Spending 45 minutes on the phone with Lorne Rubis is like drinking from fire hose of wisdom and perspective on what it takes to engage people in the new world of work. If you’re not familiar with Lorne and his work building people focused organizations then trust me when I tell you you’re going to want to remedy that.
While Lorne has a blue chip past, taking on a number of senior leadership roles for organizations as well as writing a phenomenal book called The Character Triangle, today Lorne is the Chief People Officer at ATB Financial.
I had the chance to meet Lorne last year while speaking at an event his organization sponsored called The Ah-Ha Conference in Calgary, Alberta. I was so intrigued by his ideas and persona that I decided to track him back down for our Mavericks of Management interview series. Below are a few of the highlights from our conversation. Enjoy.
**Tell me a little bit about your role as Chief People Officer at ATB?
Our work is centered-around the idea of helping ATB become THE place to work, to make it more than an aspiration statement but a never-ending journey.
To get there we’ve put a strategy in place to manage the entire life cycle of a team member. From attracting and onboarding, training and development, compensation and rewards and finally, when the day comes they have to exit, we’re there to support them through the transition. You have to think about the whole cycle of bringing people on and moving them through the business and we want to be the very best.
**What do you think sets ATB a part as a future focused, highly engaged organization.
We’re recognized as one of the top 25 places to work in Canada and I think that’s because we have a cultural commitment to service, both with each other and our community.
Three Key areas of focus for us…
1. Results only work environment
2. Personal equity
3. Extraordinary leadership
The promise you get at ATB is we’re committed to the idea of investing in the whole team member. We’ve taken the financial concept of building wealth and applied it to building the individual.
Helping them create and grow their equity so they can continue to grow their marketability so the day they leave, they leave with a rich story and legacy of what they’ve contributed. They become a part of the alumni, like when you leave University.
Let me give you an example; over the past three years we’ve built a platform called Story Bank, an online repository for our people to record and reflect upon their daily learnings, experiences, and observations. (The tagline reads, Capture your experiences. Unlock your potential.)
The idea behind Story Bank is that when you leave, whenever that may be, you’ll have set of stories to take with you. All of your total rewards, all of the money in your pension, your savings, all of the recognition you’ve been given, all the trainings you've taken. You’ll take your relationships, anything you’ve populated your LinkedIn with. Anything you’ve blogged or written about, all of it. You’re literally going to be able to take it all with you. In essence, you take your story with you.
The goal is for people to start to think there is no place, if you want to learn how to be a leader, that is as dedicated to it as ATB. They invest so much in helping people– its way beyond just a technology or a platform; it’s an entire ecosystem.
**You recently wrote about the idea of “net worth” and expanding our view what that entails. You wrote at the end of your article, “Find an organization that commits to the total you versus just giving you a job.” What do you think ATB does that would represent committing to the “total you” for employees?
We interested in growing all aspects of our employees lives. We think about this holistically.
We’re interested in your financial net worth. For example, we’re introducing flex pension savings plans you can put, if you’re a team member, 16% of your money, of which we would give 12% that can go into a pure savings account for the future or you can put it in education or paying down a mortgage. You give the flexibility.
We interested in your professional growth. If you want to take any kind of development program on your own, it’s almost guaranteed we’ll invest in.
As part of our results only work environment – if you need go to a Pilates class in the middle of the afternoon, we want you to do that, we invest in that.
We just raised the issue around non-religious spiritual growth and a deep commitment to giving in the community. You commit financially to a charity, we’ll match it. If you want to donate time to a charity, say you want to fly up to Northern Alberta for Habitat for Humanity, we don’t ask you to do it on your time.
Across the spectrum – we’re committed to investing in the whole you. The only requirement is the individual has is to be self-accountable to participate.
It can’t be what are THEY doing to make me happy. You have to ask, did I do my best to be engaged today, to be committed, to add value to relationships. Both sides have to be committed.
You can follow lorne at @lornerubis and his book is called The Character Triangle.