Corrigan Krause Named One of Smart Business’ 2024 Smart Culture Honorees

by Mary Varano

The culture at Corrigan Krause is incredibly important to all of us at Corrigan Krause. Here’s how we develop and share our culture:

How Has Corrigan Krause Created a Culture Where People Want to Work?

We Use Social Media

Sharing our culture on our social media platforms works as a constant cycle of authentic support for our staff, giving them public recognition for the hard work they perform every day. This support, in turn, cultivates the culture we’re so proud of. Our followers, who include current, former and future employees, clients, prospects, and more, see our posts, strengthening their understanding of the excellent workforce Corrigan Krause has. After all, it’s the people at Corrigan Krause who make our culture.

Our staff not only sees our posts but has a hand in their creation. Our marketing team works closely with our staff to get to the heart of who they are through one-on-one interviews. Our employees dedicate their time, effort and expertise to achieving a promotion, joining a leadership group, or mentoring each other, so we want as much detail as possible when we share that good news on our social media platforms. There’s always more to a story than a simple title update.

These posts also serve as a mechanism for our staff to publicly show how proud they are of their colleague, giving them the motivation to continue striving to be better than before. This is what creates the cycle of good news we share.

In addition to our staff’s achievements, we also feature the creative perks and benefits that are integral to our culture. During our busy tax season, we hold stress busters like “power hour” where we bring a cart of snacks and drinks around to everyone’s desk for an afternoon pick up, corn hole and putt-putt contests for some friendly competition, and we bring in meals so our staff doesn’t have to worry about planning all their meals for the week. Outside of the office, we host deadline celebrations, employee golf outings, family fun events, and a holiday party. We use social media to share the comradery these events develop.

Lastly, showcasing our culture on social media helps our recruiting efforts. Professionals are able to see our culture in action and explore opportunities to join our growing team.

We Communicate

Communication is absolutely key to our culture, both internally and externally.

Our internal communication efforts are driven by employee engagement. When our staff boots up their computers for the day, the home page for their internet browser is SeeK – Corrigan Krause’s intranet. The page is set up with scrolling images that link out to more information, a newsfeed, quick links to documents and programs, and, most popularly, the scrolling slides of personal “out of office” photos our staff. All of this content is submitted and maintained by our staff, ensuring that it is the exactly information they need to not only successfully meet the need of our clients, but also stay connected with each other. Celebrating a son’s first piano recital, a daughter’s college graduation, or a new puppy joining a family, our team cares about what is going on outside the office in the lives of their colleagues.

When we launched SeeK in 2021, we knew this needed to be a “living” intranet, one that would be updated to meet the developing needs of our staff. In addition to keeping the resources continually updated, we hold annual focus groups to talk through bigger updates to the design and functionality. As much as SeeK is set up to communicate with our staff, it’s also a way for our staff to communicate with leadership about how they’d like information disseminated. This is another cycle of communication that is integral to our culture.

Teams is also a tool we use to stay in touch with each other, whether we’re across the office or working remotely. In addition to the colleague-to-colleague messaging capabilities, we also take full advantage of the channel features. Teams are able to have impromptu conversations on Teams, even if the team members are located in different locations.

We also host an annual state of the firm presentation and regular staff meetings where leadership shares strategic goals and plans, status updates, and the vision for the future of Corrigan Krause. On a more personal level, every staff member has an annual performance review where they work with their manager to develop goals for the coming year.

Communicating externally is also important to Corrigan Krause. We take great pride in the content we create and share on our four social media platforms – LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. We highlight all that our wonderful staff does – promotions, community involvement, panelist appearances, etc. It is all shared with our followers to show we support our staff as they grow and develop into experts and leaders.

We also connect with our newsletter subscribers through regular email blasts. From general interest to information specific to our specialty areas, we send out important information aimed at keeping our subscribers up to date on the latest accounting and industry news, deadline reminders, and Corrigan Krause-sponsored events. These emails serve as a way to keep in touch with our subscribers, without any sales requests. Part of our culture includes educating our subscribers and reminding them that Corrigan Krause is ready to assist with anything they might need.

