To The Pointwith Boris Bozic
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2 Comments Human Capital

Article written by Boris Bozic on the 17 Nov 2011 in Business

merix employeesOur want for our employees success can never be greater than their own desire to be successful.

I was just reflecting about all the changes that have taken place at Merix Financial over the past 12 months.  There is no doubt that 2011 was a transitional year for Merix.  The two significant areas of focus was the implementation of new technology, and a restructuring of the Merix Team.  I would rather not get into the technology issues we faced this year because I’m having a good day.  No need to spoil it.  The human capital issue is top of mind for me because our staff is getting together prior to the CAAMP Mortgage Forum to set objectives for 2012.

The Merix team looks significantly different than it did a short 12 months ago.  Change in personnel is characterized as voluntary and involuntary.  Some of our staff this year moved on to pursue other avenues.  As much as we hate to lose any staff members we would never stand in the way of their professional development.  I don’t get bent out of shape when I hear that our staff is being recruited.  Don’t get me wrong, we’ll do what we can to retain our staff but I would be more disappointed  to hear that our staff wasn’t wanted by our competition.  If we’re doing the right things in terms of professional development then it’s only natural that they would be viewed as a valuable commodity by other organizations.  Our challenge is to create such a positive work environment that they have no desire to work elsewhere.  It’s not easy to create that kind environment but it’s a philosophy we’re very passionate about.

We also had to make some very difficult decisions around staffing this year, (involuntary) and the decisions we made impacted the lives of good people.  That’s always the difficult part.  Let’s face, if someone is a prima donna, is disruptive, cares not for the company, that’s an easy decision to make.  However, when you have to make difficult decisions about good people, that’s not easy.  One thing that I have always taken pride in is that we treat  all our staff with dignity and respect, and we desperately want them to do well.  But fundamentally it’s a flaw we have to overcome.  Our want for our employees success can never be greater than their own desire to be successful.  They have to want it more than we do, and I’m delighted to say that the team we’ve assembled has embraced that concept.

So what have I learned about “Human Capital”?
Personally, there’s two basic qualities that you have to look for when assessing talent or hiring new employees.  The first quality you should look for is “Humility”.  The definition of humility is, “the quality or condition of being humble;  modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance, rank, etc.”.  In the work environment it’s the individual that will raise their hand and say, “it was my fault…my responsibility…I could have done better…I let the team down”.  Employees that have the ability to be humble have a much greater chance of being successful.  This type of employee will learn from mistakes but more importantly they put more pressure on themselves to succeed than any employer can.  For these individuals personal successes is a badge of honour.    Conversely, the employee who always looks outward for reasons why they were not successful will never maximize their potential.  In the lender world that kind of employee sounds something like this; “I couldn’t hit my targets because we didn’t have the best rate, the best service, a full suite of products and the market is weak”.  Translated, this means it’s never the employee, it’s always the company’s fault.  You know what, it is the companies fault…for making the wrong hire.  I’m exercising a little humility by taking responsibility.

The second quality to look for is hunger.  We all know the definition of hunger.  In business it’s a burning desire to succeed, it’s intestinal fortitude, it’s the individual who detests being in the middle of the pack, it’s the individual who is truly embarrassed about not succeeding, it’s the individual who’s not just a clock puncher.   I came across an interview technique recently, and it goes something like this, “your resume reads well, and there’s no doubt you’ve been schooled on all the right things to say.  But to be candid, I just don’t know if you’re hungry enough to do this job”.  Then you sit back and watch their reaction and listen very closely to what they say.  I tried this technique about three weeks ago, and the perspective candidate I said it too nearly came out of his chair.  He was very passionate making an argument as to why I was wrong.  I nearly burst out laughing when he kept pointing his finger at me to emphasize every point he made.  In short, we hired him.

Humility and hunger doesn’t guarantee an employee can do the job that you want them to do.  But it does stack odd’s in your favour.  I remember listening to an interview with Joe Gibbs, former NFL Super Bowl Head Coach.  I’ll never forget what he said, “show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser”.  In a competitive market place or on the job you can lose with grace and dignity.  But it should always leave a bitter aftertaste.  The humble and hungry will always say that I’m responsible for this bitter aftertaste, and I never want to taste it again.

Until next time


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Barb Morgan @Twitter ID Website Reply

Lovin my new role but do miss my MERIX team mates!! Good luck in 2012!

This is a very eloquent point you make Boris. I believe successful companies embrace your thinking here, and those that don’t trudge along content with the status quo. Kudos….

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