Cornerstones of a Positive Work Culture

When I founded Pinnacle Group, I set out to create a place where people wanted to come to work, where our associates would be supported in all areas, and, as a result, would never want to leave.

I truly believe the most important thing you can provide for someone is a job. We’ve seen tremendous growth over the years as some of our interns have become trusted associates and later executives while other associates have changed roles, developed new skills, and truly driven their careers forward. On the personal front, we’ve seen so many of our associates start families, buy houses, and truly flourish in all aspects of their lives while working at Pinnacle Group.

Witnessing these stories is by far the most rewarding part of what I do. As we’ve grown over the years, I have worked diligently to preserve and develop our culture — a culture that is focused on putting people first. It has made all the difference and is one of the cornerstones of Pinnacle Group’s enduring success. Culture starts at the top, so I take my responsibilities as keeper of our culture very seriously. The power of the silent example cannot be overstated in both business and life.

Central to maintaining our unique blend of entrepreneurial spirit and family feel is to create an environment where no work is beneath anyone. We maintain a fairly flat corporate structure, meaning that anyone can jump in and perform any task that needs doing. I say it all the time and I truly mean it — if I need to grab a broom and sweep, then get me the broom!

There’s an old saying that if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers. We embrace that idea at Pinnacle Group and make sure that we integrate the wellness and career development of our associates into our business model. This is what differentiates us from many other companies and allows us to attract and retain the best talent.

Our people-first approach manifests itself in so many ways, from customary health and financial benefits, to fun things like theme weeks and contests, to health fairs and wellness activities, to training opportunities and so on. One thing that may sound frivolous, but we find is so important and appreciated, is our snacks. It’s hard to top Pinnacle’s snack game! While that might seem silly, it’s a fact that people work better and feel happier when they are well-fed, and it shows how much we value our team members when we listen to what they like and adapt to provide it.

Although snacks are fun to talk about, you could have a well-fed workforce that accomplishes very little if you’re not investing in the future of work as well. We invest in technology to automate as much of our routine tasks as possible. This allows our associates to focus their creativity and judgment on solving problems and growing their part of the business. When people’s days aren’t taken up with mundane tasks, they are free to use the talents and skills for which they were hired in the first place, like creativity, service, and entrepreneurial drive.

We want our associates to be lifelong learners, so we put a lot of time, energy, and financial resources into training and helping grow their careers. While I’m the entrepreneur that started Pinnacle Group, everyone at our company can be an entrepreneur (sometimes called an “intrapreneur”). Part of being an entrepreneur within a company is growing and developing yourself. To help with this, Pinnacle provides many different resources, from in-house training, to an online platform associates can use to access thousands of online courses, to industry certifications, to training programs, to college tuition reimbursement. There is no ceiling to anyone’s opportunity for growth and development if they are motivated to take advantage of the resources we provide!

To thrive and help the company thrive, employees need a strong, inclusive, positive work culture. They need an environment that allows them to develop a sense of ownership in the work they produce and in the organization as a whole. That entrepreneurial attitude permeates our company. We want everyone to feel a sense of ownership. Some associates really feel that way because it was their original idea that got us involved in the part of the business that they run, or it was their outside-the-box thinking that helped us leap over a hurdle that was in the way. And our associates know that each of them may be the next person with a great idea or a great fix for a problem we are facing. When associates feel empowered to take chances, innovate, and constantly seek improvement, the entire company flourishes.

One key element to our success is that we work with our associates and put them first. We understand that each person has a set of unique needs and skills, and we work together to find how these can best be addressed and utilized. Because, in the end, we are all a part of the same mission. And we listen to our associates as they work closely with our customers. If a customer has a problem that needs to be solved, our associates are the ones who hear about it first. So, everyone at Pinnacle is in constant communication with both the customers and other team members to make sure that everyone is heard, and every potential problem is solved quickly and efficiently. We pride ourselves on our responsiveness, agility, and creativity.

But none of this would work if we weren’t hiring the right people from the start. Indeed, finding people that fit your company culture is one of the most important and difficult things to do. We have a rigorous hiring process that doesn’t just consider technical skills and accomplishments (though, those are important), but takes into account culture fit and attitude. Is the candidate driven to be excellent at what they do? Can they move at the pace of our fast growth? Do they have a sense of humor? Are they a lifetime learner? We consider all of these factors when bringing someone on board at Pinnacle. Like I said, we want to be a place that no one wants to leave, and, on the flip side of that, we bring in people that we’d like to be here for a long time, too.

Today, I can proudly say that Pinnacle Group is a company whose work culture radiates innovation, entrepreneurship, and appreciation for our staff. This extends beyond the HR department and is carried throughout the organization by leaders at all levels. We are committed to preserving and promoting our culture throughout the company. We focus on it and invest in it. Our executive team places a high value on making sure that everyone believes in and contributes to a positive culture.

Diversity in the workforce is another of Pinnacle’s values and one of the cornerstones of our success. We are a certified-minority- and women-owned business committed to seeking talent from all backgrounds while developing a robust and diverse supply chain. And when I say “diversity,” I mean it in every sense of the word. This includes diversity of thought, diversity of experience, and diversity of background.

We hire successful and talented people from within our industry, but we also look for people who are excelling in other fields, whether that is technology, HR, legal, project management, or any other field where we find excellent talent. Our workforce is also incredibly diverse in another sense: over 65% of our corporate employees are women and 40% are minorities. They come from over a dozen countries and all over the United States.

Why do we spread such a wide net when looking for talent? Because we are in the business of providing and managing top talent in a rapidly changing business environment in which new technologies are released on a daily basis. We have to stay ahead of the game at all levels, and we need the best people in every single role. We continue to grow year-over-year, and I sincerely believe that our success can be credited first and foremost to our dynamic and hard-working team.

Of course, every company is different and will thus need its own carefully-crafted culture. But in any industry, it’s important to remember that company values and philosophies significantly impact the way employees think, act, and perform — and that all starts from the top.