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Centier Bank, General Insurance Services proffer advice on creating company culture

Centier Bank's corporate center in Merrillville.

Any businesses interested in cultivating a good company culture could learn from two of the best, Centier Bank and General Insurance Services.

Merrillville-based Centier and Michigan City-based General Insurance Services, both frequently named "Best Place to Work in Indiana" by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, told Northwest Indiana business leaders how to make a workplace engaging at a free "Break Through" seminar this week. The next talk –  “Succession or Sell? What you need to know, but no one wants to talk about" – takes place at 8 a.m. March 14 at the Centier Corporate Center at 600 E 84th Ave in Merrillville.

Chrisanne Christ, Senior Partner in Human Resource Development at Centier Bank, told a crowd of Region business professionals that building a strong company culture can help retain employees and improve the bottom line by increasing productivity and reducing turnover. 

“It is so important to learn what is important to your employees, how they would define your current culture, then develop a plan around those needs,” Christ said. “Needs change over time, so you have to implement a consistent tool to receive regular, honest feedback from them. Also, learn from other businesses that have great cultures. Sharing best practices makes us a stronger community!”

General Insurance Services President Craig Menne said a business ideally should build morale and communicate its values to its employees, so they can serve as brand ambassadors.

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“Everyone in our organization has a flip book on their desk with our 33 fundamentals, and every Monday morning, I send out an email about this week’s fundamental and how we can apply that to a situation we know is ahead of us or how we can use it to learn from something that just happened,” Menne said. “These fundamentals are aligned with our values, our short-term strategy, and our long-term strategy."

Centier Bank hopes the ongoing series of seminars prove useful to the local business community, said Anthony Contrucci, vice president of community relations and business development.

“The response we have received from the community has been humbling. I often say, 'just because you build it doesn’t always mean they come,' he said. "The support, attendance, and feedback have been incredible. And we have been blessed with wonderful speakers. Those who truly understand the concept of 'Break Through' and who can take complex subjects and make them both fun and easy to digest. We are pleased that we have been able to produce content that appears to be making a real difference in our community.”

For more information, visit centier.com.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.