Culture Matters: Early Learning Indiana

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An Indianapolis-based nonprofit with roots that date back to the late-1800s is implementing modern approaches to attracting and retaining talent. Our Culture Matters segment this month features Early Learning Indiana, which FirstPerson Managing Director Paul Ashley says focuses on four core values to drive its employee culture. He says the early childhood education provider's new headquarters has several "egalitarian" features.

The headquarters is built around an open-office concept and was designed with feedback from a wide swath of employee input throughout the process. It includes collaborative "libraries" of space that can be reserved when privacy is needed. Ashley says the office, though not large, has a similar feel to much bigger, for-profit company spaces like Columbus-based Cummins Inc.'s new downtown Indianapolis division headquarters.

Since ELI employees are spread out throughout locations around central Indiana, Ashley says comprehensive feedback is important to leaders when shaping the culture. One way of doing this is through an internal focus group "of a cross-section of employees" that Ashley says is tasked with thinking about "how can I make ELI a place that's more fun to work, more engaging, really focused on the employee experience. So it has to do with well-being, it has to do with fun at work, it has to do with making Early Learning Indiana a place that people wake up everyday (and are) excited to drive to work."

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