memories in the face of severe illness or trauma.” Franti’s non-profit works with managers and performers to bring the power of his foundation to sick children, wounded veterans, and many many more.
There are over 1,200 waterparks in North America with around 85 million visitors each year. That's quite an industry to be a part of, huh? I think back to last summer when Haas & Wilkerson Insurance was the lucky winner of a fundraising competition in support of Healthy Communities Wyandotte County. As the winner, we secured our spot on the very first public boat to go down Verruckt, the world's tallest water slide, at Schlitterbahn in Kansas City, Kansas!
Haas & Wilkerson Insurance has been in the waterpark industry for over 20 years. In October of 2009, we were fortunate enough to expand our industry relationship when we partnered with the World Waterpark Association (WWA) to create a specialized insurance program for their members. As Chris Swartz, past chair of the WWA's Board of Directors, put it at the General Session,
“The WWA Board decided the time was right to leverage the current market and take action to shape our future by developing a dedicated WWA insurance program that will give us influence and leverage in the insurance marketplace and help us avoid skyrocketing premiums or loss of coverage in the future.”
Ever faced a difficult obstacle that left you wondering what direction to take? I think we all face moments like this in our lives, which is why I want to share some inspiration with you. Accelerent is an organization designed to help local decision-makers build relationships with each other and gain inspiration as they grow their businesses. Each month, one of the associate partners hosts a breakfast featuring an inspirational speaker.
Accelerent, powered by Haas & Wilkerson Insurance, hosts nine breakfasts a year. Last month's breakfast featured Bob Losure. Bob's story of overcoming adversity to rise to even greater heights was an inspiration to all of us who were present, and I'd like to share some highlights of his powerful message with you.
Independence Day is fresh on my mind after a weekend of fireworks and fun. During all the festivities, I found myself reminiscing about the annual 4th of July parade that was held in my neighborhood growing up. My sister and I would decorate our bikes with crepe paper, balloons, and all things patriotic. A neighbor would dress as Uncle Sam and off we'd go, hooting and hollering through the neighborhood in celebration of our nation's birthday.
Grilled burgers and hotdogs, watermelon seed spitting contests, and fireworks continue to be my favorite 4th of July activities, especially now that I have kids of my own. It's an important day for the Wilkerson family, and one we celebrate heartily!
The Meaning of Independence
With all the fun of the 4th, it's easy to forget what it truly means to be independent and what our forefathers fought for to give us the freedoms we so easily take for granted. To quote Nelson Mandela,
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
When my grandfather, Ralph Wilkerson, and Al Haas founded Haas & Wilkerson Insurance in 1939, independence was on their minds. They wanted to build an insurance brokerage that worked for the client, not the insurance carrier. That is something that has remained a priority, even as our third generation leads the company. We still pride ourselves on being independent, and we seek to maintain our freedom to work for the client at every turn.
What do Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, KISS vocalist Gene Simmons, and AOL co-founder Steve Case have in common? All are alumni of Junior Achievement of Middle America. (As is my stepdad – who taught my junior high economics class – but we’ll just keep that between us.) Junior Achievement (JA) has inspired many well-known movers and shakers of America, and with a program focused on “educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy,” is that really much of a surprise?
Empowering Young People To Succeed
The mission of Junior Achievement is simple: to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in the global economy. This program, which was founded nearly 100 years ago and has been active in Kansas City for the past 60, is powered by volunteers who impart their personal and professional experiences and skills in the classroom. Volunteers help students connect the skills they learn in school to their success in work and life. This approach makes learning fun and relevant while also encouraging active participation within their communities.
Junior Achievement is the largest organization dedicated to empowering young people. JA gives students the knowledge and tools they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and financial choices. In the end, this program provides endless advantages for students, schools, and society. Coming from a background in education, I truly understand the value that Junior Achievement’s volunteers bring to the table. If you’re looking for an opportunity to share your skills and improve the lives of young people, consider volunteering!
We always hear our kids and the younger generation talking about some new form of social media or the next smartphone innovation. The times are changing quickly and they have been for quite a while! Keeping up with all of these trends may be a daunting task, but the truth is, more and more insurance clients are adapting to this new technological paradigm, and they’re looking for insurance providers who do the same. There’s no substitute for face-to-face interaction, but the future of the insurance industry will be increasingly tied to technology. Let’s take a look at what that might mean and how companies like Haas & Wilkerson Insurance will likely be engaging with technology as our industry changes with the times.
These days, consumers are skipping out on direct contact with insurers and resorting to search engines, websites, and blogs like this one for facts and information about potential purchases. The future of consumer choice will rely heavily on their own research skills, which means that insurance professionals need to be active and engaged online. Embracing this change is one way in which we are adapting to the future of the insurance industry, because consumers are increasingly driving the demand for an updated experience.