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  • IBH Capital Management

How IBH Capital Creates its Leadership Culture

By Deborah Grover & Mark Leary

In today's competitive employment market, it is extremely important for companies to offer growth opportunities to retain their staff. According to a recent "2019 Employee Engagement Report" from TINYpulse, 43% of employees are eager to leave their companies for just a 10% increase in salary, which proves that companies need to work hard to keep their talent.

As IBH Capital continues to grow, so does its corporate headcount, which jumped 14% in 2018. Because we know that attracting and retaining top talent is not subject to only one strategy, we apply a comprehensive strategy that encourages early engagement and consists of 5 steps.

Step 1: Internships

Last summer, IBH Capital hosted 22 interns from 7 universities across the country. Based on the feedback that we received from both the interns and our full-time employees, the 12-week internship program benefited both mostly because we took the extra step to match students’ interests with specific assignments that helped them showcase their aptitude and learn practical applications of the material that they learnt in school. Instead of giving our interns relatively meaningless paperwork that most companies do, we let them participate in property and asset management, accounting, finance, work side-by-side with investment and capital markets teams, make presentations to our clients and top management, and so on. Our interns could also spend as much time as they needed discussing their career paths with our senior-level executives. In 2018, IBH Capital's hired 12% of its interns as full-time employees.

Step 2: Mentorships

Young employees look up to their senior colleagues to mentor them and help them advance professionally. At IBH Capital, our CEO makes sure that this mentorship starts at the top and continues to the bottom of the company. He regularly meets with our young leaders during invitation-only lunch groups, where he answers questions and discusses business with them.

Step 3: Promotion Opportunities

IBH Capital regularly promotes from within – it is the main element in our employee retention strategy. All our open positions are first advertised internally, and all our employees receive emails announcing a new opening, as soon as it becomes available. We also coach our younger employees, who are interested to be considered, on how to interview and negotiate for a higher position. As part of IBH Capital’s employee development plan, IBH LEAD (Leadership, Excellence, and Development), some associates are even encouraged to pursue opportunities in different departments of the company, if the position better aligns with their interests or career goals. In 2018, 9% of our corporate employees were promoted.

Step 4: Leadership Training

Leadership training is extremely important for both employees and executive engagement. The TINYpulse survey mentions that a lack of training is considered one of the main employer shortcomings as reported by employees.

At IBH Capital, we've discovered that leadership training should be integrated into the corporate culture and supported from the top down. Following this leadership training philosophy, our executives participate in a multi-series training programs designed to assess their strengths, evaluate their leadership styles, and identify how leaders can support each other. This initiative alongside select external leadership programs help our employees build self-awareness around their workplace personalities.

Step 5: Affinity Groups

The final step in our employee retention strategy is affinity groups. Affinity groups help bring employees together and provide opportunities for engagement outside of professional responsibilities and greatly support the company’s efforts to attract and retain the best talent, promote leadership and development at all ranks, build an internal employee support system within the company, as well as encourage diversity and inclusion among employees at all levels.

IBH Capital sponsors five different affinity groups and highlights participation from the first day of employment via the on-boarding process:

  1. Tomorrow's Executives: promotes professional advancement of young professionals.

  2. Women of IBH Capital: supports women with leadership spirit and helps them develop their capabilities to become effective leaders in a global company.

  3. Fit to Lead: providing a supportive environment to grow leadership skills through fitness activities and programs.

  4. Social Impact: addresses pressing social and environmental problems and encourages our employees to become involved with impact investing, social entrepreneurship, corporate sustainability, and other emerging areas of social innovation.

  5. Diversity: promotes learning about foreign cultures, understanding of political, social, and economic differences, as well as acknowledgement of contrasting mentalities among many other equally important topics.

As group members, employees manage budgets together, develop and execute programming, and hold companywide events that boast 98% participation.

Strategic employee development investing takes a great deal of thought, time, and resources, but provides significant returns through 1) higher productivity from happier and more engaged staff and 2) much lower employee turnover expenses.


Deborah Grover is senior vice president of human resources for IBH Capital Management and Mark Leary is president of business development & client relations at IBH Capital Management.

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