I have always been fascinated by the study of human behavior. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that environment is often overlooked, but is in fact the most critical dynamic in decision-making. We have a tendency to look only at results, and are quick to criticize without first understanding how the specific result came about. In many situations, you will drill down and find that while intellectual prowess and work ethic matter, the environment played a significant role in the outcome.
So, how does this relate to the workplace? Plain and simple, the culture of the workplace will drive as much success as intelligence or hard work. If you believe that to be true, it then becomes critical that we establish a culture that drives our desired outcome.
You will find many articles that try to define a “great place to work” by benchmarking benefits, time off, flexible schedules, workspaces, perks, etc. Don’t get me wrong – all of these are important, and we are disciplined in our approach to providing these incentives.
But these items are simply an outgrowth of a strong company, or put another way, the fruit of a tree. To create the ideal environment, you must first establish strong roots, focusing on the tree’s health, how it should grow and what you expect to harvest.
Stewart has established our Core Beliefs as the roots of our tree. From there, we can have an expectation of the direction we’re going and the results we’ll achieve. Our Core Beliefs include:
1. Teamwork – I will respect the contributions of every associate and closely collaborate with others to “sell Stewart.”
2. Passion – I will contribute to an energetic and fulfilling customer-centric environment.
3. Discipline – I will be accountable for my performance through defined metrics and targets around risk management, expense reduction and sales growth.
4. Integrity – I will be trustworthy and honest in all my business dealings and be a role model in my community.
5. Simplicity – I will remove complexity and align people, processes and technology towards maximum efficiency.
6. Innovation – I will enhance the customer experience, looking for ways to improve processes, expand markets and create new offerings.
Of course, we all want to be valued. We want to be thanked for the hard work that we do, and to see that our work is making an impact. We want our ideas to be respected, and our talents to be utilized. We want to be a part of a team that knows where it is going and knows that there is a plan to get there.
Conventional wisdom would say that the larger a company becomes, the harder it is to establish a great place to work. I disagree. As companies grow, some forget about having a great workplace, and how that got them to where they are today. Companies that keep this in mind can use size to their advantage by creating more opportunities, better recognition and a higher performing team.
At Stewart, we provide crucial services to the real estate industry, and we play an important role in an important industry. Having the best team makes this possible. We are committed to an environment where our associates can thrive. We are committed to a workplace that not only allows for, but creates opportunities for career success.
The work we do for our customers and community is meaningful. The workplace in which we do that work should also be great.