Building a World-Class Remote (and Global!) Culture
Cory Sanford is the Vice President of Culture and Talent at Guidant Financial, a firm that helps individuals secure funding to start, buy, or grow a business. He has spearheaded the company’s transition to a fully remote workforce and successfully integrated offshore talent into the organization while protecting a world-class culture. With an executive master’s degree in human resource management, Cory is a graduate and an instructor at Cornell University. He has dedicated over 15 years to fostering positive workplace cultures.
Welcome to The Future Is Borderless podcast with David Nilssen. We feature top entrepreneurs and thought leaders from around the world, those who bring a global mindset and a unique perspective to their life and business. Now, let’s get started with the show.
David Nilssen 0:22
Hey, David Nilssen here I am the host of this show. The Future Is Borderless podcast was created as a means of connecting global business leaders who I think have a borderless mindset, and have adopted borderless practices. And it’s a space where we can freely exchange ideas, share best practices, put a spotlight on new innovations, but not just on a business front but some personal. My hope is that through the conversations that will sort of all grow and lead in a world that is constantly evolving. Now, this episode is brought to you by Doxa Talent, a company that supports businesses and sourcing full-time, dedicated talent from across the globe, and poor by partnering with Doxa, companies can scale faster, improve margins and foster a more inclusive culture. If you’re interested in learning more about how Doxa can help you leverage borderless talent, just simply go to doxatalent.com. All right, well, I’m excited for today’s show. Our guests is Cory Sanford who has dedicated over 15 years to fostering positive workspace and workplace cultures. serving as the Vice President of culture and talent Guidant Financial Cory has spearheaded the company’s transition to a fully remote workforce and successfully integrated offshore talent into the organization while protecting a world class culture. He’s also both a graduate and an instructor of Cornell’s University, Cornell University’s Executive Masters in Human Resource Management Program. And he as a result of that, as well versed in the latest industry practices. I should also note that he holds a professional in Human Resources PHR and a Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional which is Sherm/CP. These are certifications that just help express how qualified he is as a individual in this and he also has a consulting firm helping other companies think about their talents and culture and he serves as the chief excitement officer there. Great expertise in creating thriving workplace cultures is unmatched. And he remains committed to helping organizations achieve their goals through the power of people. So with that, Cory, welcome to The Future Is Borderless.
Cory Sanford 2:31
Wow, it’s really great to be here. And it’s fun to hear all of that in rapid succession. I’m really proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish. And hopefully I can share some of that with the listeners hear.
David Nilssen 2:42
Yeah, no, I’m certainly will. I’m excited about this particular show. Because I think, you know, the topic of offshoring and workspace, even just culture in this sort of odd time is a really hot topic. And so I thought this would be really relevant for our listeners. So let’s just jump straight in. And I want to talk about, actually you for just a second, just go back to the basics. And I want to just understand, what is it that sort of made you decide to choose human resources, and specifically culture and talent as a career path for you?
Cory Sanford 3:13
Yeah, for sure. So this is an interesting story. So I am the product, maybe a rare product of a career exploration class in college, maybe many of us took those classes. I took an interest in skills assessment. And it spit out a handful of potential career options. For me, I didn’t know what I wanted to be. And one of those was human resources and an assignment for us was to interview people in these different careers. And I went to the local hospital there and met the HR leader there. And I had made an appointment when I walked into her office, she recognized who I was, and she spun around twice in her chair, and got up with a big smile and said, I am so excited to meet you and to talk about human resources as a career. She just was like blowing this like energy around her job. And I was like, I want that. And as I talked to her about the human resources career and and what she’s able to do, and people that she’s able to help that just really resonated with me. And then as I was finishing my college degree, I had a job at US Bank and I recognized along the way, really validating places where companies can really invest in team members and employees, and there’s a win win there. If we can find committed professionals to create a culture where people can be happy. I like to say, work should be a place where people can be their best do their best and feel their best. And along the way, I’ve sort of developed that sort of commitment. And now I’ve committed a career to that and I love being able to tell people, what do you do for work and so I like to say my job is to make sure everyone loves their job. So it’s just really fascinating and rewarding, but it started in an interview with somebody that has generated a lot of energy and I’ve tried to bring that to the workplace.
