By JC Abusaid, CEO/President as Featured in Forbes
As the newly appointed CEO of a firm where I’ve spent 25 years, I intrinsically understand the value of nurturing a healthy work environment that allows employees to grow. From day one, I was encouraged to take on different responsibilities and to recognize and build upon what I do best. I’m grateful for that—and committed to opening up similar opportunities to our exceptional associates.
Our approach to hiring is inseparable from strategies that will help employees be successful contributors in the long haul. When a promising candidate signs on, we’ve only completed the prologue and are turning to the first chapter.
Based on my quarter-century perspective as a committed employee with a clear path up the ladder, I’m hoping my top five workforce insights below will be useful to you.
Sometimes the role isn’t right, but the person is.
Every role here is a work in progress. We don’t always get it right the first time.
I’ve learned that where superlative people are concerned, it’s worth figuring out how to keep them challenged and love what they’re doing. When a valued employee wants to quit, you may find it pays off to double down and problem-solve what isn’t working.
A strong case in point is our current COO and chief compliance officer, who was originally pursuing a wealth advisor track. She had grown into one of our finest advisors, earning credentials and knowledge, deeply respected by her clients. However, what seemed right to us wasn’t what she wanted to do. So we pivoted to provide a management path for her, where her formidable competence makes us all look like geniuses. Optimally mobilizing the talents of your people is in everyone’s best interests.
One of the greatest sources of satisfaction in my work over the years has been seeing people start off short on confidence and watching them grow in knowledge, maturity and conviction that they’re doing their job well. When it all comes together, people exude their satisfaction with their roles. Their loyalty to the firm is the ultimate proof.
Make internships worth it.
Real internships can add value to your company’s operations—and maybe even its future. Several of our next generation leaders started out as interns. We take responsibility for laying the groundwork for the best possible outcomes, whether or not it’s going to be a long-term relationship. The point is to ensure that interns’ time is productive for you and for them—along the way, they’ll be able to build on their skills and experience.
I personally commit to seeing them begin on a solid footing, meeting with every intern at the outset to educate them about our company. They’re also encouraged to connect with other key people in the firm and learn about the spectrum of work that goes on here.
How to get the most out of your internships? Pay interns competitively and give them real work. Summer internships simply aren’t enough time for a meaningful experience; ours last a minimum of six months. If an intern doesn’t stay, help them build their resumes and assist in their applications for what comes next.
Go big in investing in your employees.
Investing in your people is an investment in your business.
We give it our all. We celebrate new hires in a big, big way. We don’t throw them at a desk—we work with them to meticulously plan out everything. We share our vision, core values and culture and then create a clear road map for their career trajectory, and keep adjusting it.
Importantly, spell out what success looks like. Be relentless about your expectations in terms of associates’ continuing education. When hiring someone, know that bettering their skills and knowledge is an ongoing requirement. From MBAs to professional credentials, help underwrite every employee’s education. This is core to a strong hiring strategy, something you can truly care about and stand behind.
Mentoring is a win for all.
Having a mentoring program can serve as a unifying element of your culture. We officially launched ours about six years ago and still shake our heads over how we had ever gotten through without it.
Now, every new hire here gets a mentor. Gaining an alternate, seasoned perspective outside of direct management can help your employees grow in their work and tackle challenges before they become crises. Relationships deepen, and mentors grow, too.
Culture is the last word.
Over time, leaders come to recognize what works best for their firm in terms of reading character and talent, and fostering workplace harmony and loyalty.
For us, it’s all about relying on our cultural values to steer us on the best paths forward. This includes teamwork and collaboration, building great relationships and treating people right. Our 45-plus associates average more than a decade with us.
When you’re actively recruiting potential hires, and they can see that your company is doing amazing things for your people, it will tip the scales in your favor.