For the second year in a row PenChecks Trust® has been recognized as a Top Workplace in the San Diego UnionTribune’s annual “Top Workplaces” survey. We are proud to receive this award, but are prouder of our employees for making PenChecks a great place to work.
The Top 50 Workplace rankings are determined by Energage, a leading provider of Top Workplace analysis throughout the U.S. The anonymous surveys ask employees how they feel about the company they work for and the environment they work in. Energage evaluates and compares the data against other nominees to determine the winners in each category. Earning this recognition once is an honor. Earning it two years in a row is a testament to the consistency and legitimacy of PenChecks’ relentless focus on culture.
Culture and Connection
The foundation of any culture starts with defining and communicating the core values of the company. These values represent who you are as a company and how you work together to serve your customers and fulfill your company’s mission. This requires knowing your core values and validating what they really are – an important step many companies don’t get right.
To guide behavior, culture must be based in reality. Otherwise, employees won’t buy into it. Suppose you consider fun as a core value but your company isn’t a fun place to work. Or, you list open communication as a core value but shut people down when they come up with new ideas or opposing points of view. When leaders and managers don’t live the values, it damages employees and the culture.
As today’s workforce continues to evolve in the post-covid era, we believe connection to the company and to each other is more important than ever. During the pandemic we learned important lessons about how changing work environments can affect culture. Perhaps the biggest lesson learned was the importance of reinforcing company values during times of stress and disconnected workplaces.
At PenChecks our core values promote connection and personal and professional growth. We intentionally facilitate frequent company events and social activities that help employees connect with each other in a personal way. Our burgeoning PenChecks University Program offers specific curriculums and opportunities for professional development. We strive to recognize and reward employees who model the values day in and day out. In commitment to this, any employee in the company, at any time, may officially recognize another co-worker for praiseworthy behavior and/or demonstrating our core values in action. This recognition comes with a monetary reward (borne by the company), but we find it’s the peer-recognition from another co-worker itself that means the most to our employees.
Hire To Your Culture
PenChecks’ core values also serve as a natural measuring stick for the type of people we would like our employees to be, so we intentionally seek to hire people who align with our values. We look for people who thrive on learning and growing and will take advantage of the community and developmental opportunities PenChecks offers. Providing growth opportunities for our employees augments their alignment with our core values.
The recent onboarding of our new COO illustrates how we hire to our core values. In addition to the day-to-day operational responsibilities, we wanted this person to function as a coach and mentor throughout the organization, and especially modeling what a successful leader looks like to our middle management layer.
We screened dozens of candidates before finding the right person, and were fortunate to be able to hire a driven woman with a proven history of leadership success. We have a lot of young female managers at PenChecks, and given some of the unique challenges women face in the workforce, our new COO is a fantastic model for how a successful executive operates.
Many companies focus solely on experience and capabilities during the hiring process and neglect to evaluate a prospect’s core values. As a result, they often end up with capable people who don’t align with the culture. Intentional hiring has exponentially improved our culture and our workforce at PenChecks.
Walk the Talk
As PenChecks grew over the years we began to realize the only way to have the culture we want is to live our core values. That requires hiring for it and reinforcing our values to current employees. We recently adjusted our employee evaluations to include measuring core values. Only half of our employees evaluations are based on job performance. The other 50 percent of their regular evaluations is based on adherence to core values.
PenChecks was founded with the sole purpose of solving a specific problem, creating the genesis of our ever-evolving identify as an innovation company and solutions provider. For almost 30 years we’ve consistently introduced new products and services that help TPAs, plan sponsors, recordkeepers and other retirement industry professionals and their clients.
As companies in the retirement and financial services industries become more interconnected, the next step in PenChecks’ evolution is to become a true innovation partner in the Fintech space. Innovation and service will continue to shape our identity, and we look forward to solving problems for clients and partners in the most effective way possible. One thing that won’t change is our commitment to culture and connection.
Spiro G. Preovolos
President & CEO, PenChecks Trust®