To Mike Tierney, success is satisfying one customer at a time, and that can only be done by your employees.
The president and CEO of PSB Group Inc., a holding company for People’s State Bank, says that if employees don’t believe in your message, then they won’t be fully committed to it, which ultimately affects customer relations.
“Think about anyplace where you’ve interacted with an employee and it’s been an unsatisfactory experience for you,” he says. “How do you feel about that company? The corporate culture is important, and you have to have an organization that values good people and creates opportunities for them, so they can grow and stay with you.”
With more than 150 employees and about $45 million in 2006 revenue, Tierney is continuing to grow the company to provide employees with future opportunities.
Smart Business spoke with Tierney about how he shows employees he is listening and how to mold a culture.
Q: How do employees know you are listening to them?
We have a program called ‘Got Ideas?’ The committee comes in for the management meeting every couple of weeks, they tell us what the ideas are, and we go over them. One person said, ‘We don’t have screens that are big enough to be effective for what we do. We print screens, then switch to another screen, then print that, and we end up working off a lot of pieces of paper.’
The next day, the guy who is in charge of our operations put in a 19-inch screen and had somebody test it. They could get four panels up at a time and see all the things that they needed. It was something like 200 pages they didn’t print that day. Two days later, we had a 19-inch monitor in front of everyone in that office, and the productivity improvement was huge.
It’s doing those kinds of things. It demonstrates to your employees that, ‘We do listen, and we will move really fast if there is something there that we think works.’
Q: How do you mold your corporate culture?
We try to do a pretty good job of communicating our success and failures. When someone has a good week on the sales side, we have them talk on our weekly sales meeting call and talk about what it was that made them successful. Likewise, when we run into a situation when we were not successful, we try to learn from that. We do a lot of little things to make people feel good about working here.
Our company directory has a picture of every one of us on it. It has your birthday there, and I personally send a birthday card to each employee on his or her birthday. We just try to do things to recognize people and let them know they are important and a big part of our success.
Q: How do you retain employees?
We do have mechanisms we use to determine employee morale. We do surveys from time to time. We’re just going through a talent management process to look at what are the skills sets we have in each of the individuals in the company, what are their career aspirations and where they want to get to?
If they want to become something they don’t have all the background for now, then we need to get a development plan in place with them. ‘Here are the steps you have to take in your career to get yourself to where you qualify for the position you are looking for.’ We have tuition reimbursement plans, and we encourage our employees to continue their education.
If someone’s capabilities and demands are higher than the opportunities presented in the company, you don’t keep them. You have to be able to create opportunities. Likewise, if you put someone at a job and they don’t have all the training, that doesn’t work, either.
Q: What is a pitfall to avoid in business?
Never think that you have all the answers. I can see that it’s pretty easy at the top to think you have all the answers, but you don’t. You need good, strong people who will attack issues in a different way than you will. It’s that diversity of thought. I know what my strengths and weaknesses are, and I have to have people who work as a part of our team who have a different skill set than I have.
I only need to have a 90 percent solution, and I want some people who work with me that want 100 percent of the facts before they are ready to make a decision. That way, I am pushing them to go faster, and they are holding me back, saying, ‘You have to do a little more studying.’ Getting that balance is really important to having a good organization over the long run.
HOW TO REACH: PSB Group Inc., (248) 548-2900 or www.psbnetbank.com