Speaker offers advice on corporate culture

Anthony McBride

WINCHESTER – The chief human resources officer for Edward Jones explained to an audience at the Valley Health: Business at the Bloom luncheon Wednesday why the investment firm has consistently ranked among Fortune magazine’s best places to work.

Anthony McBride said Edward Jones has created a great work environment organized around the goal of serving its clients well. McBride described client service as “our purpose on the planet.”

McBride said the corporate culture at Edward Jones emphasizes meaningful work for its 38,000 associates spread throughout North America. In March, Fortune magazine ranked Edward Jones sixth on its list of 100 best companies to work for in the United States, the 16th consecutive year the company has made the list.

McBride, who joined Jones in 2011, said the company is proud of the recognition it has received as a desirable place to work, but cautioned audience members that a company’s culture is not easily changed.

“My question to you as leaders,” McBride said, “is are you clear about where it is that you would like to go? Are you clear about the tradeoffs that you need to make to help you get there?”

Anthony McBride, of Edward Jones, left, chats with Carol Koeneceke-Grant, center, Valley Health vice president of strategic services, and Mark Merrill, Valley Health president and CEO, during the Valley Health Business-at-the-Bloom Luncheon held Thursday in Winchester. Rich Cooley/Daily

“If you haven’t figured out how to get the culture that you want, it will be challenging for you to be successful,” McBride said.

McBride said his company helps newly hired people from outside the financial services industry obtain the certifications and deep product knowledge required for their jobs but then goes on to surround them with a team of employees with “a vested interest” in their success. They offer support, training and guidance.

Once a financial adviser has established himself, he is expected to provide some of the same training to newly hired people to “get them off to a good start,” McBride said.

Edward Jones’ financial advisers work hard but they have control over their work schedules, which allows them to attend events like their children’s school softball games, McBride said.

A profit-sharing program and bonuses give each associate an opportunity to participate in the firm’s success and contribute to the overall workplace experience, McBride said.

Anthony McBride, principal and chief human resources officer for Edward Jones, speaks during the Valley Health Business-at-the-Bloom Luncheon held Thursday in Winchester. Rich Cooley/Daily

“What’s underlying that is our culture,” McBride said. “You think about culture as the personality of the firm, the personality of the organization, sometimes even the personality of the team you have. That’s the glue that keeps you aligned and focused and executing successfully against the objectives you have.”

Edward Jones was among many financial service businesses that were rocked by the recession in 2009, but the company managed to cut costs without resorting to layoffs, McBride said.

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” McBride said in reciting a quote often attributed to the late management consultant Peter Drucker. “Great products. Great services. How do you make sure you’ve got the right reinforcement in terms of how people think about what they do and their purpose?”

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com