Company: Wesley Financial Group, LLC
Category: Employer of the Year - Financial Services
Wesley Financial Group, LLC (WFG) has been recognized as the #1 company in the 2020 Best Place to Work by Nashville Business Journal in the large company category, a 2020 Best Place to Work by the Business Intelligence Group, a certified Great Place to Work by Great Places to Work, and a finalist in Customer Service in Excellence by the Business Intelligence Group. Many of those awards were based on anonymous surveys completed by the entire staff. One survey showed a 98% approval rate from WFG’s employees.
As the 2020 year progressed, it was clear to the executive board that they must act quickly to protect the staff from a COVID-19 outbreak among its 350 dedicated employees. The board gave the IT department full autonomy to do what was necessary to get all 350 employees in Las Vegas, NV and Franklin, TN laptops and all necessary software to be able to work from home. Whilst increasing meetings the managers unanimously agreed to decrease the formality of select meetings to encourage open communication among the employees during unorthodox time. Records have been broken in every department since the work from home mandates were enacted.
In 2019, Wesley Financial Group, LLC experienced rapid growth along with procedural changes and department creation. Instead of taking an ivory tower approach to management, key chief executives stepped up as transformational leaders to steer the morale of the teams towards a sense of pride and relief when there was a chance for the staff to feel on edge about such broad sweeping changes to a program they had been familiar with. It became essential for the staff to feel like each department and each individual made a difference in the grand scheme of operations to continue the small company culture. With that in mind, the CEO and president of the company engaged the staff in a company-wide weekly meeting to allow each department to share their successes, struggles, and highlight their star employees. When the COVID-19 outbreak hit the US and made it unsafe for staff to work from the office, the managers increased the frequency of their team meetings and decreased the formality of some meetings to allow for open communication while the employees worked from the comfort of their homes. The board and the managers found that despite being further separated from their staff, they felt closer to each person on their team. In many of the meetings, peers share tips they think might help others during the lockdown and the struggles they themselves endure. Many employees have claimed to be closer than ever before to those they work alongside.
Wesley Financial Group’s team believes in doing things the right way...Even if the right way is more strenuous, tedious, or longer than those we directly compete with. WFG is hopeful that this approach to work, employee-relations, and client-relations will not only set the benchmark for its own industry but for those that are outside of the industry, as well. There is no other competitor in the timeshare cancellation industry that has been recognized for more national, corporate achievements than WFG.
In one survey, employees responded to 60+ questions anonymously. Results from that award survey needed to exceed a 60% threshold for employee satisfaction to be given the recognition for Great Place to Work. WFG’s employees scored an overwhelming 98% satisfaction rate with their employer.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak in the US, and moving all 350+ employees to work from home with a 10-day notice from the executive board, WFG’s departments have each broken performance records. With the transition, management teams decided to increase meetings and decrease the formalities of select meetings. This has allowed for more open communication from employee-to-employee and employee-to-manager. Teams have seen a subtle restructuring; support has been more fluid between peers and management. WFG’s data reporting is focused on proving the significance of the individual, but the new informal infrastructure of team meetings has led to a qualitative understanding of that significance, as well.
Leading up to the work from home orders, the executive staff had already begun to take action towards transitioning the entire staff to remote work in anticipation of the health risk. The board gave the IT department autonomy to do what needed to be done to get all 350+ employees laptops and software to be able to do their jobs. The IT department got it done in a little over one week, before Nevada or Tennessee governors ordered the official stay at home orders. As the Covid-19 mandates begin to lift, the CEO has made it clear; we will not ask the staff to go back into the office until the board has heard the opinions from top medical leaders stating that they believe it is safe to do so.
The day the offices were dismissed from the premises the CEO delivered a transformational speech to the staff. He said he needed the staff more than ever to do their part. The last thing he would do is lay anyone off during this time, but in order to keep it that way every individual had to do their part so he wouldn’t have to do the unthinkable. The frequency of team meetings increased. The formality of select meetings decreased. Pure communication channels opened. The executive team got to see into the inner workings of the departments like never before. Although the data is reported in a way that highlights the individual’s quantitative achievements, the novel communication highlights the qualitative aspects of each employee.