Finding the Right Talent for your Culture [Part 1]

The following is part one to a transcription from a webinar we put on with Greenleaf Trust. Watch the video here.

Today we’re going to talk about finding the right talent for your culture, and that means a lot of things to different people. Something that is really important to us at Greenleaf is the culture that we’ve created here. That's something that we want to make sure we keep for a long time. Some of the things that have made us so successful include: 

  • We’ve had 19.8% New Assets on Annualized Basis per Year
  • Pillars of Core Culture
  • Great Workplace Environment
  • Great Talent Multiplies the Opportunity to Win
  • No Conflicts of Interest
  • If Our Clients Do Well, We Do Well
  • Clients, Continuous Improvement, Always do Better

Greenleaf trust is a really important name for us, particularly the Trust aspect. Trust is in our DNA, and it’s something that we look for in any candidates that we bring onboard. The other thing is looking at our client and not our shareholder, and making sure we’re starting with that client and doing the things that are right for them. We’re also a talent based organization, which we’ll talk about as we continue through this presentation. Something else that is highly important to us as we manage people’s wealth is to make sure that we are honoring our fiduciary responsibilities and staying within the law and what we need to do. 

We do all of that wrapped in Honest and Honorable, and that’s non-negotiable as we hire people in for Greenleaf Trust. When we’re looking at that Honest and Honorable, confidentiality is a big portion of that and making sure what they’re seeing everyday stays confidential and in our building. As we look to hire the top talent, we’re looking for people who understand that mistakes happen, but also take the time to figure out why they happened and correct them right away and make it right for the client. The last thing I want to highlight from our culture is the idea that we want to be great and we know that we have to be great and that we have to be great consistently every single day.

As you’re looking at all of your different applicants and potential candidates for a certain position within your organization, how do you really know if they’re the right fit? We always go back to understanding the culture, and that’s a really big part of what we do at Greenleaf Trust, and we’ve done a lot of different things to ensure that everyone within the company understands, and is able to live, that culture. Think about what kinds of things you can do within your company that allows you to look at how you can portray your company out to your clients and potential candidates that you’re trying to attract.

When we’re looking to hire somebody, we want to make sure that we’re hiring somebody that is an expert in their industry. We expect to be an expert in our industry, so it’s important for us to find talented people who also have that as part of their make up. We also want to see recognizable success, which can be seen through a resume, but you’ll also get that in your interviews while you’re listening to some of those situations where they’ve been involved in. Integrity, accuracy and continuous improvement are also very important, and I think those speak for themselves. 

Greenleaf Trust has been around for 16 years, so we’re still a fairly young company. We have right around ninety employees, and that entrepreneurial mindset is a real asset every single day when people come to work because we’re really trying to improve what we’re doing for our clients and what we can do for Greenleaf Trust. 

Everything that we do is for our clients, so we have a lot of customization with what we can do for people. We’re really trying to always look at what are their needs, what are the company’s needs, the individual’s needs, the employees of that company’s needs, and making sure that the service that we’re providing is in line with what the company or the client is really looking for. As we select our employees, we’re always looking for one more like our “best.” Part of that is using an outside service to help with that, but it’s also benchmarking our best employees and the people who really have the best customer and client service responses, and trying to just continue to find people like that to bring into our culture. 

We’re also very big on teamwork. A lot of the things we do at Greenleaf Trust are things we do as a team, so for someone who really doesn't like that kind of environment, or talks about that being very draining for them throughout the day, that’s somebody that we probably don’t want to look at for the majority of the positions we have at Greenleaf. Our culture is committed to excellence, so as we continue to select our candidates, we’re looking for those individuals who are also committed to excellence in the work that they do, and have a proven background of showing that excellence in their work and in their lives.

Check out our upcoming events page for more HR related webinars!

When you think about culture and the things that are important to you, consider how you can get the following information out into the public:

  • What defines your culture?
    • Does this come from the top down or from the bottom up?
  • What is your mission?
  • Where can you showcase your culture?
    • Your website, recruiting efforts, career fairs, specialty sites, Facebook, publications/newsletters, annual reports, etc.
  • When others talk, what do you want them to be saying?
  • How do you spread the feeling of your culture?
    • Community, company, candidates

So we’ve talked a lot about culture and we’ve talked a lot about Greenleaf and what we do for our clients, and so at some point, we have been sitting here thinking we’re great, but we wanted to know how we compared to other companies and organizations that are out there. We started down a path looking at a few different surveys and awards that were available for small companies like us. Through the years we have participated in a variety of awards and surveys, such as the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For. Those of you that have participated in these kinds of surveys already know that there is a survey that you have to complete from an HR perspective, and then everyone in your company has to complete the survey as well, and those results are all aggregated and come back together and you’re presented with materials to view about your organization and how you compare to other organizations.

Seeing that information can be very eye-opening from a lot of different perspectives because you can look at where you’re doing great in comparison to other companies in your area and size, and where you’re falling a little short. That really helps with that recruiting as you’re starting to find the best talent for your culture. Understanding where you fit within the rest of the nation can be super important. The other thing that we’ve found participating in these surveys is that they're done on an annual basis, so as you continue to win those and add them to your website or communication materials it’s interesting to see the response from candidates. There are a lot of people that are looking for a great place to work or someplace that they feel has been recognized as a standout company to other organizations, so they’re searching for those companies to work for. 


When you start sharing all of these different pieces through your social media, printed materials or on your website, you start to paint a picture for the people who are viewing your material as to what kind of person works for your company, what you expect from the people who work for you, and what they can expect as a client or a candidate. 

As you continue to grow, it’s really important to look at those different cultures within your company. As companies start to get larger and they have smaller teams within their organization, those teams and divisions start to create their own culture, and if that’s different than the company’s main culture and what they expect from their employees, that can really change the path of what’s happening every single day within your company. 

Something that you can do that I’ve found helpful is to survey your employees on a regular basis to find out what it is that’s going on within your company. At Greenleaf, we’ve found that 90% of our team members feel fully engaged and inspired each day they come to work. We can find statistics like this by administering these surveys to our team. This also helps leaders understand where mistakes are occurring as companies get larger and that’s why we continue to do this. These annual surveys review not just teams, but also culture within the company, so you’re getting a good taste of how people are feeling with their teams but also their culture. The surveys that we send out touch on items such as: 

  • Recognition
  • Satisfaction
  • Relationships
  • The mission
    • How mission conscious our employees are.
  • The engagement of each employee
    • Whether or not they feel inspired.
    • What’s guiding that inspiration?
  • Innovation
  • Pride
  • Performance Planning
  • Career Development
  • Training 
    • Do people feel supported and equipped for the role that they’re in?

As those results come back every year, we’re able to take a close look at that and see what we have to do to make changes. The average company has about 35% of their employees who are engaged and inspired each day. 

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