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One might not need to even enter the building to deduce that Insurance Program Managers Group Inc. is a fun place to work. Those kegs of beer you notice in parking lot? They are there for the company's Oktoberfest bash.
Susan Oswalt, human resource manager for IPMG, said the St. Charles, Ill.-based insurance brokerage is constantly thinking about new ways to demonstrate to employees that their efforts are appreciated. “We are not afraid to try something new,” she said.
For example, to help employees enjoy the bucolic setting around the company's headquarters, the company recently purchased cruiser-style bicycles for the office, Ms. Oswalt said.
Employees looking for a more active lunchtime can avail themselves of the company's on-site workout room and showers, she said. And to keep employees eating healthfully, IPMG has fresh fruit delivered to the office on a weekly basis.
“We are really unique and have a very lovely location,” she said. “It's the perfect storm for a wonderful job.”
Ms. Oswalt credits much of the company's commitment to employees and the laid-back vibe to the leadership of IMPG President and CEO Gregg Peterson. “He makes people feel valued when they are here,” she said. “Everybody knows that their opinions count.”
The company's corporate structure, known as an employee stock ownership plan, gives employees stock in the company as part of their compensation and helps encourage cohesiveness, Ms. Oswalt said.
“We are 100% employee-owned,” she said. “Everything we do every day affects what we ultimately bring home.”
This employee buy-in is evident in the anonymous surveys the company conducts to elicit employee sentiment, where respondents use terms such as “caring” and “family-like” to describe the work environment at IPMG.
The positive atmosphere in the office also helps IPMG take better care of clients, Ms. Oswalt said, noting that many of the firm's clients recently traveled to St. Charles to help the company celebrate its 16th birthday.
“We weren't sure how many people were going to come, but by the time the party was due to start at 3, people were lined up out the door,” she said. “It was a great feeling that people wanted to come and meet the people here.”