Value your employees
In addition to financial and educational perks, Flory also believes in cultivating the kind of company culture that fosters respect and loyalty. He strives to promote this through his own actions.
“As a CEO, you’ve got to be able to motivate and inspire people,” he says. “And then you have to have the ability to win over their respect and their loyalty to you. And respect and loyalty — the only way you get those two things in return is to first give it.”
Flory gains these traits by adopting the same mindset Effex takes toward its clients; specifically, he treats his employees like equal partners.
“I tell people all the time, ‘When we sit down to have a discussion, I don’t care what shape that table is, in your mind it’s a round table,’” he says. “There’s no one above anybody here. We’re all in this together; we’re all trying to do what it takes to first make the company successful, make each other individually successful.”
To reward high-performing employees, Flory says Effex is developing a profit-sharing program. The company also changed its policies so employees are required to take their earned vacation time in a given year.
“One way or the other, I need people to not forget what they’re working for, to not forget that they too have a life and that I care about that,” Flory says. “I want them to enjoy their own lives.”
Despite a number of complex hurdles, Flory is confident in his company’s business model: “At the end of the day, I believe it’s worked.”
Flory isn’t shy about expressing gratitude for Effex employees.
“We all need three basic elements from our jobs: we need to feel valued, recognized and rewarded for the job that we do,” Flory says. “We manage the labor forces for our clients with that mindset, and that’s how I manage the entire company here with my own staff.” ●
- Partnerships are crucial to success.
- Your employees are your most valuable asset.
- Reward — and don’t burn out — A players.
The Flory File
NAME: Louis Flory
TITLE: President and CEO
COMPANY: Effex Management Solutions
Education: I actually got kicked out of college with 21 hours left to graduate. I was going to Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas. My major was international business, I minored in Spanish and I double majored in a hell of a lot of fun.
What are the leadership traits that a CEO needs to be successful? A CEO must have two traits — in my mind, these are an absolute must. You must have vision. And then you must have the ability to motivate, lead and inspire others to that vision. If you don’t have that, you’re done.
On how his tough childhood influences him: I always say I’m the result of babies having babies. My mom was 16, and my dad was 18 when they had me, and I was the result of a kind of a “War of the Roses” divorce when I was 4 years old. My mom actually got caught up in drugs and ended up in prison; I lived with my grandparents on a farm and lived on welfare for a long period of time.
I don’t know if that’s a big part of my motivation or my drive; I know that I have a fear of standing still. When I’m not doing something productive, or growing this business, I get a very strong sense of anxiety in my chest.
I value those lessons that I learned growing up like that. You develop a lot of character, I believe. You certainly know what life has to offer if you’re not going to get up and go make something happen — if you’re not going to believe in yourself, if you’re not going to drive yourself and expect things of yourself.