David Nilssen 4:57
It’s funny, I was actually on a I think it was Facebook recently and one of my old teachers from high school. So we’re going back a few years at this point, actually has since retired long ago and wanted to ask people to put a quick note in about one of the memories about them, and so it was a chance for us to sort of go back in time. And I remember thinking, like, this particular person sought me out to be part of leadership, which was one of the classes that he taught. And it sort of inspired my journey in leadership. And I’ve continued ever since. But if it wasn’t for that first interaction, I don’t know if I’d be where I was. So I’m glad for you, your first interaction with HR was not the stereotypical HR admin professional, but actually somebody who really saw it as a chance to improve people clearly and made a difference. All right. Well, for today, I want to narrow in a little bit on your experience leading the people practices of a fully remote global operation, which is Guidant Fnancial, and maybe you can start by explaining why Guidant chose to go remote?
Cory Sanford 6:00
Yeah, great question. So let’s time travel back to 2019 briefly, Guidant had been around for about 16 years was headquartered in Bellevue, Washington and had great ambitions was growing quickly and wanted to grow. And knew that they needed to grow in a place that had great talent that was cost effective for both the business and for team members. And so we created a separate office in Boise, Idaho area, knowing that that was a relatively dense population of talented people who had low cost of living and felt like we could make a real big dent in the community there. And so we had two offices for 2019. And there was some great frozen advantages for that, we also recognize really quickly, there was some challenges with having two offices. And we didn’t have a handful of other individuals that were working remotely. But predominantly, we had these two offices. A couple of the challenges that we recognize were first there was comparisons, constant comparisons, they have this, and we have this, and they have that, and we have that and we did the best we could to sort of create equity and alignment with that, but it still was a challenge. They have sit to stand desks, and this group has cubicles and things like that. The second challenge was the employee experience. We recognize that and many of our listeners probably have had this experience where they’ve been on a zoom call, where many other people are in the office and their side conversations, it’s hard to hear the audio, sometimes they get forgotten, maybe they didn’t get invited to a meeting. And we were experiencing a lot of those same things. And then the third challenge was competition in 2019 and 2020, was really heating up. And Boise was becoming a really hot market for talent and a much more expensive place to to live. And so we recognized that we needed to start competing more on flexibility and remote work and schedules and in areas like that. And so heading into 2020, we were already planning to have more of a fundamental or foundational pieces in place with technology and policies and experimenting with different schedules so that we could compete for talent. So heading into 2020, when COVID 19 pandemic hit, we were pretty prepared. There’s still a lot of work to do. But we had a runway that really prepared us on March 16 2020, to go fully remote. And we leaned into that and tried to do the best that we could and recognize that there was a tremendous amount of value that we’re gaining from being fully remote, and we decided to stick with it and be permanent. And now we’ve coming up on three full years here next week.
David Nilssen 8:43
Yeah, I mean, it’s funny, as you were saying things, there’s a couple of things popped in mind. One is it you guys are decentralized the business used to be all in Seattle. And you did have some offshore operations as well. But you really sort of decentralize the domestic team, which at the time was the largest portion and went to Boise, because it was relatively inexpensive and lower cost of living back then. Certainly exploded. There’s no question about that. But the second thing that you brought up that was really interesting to me was the fact that and I experienced this my own personally, Doxa my business, we’re fully remote operation. And I always brag to people and I say brag, but we have approximately 500 people, we don’t even have a storage closet at this point. It is a fully remote operation. So I know a little bit about what you’re talking about. I remember in my experience when I worked in an office the first time that I was a remote person, while the rest of the team was sitting around a table having a discussion, I realized that we were creating two classes of employees those that had access to information and could learn through osmosis and had the opportunity for water cooler talk, and then there was me. I realized at that moment that you can be best in class in an office you can be best in class at remote, but if you do both, you’re unlikely to be best in class but you’re going to pay for both of those. Well, I’d love to hear from your perspective, every decision has benefits and trade offs, like what are some of the things that you’ve seen as the major benefits of going remote? And then ultimately, like, let’s talk about the other side of that, which is there are some trade offs that you have to make, and anybody that makes a big decision?
