Matching Employee Style To Firm Culture

November 3, 2015

by Beverly Flaxington

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Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Dear Bev,

We are busy. Too busy. We keep churning through administrative staff who tells us the environment is too fast paced and too intense. We keep adding new clients, and our clients are demanding. Honestly, the partners thrive on the fast changing nature of what we do, so I don’t see it changing. How do we find the right people to keep up with us, or how do we slow the partners down so they stop burning out staff?

Paula N.

Dear Paula,

Do you really think you can “slow the partners down”? Behavioral style and our approach is like hard wiring. I’m not sure you have an option to change the successful partners who are running your firm. Instead, you might want to take some time to consider the culture of your firm. Many times when advisor firms hire, they focus mostly on the job itself – what kind of duties and responsibilities and what type of skills are needed. It’s just as important to talk about culture and to be sure that the people you are considering are a good fit for your culture.

For example, in your firm you might want to put words like “extremely fast paced” or “constantly changing requirements.” You want to outline the fact that someone needs to be very nimble and able to stop what they are doing and respond to new needs.

People often hire someone just because they have the capability or the skills to do the job, but the thing that makes someone really successful and happy is how they are treated and how the culture matches who they are.

Research shows that people take a job because of the job itself. It’s something they want and are qualified to do. However, people leave a job because of the boss. Because of a mismatch in style or a resistance to a certain way of managing.

One of our clients was struggling to find the right person for a specific role. We encouraged the leader of the advisory firm to write a descriptor of the business, why they were in it and what it meant to them. In the process of writing what the business meant, how they ran it and what kinds of people they hired, the true culture came through. They were able to extend this and include it in the job description itself. The candidates they started to see were much more aligned with the philosophy and style of the firm.

The “what” and the “how” are certainly important, but consider the “why.” Why would someone want to work here? Why do you do what you do? Try and bring that passion through and see if it doesn’t start to appeal to a different set of individuals that might be better matches for your firm.

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Matching Employee Style To Firm Culture