Company culture, talent, and retention in the ever-shifting workforce

The Siegfried Group, LLP (Siegfried), an entrepreneurial leadership organization that provides financial executives with a powerful combination of leadership advisory, talent delivery, and financial advisory services, recently hosted a panel for Financial Executives International’s (FEI) annual Financial Leadership Summit.

The panel topic, “Company culture, talent, and retention in the ever-shifting workforce,” focused on the importance of having unique culture, changes since COVID, and what those look like from a recruiting and retention standpoint.

The panel description included: “With the ever-shifting demands of today’s workforce, employers need to focus on satisfying employee needs from day zero and invest their resources into retaining and attracting talent more so than ever before. Learn from our panel about keeping an open mind, providing unique and meaningful opportunities, and prioritizing feedback.”

Brian Seidner, Managing Director in Siegfried’s Cleveland office, acted as the panel moderator. “As we look back at 2020, it was marked by an enormous and immediate shift in how people work. And last year was characterized by false starts when it comes to ‘getting back to normal’. Now seems like the time we must make some tangible decisions on the future of work and workforce policies,” said Seidner.

Panel speakers included Jamie Beggs, SVP and CFO at Avient; Mallory Frantz, Managing Director at Siegfried; Mike Tokich, CFO at STERIS; and Kris Westbrooks, CFO at TimkenSteel.

Remote, in-person, and in-between

“We have a philosophy that we think we’re better together, so we are going back five days a week. That doesn’t mean that we don’t allow flexibility, however,” explained Beggs (Avient).

Tokich (STERIS) said “We’ve gone to a hybrid approach. Our managers determine how they want to work with their people. We’ve noticed that the more we’re together, people are starting to feel that they need that camaraderie.”

Frantz shared Siegfried’s perspective: “The majority of our people mirror what is happening at our clients, which is a mix of all approaches.”

“We’ve chosen to take on a hybrid approach,” said Westbrooks (TimkenSteel). “I anticipate we’re going to keep that for the long term, and it’s influenced how we’ve been able to recruit and hopefully retain our talent as well.”

A focus on company culture

The panel unanimously agreed on the importance of company culture.

“With all the transformation and restructuring we did in our organization, we basically started from scratch,” said Westbrooks. “We built on our mission and values, adding collaboration and safety as values. We’ve also done a lot around training to try to develop high-performing teams. That’s a new focus area for us, as well as empowering people.”

Frantz shared, “Distinctive culture is one of the 5 Promises that Siegfried makes to our employees. We’re built on leadership, and we bring our people together several times a year to focus on themselves as an individual leader, professionally but also personally.”

“We continue to listen, and we continue to take employee feedback and take concrete actions,” said Beggs. “We’re also big on gratitude and going out of our way to thank each other.”

Staying connected

All panelists agreed that clear communication is important when it comes to how employees feel connected to a company.

“It can be difficult to develop or motivate employees in a remote setting,” said Westbrooks. “All in all, the individual owns their career. You can provide guidance on things to grow and develop through different measures, but no matter the format, it’s up to the person.”

Frantz shared, “We have a formalized process where our Professional Resources all have mentors. Regardless of your level within the organization, everyone has that personal, one-on-one connection.”

The future of work

“It is starting. We’re seeing the trend across the country, more hybrid, more on-site,” said Westbrooks. “I think over time, you’ll see a transition to more function-specific work. Different people work better in different scenarios. I hope that it’s not even five years from now that we all just work the way we need to work.”

Future events

Siegfried looks forward to participating as a sponsor at FEI’s Corporate Financial Reporting Insights Conference in November 2022.