Cory Sanford 10:17
Totally. Yeah, I really love how you said that. And one of the biggest advantages is to try to mitigate for that exact experience that you had, and some of the experiences that our team was having of having just these different audio and video and meeting participation experiences, we are now all on the same page, there is over 200 of us, in 15 states in four countries. And we all have the same technology, we all have the same tools, we all have the same expectations for connectivity and our meeting protocols, we’re all having the same experience, we’re being invited to the meetings that we need to have a voice in. And so that all on the same page as a major advantage. The second thing I will say, and we’re seeing that right now is we’re currently experiencing a really nice windfall of talent, as we coach through this heated debate about in office and out of office. And every week, I read about a CEO that’s upset about their team members that are unproductive and lazy. And some real, real extreme words are being used to talk about remote work. And we’re saying, we love it, we figured this out and come work with us, and you talented people that want to work from home, we would love to have you as part of our team. And so we’re hiring and getting great talent.
David Nilssen 11:27
Gosh, you know what I love about that, and I’m gonna go back to something I just said a minute ago, but it made me think, yesterday, I had a conversation with a reporter from a very prominent publication. And they were asking about, like, how do people stand out in this environment. And my comment to them was be very clear, crystallize your employer brand, like you guys are very clear on the fact your remote workforce. So if you want to be in the office, we are not right for each other. And that’s okay. But when you’re not clear about who you are, people have a hard time identifying whether they want to be a part of that or not, or may end up joining and realize it’s not a good fit. So it sounds like by being clear, you guys have access to a more robust pipeline than would have otherwise.
Cory Sanford 12:07
Indeed, indeed. Yeah, so we’ve been able to attract a lot of talent. And we’ve been really clear, and we try to build that into the conversation when we’re hiring remote. Do you have experience in working remote? What do you think are gonna be your biggest opportunities with remote or biggest challenges, and let’s talk about how that could work. And we lean into that in the hiring process. So yeah, some great advantages, there are some additional advantages. We’re opening 15 different states in the US, that’s opened up a great diverse talent pool for us that we’ve been able to hire great diverse individuals with a lot of different experience and backgrounds into key roles. Being fully remote as loud as to seamlessly integrate offshore talent, which has been a huge boon into our business in terms of talent and productivity. And because we were fully remote, that was an easy transition to scale up, as we embraced more and more offshore talent. And then one thing I’ll just add environmentally that I’m really proud of just the 125 team members that we have in the United States, we estimate that we save about 600,000 miles a year, from the roads, these are miles that aren’t spent commuting, that aren’t paying for gas that aren’t putting miles on cars and roads. And that’s just something that I’m really, really proud of 600,000 Miles is significant that our team gets to benefit from. So yeah, pretty exciting. Let’s talk about trade offs. So there are some trade offs. And you’re exactly right, one of the things that we had to do upfront, as we said, we are fully and permanently remote. We will do everything that we can to make this a successful experience for you. And if you feel like this is not right for you, we will help you find an opportunity gladly in a place where you will thrive and be successful. And we actually lost fewer people than we were anticipating there were only a few people that said, I really thrive on being in an office at some part of their week or day. And we have helped to embrace that. But otherwise, we have maintained a really core group of individuals that have really embraced and leaned into that. So a couple of trade offs. The two biggest ones are work life balance, ironically, because that’s normally one that people talk about with remote work is that you have a better work life balance. And there are ways that we lean into that and ways that we are really trying to lean into that. And we feel like we’re doing a pretty good job where people struggle is where do I turn off my computer or my phone? When does work time to come home time. And we’ve had to experiment with that. And we’ve had to set an example as leaders of doing that not sending emails or text messages after hours and things like that. So that’s a tricky one that we’re navigating and then connection comes up a lot. And how we try to mitigate connection is I believe that culture is connection. And so when we talk about culture and we talk about connection, we can build culture, the same ways that we can in office or hybrid as we can fully remote. And that’s by leaning into connecting people to with the purpose of the business three things, culture is connection connecting people to the purpose of the business, the leaders of the business, in particular, the direct supervisor, and then connection to each other. And so we create a menu of opportunities where people can connect with these different elements. And we measure each of these elements, and we try to keep a pulse on how we’re doing and keeping people connected to the culture and to each other, and to the leaders and to the purpose. And in that way, we have mitigated a lot of the fear and concern around connection in remote space.
