New North: Wipfli receives 2020 workplace excellence award

NEW NORTH, June 10, 2021 – Wipfli, a top 20 accounting and business consulting firm in the U.S. with significant operations in Northeast Wisconsin, has been named as the winner of the 2020 New North Workplace Excellence Award. Selected from nominated companies in the 18-county region, Wipfli representatives accepted the honor at the New North Summit, held June 10 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

The award recognizes organizations within the New North region who are improving their competitive advantage through people practices that lead to successful business outcomes. Sponsored by Right Management, businesses are evaluated for the award based on employee engagement, business outcomes and overall success.

“We are honored to present Wipfli with the New North Workplace Excellence Award,” says Barb LaMue, president and CEO of New North Inc. “They are a long-time pillar of our regional business community, and illustrate how ongoing evolution of people and business practices creates positive results. We salute how Wipfli encourages and supports its Wipfli family to give back to local causes and is a leader in its diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.”

Wipfli has offices in eight Wisconsin cities, including Green Bay and Appleton locations within the New North region. It serves businesses of various sizes, ranging from large public and private companies, to closely held family-owned operations. Wipfli works in more than a dozen industries, providing a wide range of client services.

The company attributes its underlying success to the Wipfli Way, service excellence guidelines which provide its associates with a feeling of greater purpose and value. Under the Wipfli Way, when making decisions associates first ask, ‘What is the right thing to do?’ and consider how their decision will affect the people it touches.

Building upon the Wipfli Way, as a client service differentiator Wipfli expanded its business model to include a more comprehensive consultative approach. In addition, Wipfli embedded what it refers to as the “outward mindset.” This empathy-based philosophy encourages associates to see others as people who have unique challenges and concerns. It reinforces that associates should look for opportunities to help others. It also helps to create a focus on and an understanding of what keeps clients up at night.

Having created an appealing and distinct culture, Wipfli has seen results in the attraction and retention of talent. Its voluntary turnover rate within Northeast Wisconsin over the past four years is less than 12 percent (11.8) – five percentage points under the accounting industry average of 17 percent.

“The New North’s vision is to be recognized as nationally and globally competitive. That’s Wipfli’s vision as well, and we’re proud of the people who make it possible from our home in Wisconsin,” says Kurt Gresens, Wipfli’s managing partner. “We’re truly excited and honored to be recognized for our focus on building a modern workforce, fostering a diverse culture of curious individuals and creating a future-focused firm with talent at the center.”

Wipfli has further set itself apart with a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategies and initiatives. Its DEI Council – comprised of firm leaders, partners and other associates – strives to create a work environment that allows the company to recruit and retain a workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities and clients it serves. Its efforts revolve around creating business resource groups, tying leadership development to being an inclusive leader and supporting a range of recruitment programs designed to help diversify Wipfli’s candidate pipeline and enhance its culture.

Over the past two decades – during which time the Wipfli Way, outward mindset and consultative mindset were enacted as people practices – the company has seen its Client Satisfaction Index (CSI) survey results improve dramatically. The Wipfli CSI score was 90 percent in 2020, up from 74 percent in 2002.

High client satisfaction and associate engagement translated to improved financial results. In the 14-year period from 2006-20, net revenue grew by 173.6% in the Northeast Wisconsin region.

Organizations located within the New North were qualified for the award. Companies did not need to be headquartered in New North for eligibility, but were required to have a division or location within the region.

Recent winners of the New North Workplace Excellence Award include Integrity Insurance (2019); Schneider (2018); American Transmission Company, Expera Specialty Solutions and Werner Electric Supply (2017); Foth (2016); Oshkosh Corp. (2015); and U.S. Venture, Inc. (2014).