One of the major features of our focus on our culture–The Hightower Way–are “huddles” held 2/week across departments and functions. Everyone is required to join (although it quickly became something people looked forward to) to discuss everything from our mission to bucket list items–based on a template that all huddle leaders worked from, for a common starting ground. Sharing ideas in small groups has expanded to larger groups through brown-bag lunches and fun activities on “Engagement Wednesdays”–days when the whole firm, with our hybrid work model–try to be in the office to enjoy festive lunches to classes like “creating a charcuterie tray”. We believe strongly in connections and empowerment. They are key elements of “The Hightower Way” and the card of standards (included in attachments).
Frequent leadership communication through town hall meetings and all-hands meetings keeps everyone in the loop on company goals and performance. We are highly oriented towards growth, and are precise in talking to everyone in the firm about how their role and their department influences and accelerates that growth. We are approaching our 15 anniversary and will celebrate with the unveiling of “Journey Maps” that tell the story of where we began and where we are, and the momentum along the way has been celebrated in awards, positive feedback, and continued expansion.
Our "Culture Committee" and our "Culture Champions", two different groups (one to promote morale and camaraderie; the second to guide The Hightower Way program) both include a cross section of levels from entry level (and interns) through senior management. Bob, our CEO, hosts "Breakfast with Bob" and again, invites a group of different levels and perspectives for a casual breakfast. We celebrate wins, big and small, in our 2/week huddles (passing a test, running a marathon, etc) and live by the standard that this should be a "safe place" to present ideas and be a part of the community; this even extends to our advisor community, where we encourage a dialogue of mutual respect.
Four years in, our "Leading at Hightower" program is still going strong; led by an outside coach/trainer, this program focuses on qualities of leadership, working with different styles, a business simulation, and more; it is designed to seek out and help advance the next generation of leadership. We also support achieving personal/professional goals through sponsoring employees in certification programs, continuing education, and other professional development. Our "Hightower Way" includes a flexible hybrid model, allowing employees to choose two days a week to come to the office with the balance work-from-home--enabling involvement in a sport vs a commute, for instance. We also allow employees to work "one month from anywhere" and the pictures of the flags included in this submission show just a few of the amazing places our team members have worked; one spent a month in Marco Island, and the warmth was secondary to the ability to be there for her aging parents to fulfill that personal goal.
In creating “The Hightower Way”, we worked with a series of focus groups at all levels of the organization, cross-functionally, with outside consultants from the Ritz Carlton Center for Leadership guiding the project to ensure accountability and honesty. Everything from the mission to the 7 standards was discussed and agreed upon at all levels, to make sure it felt genuine and would be representative of who we are.
Our Hightower HighFlex program as described above and through attachment is heartily embraced as evidenced by the flags pictured across the world. We celebrate important dates thoughtfully; during Black History Month, all employees received a gift box packed with treats and goodies from Black-owned businesses. During the pandemic, surprises including cosy blankets and s'mores kits were periodically sent to keep everyone connected. And our Engagement Day lunches with a spectrum of menus offer fun and good food!
Bob leads our huddle twice a month and makes a point of being prepared and reaching out to many on a very busy zoom. He is completely accessible and loves to visit different groups throughout the day, and is always game to join a happy hour or a team outing. He models a level of respect and open listening in every day actions, and also shares personal stories when appropriate to build common ground (such as a daughter with anxiety), that can help others feel they can open up in a safe way.
Our "one month from anywhere" program is fairly unique, we believe; one of the first to take advantage was one of our designers who chose to spend her month in Amsterdam, a dream. She was able to do so because of a "surprise and delight" bonus; a small number of employees who went above and beyond were rewarded with cash bonuses beyond their annual bonus to do something truly special. Employees in some cases can also participate in the incentive program to be rewarded as the company grows. We offer benefits including free membership in Calm (the app), "Perks at Work" for discounts on travel and more, and our most popular: pet insurance. We also have candy tubes in all our our offices!
Hightower Advisors is one of the top RIA firms in the country; that success comes entirely from the strong relationship our forward-thinking home office has with our growth-minded advisor community. Our mission is well-th rebalanced: the concept that wealth is more than money. We believe in advancing financial literacy overall; we are focused on next-generation advisors and clients, and we believe our advisory firms make this world a better place. Our job is to do everything to empower those goals.
200 West Madison, Suite 2500
Chicago, IL 60606
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