David Nilssen 15:43
I love it. I want to come back to the culture is connection coming in here a second ago. But I want to just make two comments. First is, I love that you measure the 600,000 miles per year, like I love that. It’s funny, we at Doxa we’re also remote, we say we give 21 days back to our team not sitting in traffic, 21 full days with their family. And so I love this sort of what I would call, you guys are taking it from the perspective of like, what I would call, you know, you’re saving time and money and also the costs associated with commuting. And then on the flip side, there’s also a component that is giving back time to their family, assuming that you can keep that work life balance in play, which I think is fair. In your bio, I mentioned that you were an instructor in Cornell University’s Executive Master’s program for human resources. And generally those types of programs have pretty extensive alumni networks. And I’m assuming that this sort of workspace indecisiveness topic is a hot issue there as well, how are they thinking about it? And are there sort of any inconsistencies or similar challenges that you’re seeing with them?
Cory Sanford 16:57
Yeah, for sure. So what I will say is, nobody has raised their hand yet and said, we have figured out hybrid work, follow us. Everybody is sort of trying to figure out this hybrid workspace, there are people that have said, we have figured out office space working and there are people that believe that if they figured out remote work and and I like to believe that Guidant is on the front edge of a lot of that exploration, I’m really proud of that, as we look at hybrid workspace, though, and this in decisiveness, and this debate, heated debate between company leaders and employees and that’s really, really public right now. It’s something that is continuing to be debated, I will share a few things about consistency that I have seen. The people that are doing it best in any sort of work environment or work arrangement is asking the team, asking the team and genuinely consider what they need and want to be successful. The best companies are providing options. If they are unwilling to be fully remote, or they want to embrace some level of remote work with office work, then providing options is important. That could be days of the week, that could be desk sharing, that could be part time work, and in some cases, so being flexible and providing options. The best companies are also embracing a testing culture. And just saying, and this is something that Guidant and me personally learned early on, we were very honest with our team. We have never done this before. Will you please give us feedback, honest feedback regularly. And please give us some grace as we try a lot of different things to figure out what’s going to work for all of us. And so the best companies are embracing a testing culture, being creative, and testing, but also learning to fail learning to learn. And then the last thing that I will say the best companies are seriously seriously challenging their assumptions about remote work and connection and culture. And can we really collaborate remotely? I believe, yes. Can we really create connection remotely? I believe yes. Now, there are some asterisks, right. company size, geographic distribution, certainly industry. I came from a healthcare background before guidance. Certainly you can’t fully remote an assisted living facility. Right. There are some limitations to that. But to the extent that is being explored, those are some things that the best companies are doing to evaluate how to approach their work experience.
David Nilssen 19:44
And there’s some real golden nuggets in there. I just want to summarize what I wrote down. So first of all, you talked about culture and options. I would say one of the emerging trends I’ve seen in education and experiences is the idea of personalization right? And what you’re saying in terms of option speaks right to that, for me, testing culture. When I was a young executive/entrepreneur, I was always afraid people would know that I’m making stuff up half the time. We’re learning as we go, right? Yeah, I think there’s this shift in culture where you can actually be open and transparent, like, hey, look, we’re going to try this, and we’re going to learn, and then we’re going to adapt. So the testing culture really is great. And then, years ago, I heard from one of my coaches that too often people have a solution, and they go in search of a problem, or they have an assumption that they work to justify. And I think you’re right, like challenging these biases that are deeply rooted in us, because we’ve always done it that way, is so critical to being innovative and leading change. So I love that. Let me just step back for a second, we’ve been talking a little bit about Guidant. I realize some of our listeners are probably unfamiliar. So as I would express familiar, obviously, with Guidant, of course, they provide financing solutions to aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners since 2003. 20 years ago, they put about $6 billion to work through things like SBA loans and rollover for business startups. But that’s not all they do. On the backside, they provide business services like accounting and tax and payroll and 401k administration that allows the business owner to focus on growing their business versus getting mired in the details. But today, even though there’s a lot of automation available with all those types of services, it still requires a lot of human interference or a lot of human capital to complete the services. And you guys have about 40% of your workforce overseas. Is that accurate? Yeah, that’s right. So as I think about that blending cultures is not easy, even when you’re framing the same country and in the same proximity. So, how are you guys sort of modifying how you think about building culture and bringing some of the practices that you guys have had for a long period of time, but now using that to sort of blend these cultures together and create a more productive and connected culture in your words.
