How a firm named No. 1 for women became a great place for everyone
by Tammy Nelson
At TrueWealth, six core values have led to cultural success, for women and men.
When TrueWealth , a small wealth management firm in Atlanta, was ranked No. 1 atop Fortune magazine’s inaugural list of 100 Best Workplaces for Women, one got the sense that the company’s employees were both honored and slightly puzzled by the accolade. Their employees, CEO Jim Heard included, simply consider TrueWealth to be a great place for everyone, not just for women. “I just love working here,” says Betsy Pass, operations coordinator. “I used to work at a place I jokingly call a good culture gone bad, and having this place to come to every morning is really exciting and fun.”
Beyond simply cultivating a list of generous employee benefits, TrueWealth has also created a culture that encourages employees to actually take advantage of those perks. Employees enjoy liberal time-off policies, including 26 days of paid time off per year, in addition to flexible scheduling, telecommuting options and 12 weeks of paid maternity leave. Health and wellness are also emphasized. Employees can choose between a FitBit activity tracker or free health coaching, and they have access to an onsite gym. Plus, progress towards health goals is rewarded with additional time off and financial incentives.
Principal Michael L. Maiorano attributes the firm’s cultural success to a strict adherence to their six core values — integrity, excellence, caring, optimism, balance and accountability — in all their activities, both with external clients and internal employees. “I think our whole supportive culture really ties back to that caring piece. We don’t want to just care about our clients. We want to care about each other. We want to care about the community. It’s really important for us to exemplify that,” notes Pass.
The firm’s approach to business, and especially to its employees, is people-centric. “It’s about finding great people, and then finding the right fit for those great people,” explains Pass. At the start, new hires are given a standard Myers-Briggs assessment, which they review with an outside coach to learn more about their motivations and goals. The assessments also guide TrueWealth through selecting appropriate roles and teammates for employees. Maiorano stresses the importance of this process to maximizing happiness and productivity. “We all have strengths and weaknesses, and that’s a good thing. Where you need to focus effort is pairing compatible personalities together.”
The firm also energetically supports input and debate from all levels, another key ingredient in building employee engagement. An initiative Pass and Maiorano describe as “collegial debating,” gives all employees a voice at regular team meetings and process improvement meetings that feed directly to the company’s strategic plan. “We feel if you’re on the team, no matter what level you are, you give perspective that somebody else may not be seeing, so collegial debating is huge for us. Once you get everything out in the open, and it becomes a culture of being open and being free to express your opinion, and not feeling that there’s going to be negative recourse, you get a better sense of trust throughout the organization,” explains Maiorano.