Academy Bank Honored as "Ingram's 2024 Best Companies to Work For."

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Ingram's Magazine, March 2024 - 

Banks, construction companies and suppliers, medical centers, bioanalytic companies, IT specialists and animal pharmaceuticals, or firms specializing in law, energy or bioanalytics—if you tried, you’d have a hard time populating a full roster of companies that reflect business diversity in the Kansas City region. But those enterprises, and others, while diverse in mission are connected by their embrace of effective workplace design, making them among the Best Companies to Work For in this region.

Our honorees for 2024 again show that size does not matter in an environment where talent is tough to come by, and tougher to keep. From industry-leading compensation packages to sweeping benefit plans for insurance; from support tools to see an employee to retirement and securely past that threshold, from leadership-training programs to in-house universities brimming with educational materials for the entire staff; from civic engagement and corporate philanthropy that strengthens the bonds between business and community, each of these employers has demonstrated a commitment to going well beyond the bare minimum in their bid to secure the brightest minds and most skilled employees. And then to keep them in the fold once they’re on board. 

Since its inception in 2008, Ingram’s Best Companies to Work For program has recognized nearly 150 separate companies—testimony to the quality of leadership that defines the business community here, and to the skills of those executives tasked with creating workplaces designed with success in mind. The company’s, and that of its employees.

This year, we spotlight six of them in the large-company category and four each from the mid-size and small-business ranks. Our hope is that, by their example, they inspire in all employers a burning desire to claim equivalent status.


Large Companies:

With 645 full-time employees—454 of them in the Kansas City area—Academy Bank doesn’t challenge the largest of the players in our large company category in terms of employee head counts. But what it’s doing with and for those employees makes it stand out as an employer. The business case for that is a simple one: engaged bankers and their support staff are the building blocks in a business whose success is grounded in the quality of its client relationships. “Our philosophy revolves around one simple principle: If it’s important to our clients, it’s important to us,” says Teresa Ascensio, chief administrative officer. “We believe that our clients’ financial needs and goals are more than just transactions and accounts; it’s about building meaningful relationships and making a positive impact in their lives through bankers who love what they do.” The bank takes a back seat to no employer with the sweeping range of insurance benefits it offers. Medical, dental, vision, disability and AD&D plans cover physical needs; but additional well-being tools include SmartShopper access, providing cash rewards on standard health procedures; free use of Cariloop’s expertise and advocacy for adoption, child care, and elder care; and BlueKC’s Mindful program of free mental-health resources; and a wellness program with free resources for managing chronic conditions, education on physical and mental health, and rewards for healthy behaviors. Employees enjoy health savings accounts, flexible spending accounts and dependent-care FSAs. The employee-assistance program, meanwhile, can address outside stress factors for staff and families. To support associates’ overall financial well-being, the bank provides a company match to its 401(k) retirement program, and for associates, the Rewards Checking Accounts that come as a paid perk yield discounts on everyday purchases, cell phone protection, and credit/dark Web monitoring. The workspace for corporate employees is still factory fresh, with sit-to-stand desks, private rooms for rest and nursing mothers, a café with TVs and upgraded drink options, and a lounge with TVs and games. “Our investment in our associates is reflected in our strong financial outlook,” Ascensio says. For high performers, leadership development entails a one-year program for high-performers that includes access to senior officers’ insights and expertise, and a group community-outreach project. The HR team also conducts management-training sessions on giving feedback, coaching and delegation, helping new or developing managers learn and practice effective management skills. And the bank encourages associates to support the communities it serves with a robust giving program, paid volunteer hours for every associate, and support for non-profit board leadership.


To see the rest of the list read on: 2024 Best Companies' to work for List