Right-Brained Workforce Development Strategies

Written by: Steve Dusek

Photos Contributed by Dakota Business Lending

With the workforce shortage in North Dakota, small businesses throughout the state have been working hard to attract, retain, and develop quality employees. Because of the varying sizes, locations, and industries that exist in North Dakota, it appears as though there is not one “magical” strategy that solves this issue. Small business owners and entrepreneurs are forced to be creative in the way they work to stabilize and grow their workforce like never before.  For this issue, we wanted to take a deeper look at how some of North Dakota’s own small businesses used the right-side of the brain to further develop their workforce.

Jeff Shipley – Keller Williams Inspire Realty

– real estate company in Fargo, ND

Keller Williams Inspire Realty logo

Challenge: Meeting the ever-changing interests and needs of his 130+ employees to promote staff retention and culture development.

Creative solution: Offering a community and family-focused approach that emphasizes self-development and role satisfaction.

“We’re a very transparent company that pours back into the people. By offering over 1,100 training events throughout the year and giving people the freedom to be in a role that best suits them, their needs and their interest. This culture and approach attracts other people because it’s more than work – it’s a family.” – Jeff Shipley, KW Inspire Realty

Kylee Geer – Minot Center for Pediatric Therapy

– occupational and speech-language therapy clinic in Minot, ND

Kylee Geer
Kylee Geer, Owner

Challenge: Competing with the work schedule of school-based occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists and recruiting new graduates.

Creative solution: Visiting with local colleges about job opportunities and offering unique benefits such as four-day work week and short-term disabilities plan.

“Speech pathologists and occupational therapists are really attracted to the school setting. We’ve had to be more proactive with reaching out to future grads about our clinic and any opportunities. In addition, we have worked to compete with school system benefits by offering a four-day work week as well as a short-term disabilities plan, which helps pay for maternity leave – a big need in a female-dominated field.” – Kylee Geer, Minot Center for Pediatric Therapy

Guy Moos – Baker Boy

– bakery manufacturer in Dickinson, ND

Baker Boy logo

Challenge: Offering competitive compensation since the oil boom and plummeting unemployment rates. 

Creative solution: Investing in automation and innovation as a way to pay better and stay competitive.

“We’ve made huge investments in automation in order to stay competitive in our compensation. By automating our bun and donut production, we can produce over 17,000 more pieces an hour with the same amount of people, giving us the financial ability to pay better. In addition, our employees love working for a place that is innovative and where they can become experts in state-of-the-art technology.” -Guy Moos, Baker Boy

Lipp, Carlson, Witucki, & Associates, LLC

– psychology clinic in Grand Forks, ND

Lipp, Carlson, Witucki, & Associates, LLC logo

Challenge: Hiring clinical psychologists that want to work in North Dakota and for a private practice rather than a clinic.

Creative solution: Changing and rebuilding the clinic’s model to hire social workers and other types of mental health professionals that can meet the need.

“Clinical psychologists in town and even in North Dakota are really hard to hire. By opening up our clinic to other types of mental health professionals other than psychologists, we have been able to attract more employees and be a more encompassing medical provider. Personally, reaching out to these professionals made it a lot easier.” – Brenda King, Lipp, Carlson, Witucki, & Associates, LLC

The solutions of these four businesses were not something huge and elaborate. Instead, these innovative business owners took a look at the needs of their employees and found a simple solution that coincided with what they value as a company.  

What we’ve noticed is that, whether it’s a bakery manufacturer, psychology clinic, real estate company or occupational/speech therapy clinic – all of varying sizes and locations throughout the state – perhaps these workforce challenges can be figured out in a new and innovative way. If you’re like these right-brained business owners, you can find creative solutions to these challenges and opportunities for growth that will help move your business forward. Congratulations to these four small businesses and their success!

To learn more about Keller Williams Inspire Realty, Minot Center for Pediatric Therapy, Baker Boy, and Lipp, Carlson, Witucki, & Associates, LLC, read their success stories at www.dakotabusinesslending.com/success-stories

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Steve Dusek is the president and CEO of Dakota Business Lending. He has over twenty-eight years of experience in managing and delivering non-traditional lending solutions for small business in rural America and in maintaining successful business cultures.