Cory Sanford 22:03
Yeah, that’s right. So I love how you summarized that before, people are our product that’s our product is our people being able to deliver for entrepreneurs, what they need to successfully run their business. And so as we embrace offshore talent, I will admit that when I joined the company in 2019, and we did have a handful of individuals that were offshore, our talent approach at that time was as conservative as possible because one, I think it came from a place of not totally understanding but also came from a place of really wanting to have deference and respect for our partner. And so these individuals were not invited to team meetings to our Monday morning stand ups, they weren’t included in teams’ channels, we didn’t celebrate birthdays, or anniversaries, those things like that. And so one of my favorite sayings is I try not to take down a fence before I know why it was built. And so when I just got curious and said, this seems interesting to me, for somebody that’s so big on culture and sees the advantage of us being connected. Help me understand how we got here. And it did come from a lot of legal sort of contractual sort of understanding, but also some misunderstandings. And so we took drastic efforts to really embrace and say we believe they will be happiest and most productive when they feel like they are part of the team. And so we have brought them as far along that pendulum to that contractual limitation as we could. And now we celebrate when they come and when they go, we celebrate when they are promoted when they have birthdays and anniversaries. And so we have really, really implemented that. I’ll speak to one thing in the Philippines that has been really important to us through Doxa is Doxa recently came to us and said, How would you like to handle holidays in the Philippines? Some clients want them to only celebrate US holidays with the rest of the team and do something differently with Philippine holidays. And I think true to Guidant culture and how we value diversity and equity and inclusion, we said we want them to embrace and celebrate with them and their teams and their families how they want to and need to within their country. And so we’ve said, they can celebrate those holidays and have those days off and then they can work the holidays that we would have often we trust them to work even when we’re not in the office that way we celebrate the holidays that are important to us in our country. They celebrate the ones that are important to them in their country. I’ll just add one last thing, culture is connection. So I said it’s connection to me culture is connection to three things connection to the purpose connection to leaders connection to each other, and we’ve created a menu of options and opportunities for all team members, regardless of location to participate in Monday morning stand ups, team meetings, Supervisory one on ones, company parties and events, we have happy hours. And we have break room channels where we recognize each other, excuse me have teams channels, one of those is a break room that we created where people can go and share recipes and family pictures and travel logs and things like that, where we’ve tried to recreate this water cooler experience. And all team members are invited to come and participate in that. So those are a lot of the ways that we’ve just sort of tried to embrace and shift really including our offshore amazing talent.
David Nilssen 25:37
Yeah, I will share for the audience here we had Cory actually come to Doxa’s annual event. And every year, we invite our clients to come back and spend time with their teams, and have a chance to sort of catalyze those relationships. We asked Cory if he would speak to the entrepreneurs and executives that were in attendance there. And I was really struck by this idea of culture as connection purpose leader and your team and the way that they’ve sort of built these, hey, these are the ways we expect you to participate. And here are other ways that you can say build a sort of like, personalized culture that allows people to be a part of the things that really are required as a team member, but those other things that might give some energy, and maybe others may not. And they get to kind of pick and choose. And I I loved it. So I just would sort of emphasize there that personalization is not just for going to Chipotle, but actually can be culture as well. We talked about offshore team members. First of all, what types of roles are you guys primarily using offshore and then think about inviting people into your company?