We Built a Hybrid Culture

After abruptly moving to 100% remote work like much of the rest of the country for the majority of 2020, Corrigan Krause piloted a hybrid work schedule for our staff. This program proved so beneficial to both the effectiveness and happiness of our staff, that it is now an official, long-term policy at Corrigan Krause. Our culture of communication allowed open dialogue between leadership and staff so, even when many were being asked to return to the office full time, our team could continue working the schedule that worked best for them where it worked best for them.

Our hybrid model asks staff to be in the office three days a week or 50% of the time (depending on our busy season), but it’s entirely up to our staff to determine when that is. Every staff member has a laptop that is capable of logging into our secure workspace from anywhere. This flexibility allows our team members to prioritize their families and personal lives, just as Corrigan Krause prioritizes our staff. Our culture is built on prioritizing a real work/life balance and cementing our hybrid work model is just the latest tool we leverage to ensure our staff is supported both in and outside the office. In the past year, we’ve had two staff members need to work from remote locations for part of the year and another need to workdays at the hospital as they supported a parent through chemotherapy. Our hybrid policy allowed these staff members to not only stay a part of the team, but seamlessly connected to their supportive colleagues.

Our firm headquarters also supports our hybrid work model. It is an open, bright, single-floor layout that makes it much easier to collaborate across departments and get to know more team members more deeply, but it also has dedicated Teams rooms and state-of-the-art technology to enhance virtual meetings.

Our Culture Impacts the Success of Our Firm

The focus of our firm is on ensuring the health and happiness of our employees. We believe this positively impacts our clients – the key to our success as a company – in a number of ways.

Our culture has a direct impact on retention and, in the thick of “the great resignation”, we had incredibly high employee retention. The tenure of our staff also remains high – over 25% of our staff has been with the firm ten years or longer. The longer our team members stay with us, the better the bond our team has and the better we can serve our clients and grow as a firm.

Our hybrid work policy allows our staff to better balance their work and personal lives, giving them the opportunity to make adjustments to their schedule as they meet the needs of their families and our clients. With less stress surrounding unexpected interruptions, like a sick child being home or taking a parent to an appointment, our staff stays healthier and happier. Happier and healthier staff are better able to exceed the expectations of our clients and continue to find creative ways to solves problems.

As we mentioned above, sharing our culture on our social media platforms works as a constant cycle of authentic support for our staff, giving them public support for the hard work they perform every day. Clients benefit from our engaged staff’s attention to detail and creativity – just two of the money skills needed to support the unique needs of our clients – they’ve been able to develop through the mentorship and teamwork of their Corrigan Krause colleagues. We promote the type of culture we foster at Corrigan Krause so we can attract the type of talent who wants to work collaboratively with their team. Corrigan Krause clients don’t just have a few accounting professionals on their team, they have the whole Corrigan Krause team working to make their dreams a reality.

Finally, our culture allows an intern to knock on a director’s door at any given time and an appointment to meet is not always necessary. This policy contributes to transparency and all team members feeling comfortable to not only provide feedback and express concerns, but also approach anyone and any level at the firm. Our leaders want to hear from our younger staff.

We Continually Improve

On a yearly basis, we survey our employees and ask questions like: “What three words describe the culture at Corrigan Krause?”. The question is intentionally open-ended because we want to hear exactly what staff thinks of our culture. Depending on what words are used, we know if we need to focus more efforts on communication, mentorship, team building, etc.

Most recently, employees responded with: Caring, Family, Fun, Work-Life Balance, Team-Oriented, Welcoming, Knowledgeable, Supportive and Growing, among others. These words stand out because according to the survey group we use to disseminate the survey, they were used more often at Corrigan Krause than at the benchmark organizations.

We also conduct exit interviews with staff leaving our firm, as well as formal 90-day check-in interview and informal 30–60-day check-ins with new employees to make sure our on-boarding process is meeting their needs. From there, we hold annual performance reviews to ensure we’re setting meaningful goals that benefit both our employees and the firm.

All this information comes back to our leadership team where changes and adjustments are made as often as they are needed. We hold a variety of strategic planning workshops to gain feedback and input from our upper management group throughout the year as well. Especially after the last two years, we know staying flexible and responsive is vital to creating a supportive culture for our team.

Life at Corrigan Krause

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