Helping employees feel at home

Posted on Sep 27, 2018 :: Editor , Editor’s Insights
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Talk to any business owner or manager and it won’t be long before they mention the struggle they face with attracting and retaining quality employees. Developing a welcoming environment that allows employees to embrace their creativity while having a little fun is one way businesses can attract workers and set themselves apart. That’s something Rick Kolstad, founder of LLC in Fond du Lac, knows well.

Walk into Wisnet’s office in Fond du Lac and you immediately get the vibe that this isn’t your traditional workplace. Whether it is the nearly full bike rack, the Pac-Man machine in the lunchroom/meeting area, the desktops filled with fun accessories and toys or the iron spiral staircase connecting the building’s two floors, it is quickly apparent how the marketing, web hosting and branding business won several awards for its culture and for being a great place for young professionals. On a tour of the building, Kolstad told me many visitors say they wish they could stay and work there for the afternoon. I had to admit I felt the same.

Wisnet’s culture fuels its employees’ creativity, allowing the business to create dynamic branding and websites for its clients along with developing apps so businesses can create and sustain their own workplace culture. You can read more about Wisnet’s unique workplace culture in Nikki Kallio’s cover story starting on page 24.

Once employees are on board, it is essential to make sure they feel welcome. For some non-white workers, that can be tough. There are several initiatives and organizations focused on helping all workers feel at home at work and in their communities. Fit Oshkosh, for example, not only provides customized training for corporate clients throughout the United States and Canada to fit their specific needs, but also educates employees and community members about implicit bias and offers Color-Brave conversations. You can read more about Fit Oshkosh in this month’s Insight Insider by reporter Jessica Thiel starting on page 35.

For job applicants new to the region, employers sometimes turn to Dave Sebora of Relocate Fox Cities to help show them the way. Sebora takes job finalists to visit different parts of the area to look at housing options, community attractions and activities, and schools (if they have kids) to help them begin to feel at home. Sebora says hiring new employees is a big expense for businesses, so spending money to help get settled is worth the cost. You can read more about Relocate Fox Cities on page 47.

coming up

2018 Mergers and Acquisitions Forum
Making a transition in your business can be the most significant financial decision you ever make, but many people are unsure of what to do. Experienced industry professionals will help you learn more about the process at the 2018 Mergers and Acquisitions Forum starting at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 16 at the Bridgewood Resort Hotel & Conference Center in Neenah. The free forum features a panel discussion with experts on mergers and acquisitions as well as a number of breakout sessions looking at specific topics. Go to to learn more or to register for this informative event.

Manufacturing First
Bob Chapman will share his thoughts on “Truly Human Leadership” at the eighth annual Manufacturing First Expo & Conference on Oct. 24 at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay. Visit to stay in the know about this year’s event.

An extra dose of Insight

Wisnet founder Rick Kolstad believes in having a workplace that inspires creativity, whether that means having an inspiring space that fuels the imagination or allowing his employees to take time off to volunteer in the community. That kind of thinking led NEWaukee to award Wisnet a Bubbler Award for being one of the best places for millenials to work in Wisconsin. Listen to Kolstad discuss how fostering a creative environment can help businesses attract and retain workers.

Kolstad’s interview is just one of the many Insight has done during the past 10 years with New North business leaders that you can find online at

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