For NFP chairman and CEO Doug Hammond, developing and maintaining a healthy company culture and community are key. Under his leadership, the insurance brokerage and consulting company has focused on fostering a people-centric workplace through its PeopleFirst program, which provides NFP employees with opportunities for education, recognition, community service, financial strength and well-being.
But as NFP grows in size, Hammond says it becomes more challenging to make sure all of his employees are engaged and feel like an important part of the organization.
“I think that the CEO can speak at a certain level and be very consistent with the messaging, but if it isn’t happening in the field, across our hundreds of offices in the United States and in England and Canada, if we’re not speaking consistently at all levels down the chain, then it falls on deaf ears, and you just aren’t genuine,” Hammond told Chief Executive.
“One of the things I’m most proud of is this notion of unsung heroes and celebrating within our organization people that are not recognized for the value that they create every day.” – NFP CEO Doug Hammond
Hammond refers to a book by author Patrick Lencioni, “Three Signs Of a Miserable Job,” which clearly highlights areas to avoid when trying to build engaged workforces. Specifically, employees hate when they feel anonymous, irrelevant and lack any sense of measurement.
“We don’t want our employees to feel anonymous. We want to engage them in a way that is personal, where we really take time out to think about what is going on in their lives,” Hammond says. “We ask questions about how their kids are doing and how they’re doing, and how we can help them kind of advance whatever their career goals may be, and just be straight-out genuine with them.”
Making sure that employees aren’t left feeling overlooked is key, especially those who fill lower-profile, but important roles within the organization. And making sure that NFP employees know what their role is with the organization and how it contributes in the big picture is an important part of the company’s PeopleFirst initiative—whether they are in a high-visibility management position or in administration or finance.
“One of the things I’m most proud of is this notion of unsung heroes and celebrating within our organization people that are not recognized for the value that they create every day,” Hammond says. “And I think it’s also important for people where that relevance factor is so easy, like in a production role, or in a very high-optics leadership role. They need to understand that there’s so many other people within their organization where their relevance is not as clear, and it’s our job to make sure that they understand their relevance and importance to the organization every day.”
Hammond always encourages his management team to think about creating value and growth for the team members they are responsible for leading, and think a bit less about themselves, with the end goal of creating a more giving environment within NFP’s business structure.
“It sounds counterintuitive, but we’ve been doing it here for many years, and every year it seems to get better, and every year we seem to engage our employees in a more honest way,” Hammond says. “They appreciate it, and they will go the extra mile if they feel good about where they work. We do our best to appreciate it, and all of that just drives growth and more value for everyone.”