By Thomas Yoon, CEO, Excelerate Capital
During my dozen years working for others in mortgage bank operations and management, often surrounded by what seemed to be a “broken” culture, I knew what type of environment I’d like to create one day when I ran my own company. As Excelerate Capital started in 2014, I knew that launching a new company so soon after the 2008 economic downturn would need to attract — and retain — the top talent, especially in an industry where the high turnover rate feels like the Wild Wild West and the highest bidder often takes the best talent. To me, it’s telling that we’ve grown to more than 100 employees in the past five years and had two turnovers.
As I often say,
“Our employees are our most important customers.”
Early on, I turned inward to create a working environment that I would enjoy, based on teamwork, ethos and empathy. Instead of an office filled with lions and hyenas, where the sales dictates operations outright, I reverse-engineered how I wanted the company to look and built in the value that I hoped would draw loyal employees with the right personalities. Several colleagues have asked me recently how I’ve achieved this low turnover rate, and my explanations seem to strike a chord. Although culture practices are best created within a company’s context and instinctively acquired over time, these three strategies may help:
- Model behavior from the top down
- Find your team players
- Demand clarity and candor