EMPLOYERS OF CHOICE
2 | Sunday, September 4, 2016
Cedar Valley boasts a number of familyfocused employers KARRIS GOLDEN
The 2016 Courier Employers of Choice honorees comprise an eclectic group. This promises diverse opportunities in the Cedar Valley. From health care to manufacturing, those who lead this year’s honorees say that ensuring employees are fulfilled and respected is good for business. Those who nominated Cedar Valley employers say they view their workplace as home, their co-workers as family and their work as vital. These employees feel they can innovate, share, teach and contribute to their companies’ success and growth. Despite the variety among recipients, they employed many of the same concepts and ideologies create an optimal workplace and culture. The similarities are telling. Each has: Excellent health, life and retirement insurance benefits and other traditional perks, such as generous paid time off (some offer employee stock ownership programs, too). Company-funded education and development as well as financial support of volunteerism. Clear, transparent methods for soliciting, collecting and acting on employee ideas, feedback and suggestions (some provide incentives for doing so). In addition, most recipients employ a formal method for surveying employees at least annually. Employees respond anonymously. The company collects feedback and compares it to peer data. Managers look for strengths and opportuni-
2016 Employers of Choice Buchanan County Health Center
Customer focus is first on the list of CFU’s core values, and employees take pride in providing the best possible service to Cedar Falls families and businesses. CFU staff members turned out in force this summer to welcome guests, staff displays, lead tours and serve refreshments at the grand opening celebration for the new Prairie Lakes Solar garden. More than 1,200 CFU electric customers purchased solar energy units to build this community-owned project.
Grundy National Bank
CFU’s reputation built on high employee standards, core values
Kryton Engineered Metal
Cedar Falls Utilities Community Bank & Trust DISTek Integration Inc.
Next Generation Wireless PDCM Insurance Peters Construction UnityPoint-Allen Hospital Waverly Health Center Western Home Communities ties, actively using the information to make improvements. Among this year’s recipients, all are most proud of their efforts to promote health, wellness and work-life balance. Within these pages, you’ll read about how such efforts are adapted to meet industry-specific needs. It makes sense. Helping an employee become healthier may make her feel emboldened and empowered by her newfound vigor. In turn, her confidence may produce positive workplace effects. Consider, too, the performance of an autonomous employee. By managing his own workload, there’s no need to choose between completing a project and attending his son’s recital. He’s so appreciative he consistently produces excellent work and helps others do the same.
CEDAR FALLS — Cedar Falls Utilities works hard to make its employees proud. In an industry that offers exciting innovations and evolving technologies, the public utility views its workforce as a precious resource. “CFU offers meaningful and challenging work in an environment that nurtures a culture of support and respect for each other,” said CFU President Jim Krieg. “Our reputation in the community is stellar because of the high standards and core values that are set for employees.” Molly Cormaney is among the staffers who appreciate high standards and regularly strive to exceed expectations. “Employees and management make every effort to learn from mistakes and commit to not repeating them,” she said. “I am very proud to work for a company that is committed to such a high standard of performance. I believe employees see it as a vote of confidence in their abilities, and we work to maintain that confidence. We really hate to disappoint our customers.” That attitude is common among employees, said Krieg. He believes this sense of responsibility helps CFU employees strike the right balance between
Cedar Falls Utilities Address: 1 Utility Parkway, Cedar Falls Phone: (319) 266-1761 Website: www.CFUNet.net Employees: 196 Business focus: municipal provider of communications, gas, water and electrical services Leads the field in: providing innovative, high-quality services — acknowledged by a 2015 visit from President Barack Obama. family, community and career.
“I’m honored to have celebrated my one-year anniversary with CFU,” said Alex Chittenden. “I don’t state that lightly. It has truly been an honor to work amongst such wonderful people. I have two children, and thanks to the support from the leadership, I can spend the time I need with them.”
CFU provides staff with opportunities for professional development at every point in a career, i.e., apprenticeship, tuition reimbursement and continuing education programs. Sheri Ubben has been with CFU for 26 years. She went to
career college and found the company was willing to build on her investment. “CFU provided me with an opportunity to grow in my field, which I appreciate,” she said. “They have provided me with training needed for the various jobs I have held and an income which has grown my family and provided me the opportunity to live a comfortable life.” Ubben and her co-workers also appreciate that the company encourages community involvement through United Way, the American Heart Association Heart Walk, Toys for Tots and others. “A strong staff comes from not just continued training and learning but from encouraging them to help others have opportunities, too,” Krieg said. Terri Roberts has worked at CFU for 35 years and loves her job. She is especially proud of bonds between employees. “(Staff) committees are great because they represent all employees, whether they are union, salary or hourly,” she said. “We all work together for a common cause.” CFU’s wellness program is among Roberts’ favorites. It includes an on-site fitness center, healthy snacks throughout work spaces and reimbursements for reaching fitness benchmarks.