When we first started Binc, our mission was to deliver a more effective and distinguished recruiting service to our clients and the ecosystem. We believed that hiring managers and entrepreneurs deserved better and we were motivated to deliver for them. One of the ways we thought we could address this was by hiring and employing better quality recruiters than what was considered common in the market at that time. We saw recruiting as an amazing and impactful profession, but the best and brightest were more naturally inclined to pursue the more popular professions of law, consulting, media and technology. We thought that if we could showcase recruiting to be a profession that even a slice of the best and brightest consider, we would improve the quality of recruiter we employ and therefore deliver a higher quality recruiting experience.
This philosophy showed that we clearly cared about our people and, if ever asked, we could point to this philosophy as support that our people were #1. That is, of course, unless you were paying close attention to our actions.
While people were important, our actions showed that nothing at that time was more important than achieving success for our clients. We worked a national practice so we were expected to be in the office 7am-6pm and be available outside of these core hours. Our mantra was that recruiting never slept and commerce didn’t stop for anybody. People were expected to work during their vacations; sick days were frowned upon. I'm sad to admit that I only took a half day off when my first child was born before heading back into the office to deliver for our clients. Talk about leading by example :(
This continued for many years and manifested itself in a number of different ways.
In our hybrid era, when we took a Navy SEALS approach towards delivering, the people vs. projects debate always came up. Our culture was all about how excited we were for our projects. Willingness to commute and long hours were the norms as we celebrated doing whatever it took to deliver. Many people rallied around this concept, sacrificing their personal lives and priorities in the process. Other people experienced fatigue & burnout and wanted to see us embrace a greater care for people and their personal needs. Their philosophy was that only by truly taking care of our people, would we be able to have the strength of person and team to deliver for our clients. However, the prevailing philosophy was that only by sacrificing our personal needs to deliver for our clients, would we achieve the success we needed to then reward ourselves with personal gain and fulfillment. Our identity was being challenged, which formed a divide in our team and company.
Every team reflects its leader. Two years ago in 2016, I ran 43 miles over 3 days through Bryce Canyon, Zion, and The Grand Canyon at an event called Trailfest. It was an enduring and magical experience, to say the least. On the third day, during the final 18-miles through the northern crest of the Grand Canyon, I spent most of my time pacing with a close friend. We talked about many topics during those 18 miles but the one that stood out was a discussion about life’s priorities. In that discussion, we challenged each other to stack rank our top three life priorities. This was tough because while it was easy to prioritize friends, work and family, I also wanted to prioritize things that were personally important to me like working out, writing, reading, spirituality, and more. It took some time and wrangling of brain cells, but through reflection and discussion, I came to the realization that if I simply bucket all of my interests and passions into one bucket called ME, I could prioritize MYSELF into my top 3. I then realized that my other priorities; family, friends, and work wouldn’t actually get great attention unless I had the energy to be there for them. Basically, when I'm at my best, I'm able to be my best for my friends, family, and work. Just as, when I'm at my worst, I’m not much value (or valuable) to them either. That means prioritizing myself first, instead of last, actually serves everything I care about that much more.
Lightbulb! Breakthrough! They say something happens to you when you run 26+ miles, they just don’t tell you what it is and how it happens. Well, this is what happened to me and it's impacted my people vs. client philosophy in a massive way.
Here's how I now see it. People first. No debate, not even a question. When our people are taken care of, when they are supported, when filled with the energy they need to serve their other priorities, great things begin to happen. When that happens at the team and company level, we’re talking about an unstoppable force with unlimited potential. And contrary to when we first started, our actions now support it. Here’s how things have changed:
We are actually encouraged to take time off via an unlimited PTO policy. Not only that, but we're encouraged to unplug while away.
We now offer 6 weeks for parental leave. This includes maternity, paternity, adoptive, as well as leave to those who are fostering children. While some companies offer better, this is a stark improvement from what we originally offered and it actually being encouraged and supported is something I'm tremendously proud of.
We invest in diversity and inclusion, the platform we stand on to celebrate our differences and support equal involvement, participation and opportunity for all.
We can point to many reasons for what we’ve been able to accomplish these past two years. It can’t, however, be a coincidence that since truly embracing our people-first philosophy, Binc has experienced some of the greatest growth and success in our 16-year history.
I'm proud of what we've accomplished and of the massive transformation we've achieved as individuals and as a company. With that said, we still see ourselves in the early days of opportunity, our mission is unwavering in striving for that excellent experience both for our clients and people. While 16 years is a long time for some, we're only just finding our footing and getting started. The best is yet to come!