Cory Sanford 26:43
Yeah. So we have, yeah, about 40% of our team is offshore that represents about 80 to 85 individuals. And so we have really embraced talent in a wide spectrum. We have found amazing talent, doing administrative work for our biggest team, which is our 401k team, which helps our entrepreneurs maintain their 401 K plans and the required IRS filings and elements associated with that. So really technical roles, a lot of accounting, technical accounting roles, we also have great talent from an engineering and product perspective. And we’ve tested bringing them in to a sales in sales roles, and we have them on the phones. I know that that’s something that I’ve shifted my perspective on is I was sensitive to how our clients might feel about talking to somebody that may have an accent or something like that. And we have totally embraced that these are people that speak great English, they are knowledgeable, they are friendly, and we are more than happy to have them be the voice on the phone, or the face of talking to our clients. And so we have really embraced that. Four years ago, these roles were primarily behind the scenes, a lot of administrative work behind the scenes, they didn’t interact much with clients. But we again, have shifted that pendulum towards we believe that they can be successful in all roles. And we are finding talent in many roles, which is why we’ve grown to 80 plus and 40% of our workforce is because there’s so many talented and wonderful people overseas that are adding tremendous value to our team and our clients.
David Nilssen 28:33
It’s funny, I remember a couple of years ago, we heard a lot or maybe more than a couple years right before the pandemic, actually we heard a lot of people that were concerned about the idea of outsourcing or offshoring, because they were worried that their clients wouldn’t accept this sort of international blend. And funny enough, I think COVID flattened the world and showed that we’re all connected and that this is a global, we’re globally connected, I guess, is the best way to put it. And now that is not an objection that we hear at all, when we talk to prospective clients about the idea of offshoring. We talked about workspace and culture, culture is often about infusing values right into the organization. Obviously, these team members that you have offshore are not employees, they’re contractors. And so, there are some separations in that regard, but how do you think about inviting these people in the organization and infusing that sort of culture in a world where you’re sort of distributed everywhere.
Cory Sanford 29:33
Yeah. That’s a great question. Let me share a few ways that Guidant does that first of all, our interview questions are basically based on our values. There’s questions that are around the job itself, and there’s questions around the company that our values base so that’s the first place that we see that show up. When people come into the organization, every team member, regardless of location, spends 30 minutes having discussion around Guidant’ values and principles. This is what they are, this is how you’ll see them in action. This is how you can recognize them. And this is how you can live them. We have a Microsoft team’s channel dedicated just to recognizing each other, anybody can recognize anybody. And our encouragement is attach that to a value or a principle. And so you’ll often see, hey, cheers to Lemen is my HR assistant that I have through Doxa. Lemen really demonstrated this value. And I want everybody to see how she lived this particular value of excellence in getting better every day. And so that’s a way that we can do that. We also have a weekly email that comes out from our CEO. And in every one of those weekly emails, there are two or three examples of people in the company anywhere in the company that are living those values and principles. So they can see specific stories and examples of how those are lived. On a monthly basis, we send out a people newsletter that celebrates people that are joining the team or being promoted and spotlights on certain teams and events that are coming up. But we also have a focus months, hey, in this month, pay really close attention to this value, and principle. And the last thing I’ll just share is on a semi annual basis, twice a year, we have an event called our people celebration that is dedicated solely to our values and principles and recognizing 12 13-ish individuals that have lived the values in the prior six months and we get to celebrate them and recognize them, it’s a surprise for them, we have food and we celebrate it. And that is a moment in time where we focus solely on values and principles. And so there are moments in time through the entire experience and employee journey where all team members are interacting with values are being recognized for living them and seeing others that are living them. And they’re being reinforced at these regular intervals in the organization.
David Nilssen 31:56
I love it. I love the fact that you guys not only have values that stand on a wall, which most companies do, but have figured out rhythms in the business to reinforce the behaviors that demonstrate living those values over and over again. I think that is such a important part of building a culture that’s consistent and in line with our values. And so I hope anybody listening if you’re not already started implementing some of these practices definitely worth considering. Cory, I know we’re getting close to the end of our time. But I want to talk a little bit about just the general employment landscape post COVID and how that has sort of shifted the way that you guys approach maybe recruiting or onboarding shoot, I mean, just about anything development, retention, you name it. So can you talk to me a little bit about like some of the shifts that you’ve seen that you guys have adapted to unbelievable probably sustain in the long term?
Cory Sanford 32:48
Yeah, so I’ve been thinking a lot about perspectives I’ve shifted or changed, especially recently, and hopefully, I can share a quick anecdote. This is a titanium ring. This was on my son’s finger when he smashed it in a skateboarding accident, and it was unable to come off. It took a doctor, an orthopedic doctor and a fire department to try to get this thing cut off before it swelled. And they couldn’t get it off. So instead of going to the emergency room, we had to wait for that finger to not swell, we had to work really hard. And then finally, we’re able to get that off. I mentioned that because my son loved this ring. And it seemed like a really good idea for him to wear it at the time. But there became a point in time where this was no longer serving him. And so I am reading a book called Think Again by Adam Grant. And that story is interesting. And then your question is great, because how have we been thinking about? workspace especially since the pandemic? Let me share a few things that I’ve sort of changed my mind about the one is hiring in the US only. That is something that I believe may have served us for a time certain clients at a time that wanted to talk to people in the US. You are exactly right. The world has been come flattened. And we have been amazed and surprised at how much our clients have embraced having an international team that’s available and ready to support they’re knowledgeable. The second thing is around client facing roles and outsourcing those, again, we had a lot of success with these behind the scenes administrative roles. There’s a lot of talent there. As we have moved more towards client facing roles, that is something that is now serving us better because we’ve had a chance to relook at that we’ve taken the moment to say hey, what you’ve our beliefs or conclusions are still serving us in which are not. I also have come from a place where I wanted to and felt compelled to have all of the answers. And something that I have shifted about with onboarding and with recruiting is that I am learning and I am embracing that I don’t have all the answers and how empowering it is for me to just say, I don’t know, I don’t know, let’s talk to some smart people. Let’s brainstorm together, let’s test some things, whether yeah, in all those areas that you listed recruiting, onboarding, and training, and let’s learn together. And let’s embrace a culture of curiosity and testing and learning. And so this idea that I needed to have all the answers was not serving me any longer. And since I’ve really learned a lot about embracing that. And then the last thing I’ll say is offboarding is I used to take that really personally. And it hurt my feelings when people left the organization, especially when I felt like we’ve done a lot to help them. Instead, I’ve really embraced this idea that these are Guidant alumni. It’s been a privilege, having them on their journey with them. And many of our being promoted to these awesome roles and Guidant was able to help them to do that. And then I’ve been so excited, because I’ve tried to keep in touch with our Guidant alumni network, and just in the last six months, including Doxa, and US team members, we’ve had four people rejoin the team, they’ve gone to do something else and realize, hey, I really miss it there. And so in the last six months or so, we’ve had four people that have come back to the team. And so the pandemic and testing and fully remote and embracing offshoring has really put me in a place to reflect on my assumptions and giving me a space to challenge those and I have really changed my perspective in a variety of ways to a place where I think these are serving me better.
David Nilssen 36:26
Wow, there’s a famous quote, I think, was Maya Angelo that said it, it was people rarely remember what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel. And when I think about the idea of team members who have left and where you’ve celebrated their transitions, it leaves a lasting impression on people on the fact that now you’ve got those that have gone outside the organization and realized how the grass isn’t greener, I’m coming back. I think that’s exceptional. And I just, I love the idea that the world is flat and that going offshore provides more diversity for the organization and actually the ability to run on a 24/7 cycle. I love that cultures communication, sorry, connection and connection to purpose, leader and team is the way that that is done. I love the idea of testing your bias and allowing or challenging your bias and allowing to create a culture of testing is such an important skill that most businesses are afraid to embrace. And again, the celebrating transitions leaves a lasting impression. Cory, I’m going to close with that. I think this has been awesome. For those of you listening, we’ve been talking to Cory Sanford, the VP of culture and talent at Guidant Financial. Cory, where can people go to learn more about you and the company?
Cory Sanford 37:44
Sure. So guidantfinancial.com is a place you can come to explore all about career opportunities, but certainly the amazing work that we’re doing for entrepreneurs, you can find me on LinkedIn, Cory Sanford, there’s a couple of us, but you’ll recognize my goofy face there. And it shows that I’m working at a guided financial. So I’m on LinkedIn, we have a great website that you can check out anytime.
David Nilssen 38:08
Well, and we’ll put those in the show notes. Cory, thanks so much for being on the call today.
Cory Sanford 38:12
Really appreciate being here. Thanks, David. Always good to see you.
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