Corporate Culture

Shameless, but true…

Colin McLain
Colin McLain
Vice President

I have a confession. I genuinely enjoy writing these blogs as there’s no clear instruction on the topic — everything is basically fair game. So, with that primer, this is a topic that’s been on my mind as of late.

I arrived at Holmes Murphy roughly seven years ago via an acquisition of the agency I was working for. Before stepping foot into a Holmes Murphy office, I asked many of my industry partners and colleagues, “What do you know about Holmes Murphy?” The most common statements I heard from the market were: “Holmes Murphy is just different…but in a good way”; “Holmes Murphy is a class act”; “Holmes Murphy really cares about their clients and their employees”… just to name a few. While these comments provided me a ton of excitement about the new organization I would be joining, they also left me very skeptical, as I couldn’t fathom taking these comments at face value. I had to experience it myself to truly judge, and it didn’t take long to see, hear, and feel exactly what everyone was telling me.

Fast forward to present-day. I have partners and colleagues (even competitors) in the industry who continue to voluntarily share similar comments. I’ve recently started the practice of asking them, “What do you mean by that?” or “Give me examples of why we’re different?” I often hear variations of the following:

Holmes Murphy seeks to do what is right first, even when it doesn’t generate direct revenue. Holmes Murphy would rather keep score on the outcome vs. the income. 

What this says to me is that our people, our leadership, and our organization aspire to do what is in the best interest of our clients, our partners, and our industry first…even when we may not see the direct benefit. While you can achieve both simultaneously, I think the real test is asking this: Would Holmes Murphy have made the effort and contribution if there was no direct financial return? I can confirm, the answer is an astounding “yes!”

When I first joined Holmes Murphy, I remember a conversation I overheard with our President Den Bishop (aka our Chief Maker-Upper). Den stated, “This business is tough, and it’s incumbent upon us to make it better for everyone. If we have an idea that would benefit our industry, we’re not going to keep it to ourselves; we’re going to make it accessible to everyone.” Make no mistake, we rarely give this intellectual property away for free, but we also don’t hold on to it exclusively. Whether it’s one of our wholly owned subsidiaries, publications, conferences, etc., we consistently share our thoughts and ideas with anyone who is interested (including our perceived competitors).

Holmes Murphy is very well respected in our industry; ask anyone and they will tell you the same thing. 

True integrity shows the same face to all. I’ve heard that one’s reputation isn’t as important as one’s integrity — as reputation is what people think of you and integrity is who you really are. What makes me most proud of Holmes Murphy are our people, their work ethic, their heart, and their integrity. And make no mistake, it all starts with our leadership. From the top down, it’s simply infectious. Believe in what you stand for and stand for what you believe. To say it another way, lead with Courageous Influence. Anyone can give advice from his/her own point of view; however, it takes care, skill, and emotional intelligence to deliver advice that’s in someone else’s best interests. We’re not the perfect fit for all companies, and we don’t change our story just to close business. We’re true to ourselves and true to others. Lately, I’ve contemplated whether these traits can be taught or learned. Sure, our leadership could give our employees a big rah-rah speech or create a cool coaching program around these qualities/traits, but I suspect it’s the actual actions witnessed day-in and day-out that create such a systemic culture of integrity.

Holmes Murphy clients are very loyal and committed. 

Maybe it’s how our clients experience the qualities listed above or maybe it’s just sheer luck, but Holmes Murphy has some of the best clients (more like friends and business partners) I’ve ever worked with. There is a saying I believe in whole-heartedly: “You often attract those who are like you.” If you say and do the things you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe. The best compliment in our business is receiving a referral from a client. That’s because they’re putting their name, reputation, and integrity on the line with Holmes Murphy. That’s nothing to take lightly, and we certainly don’t. It’s by far one of the most rewarding outcomes we receive (just behind improving the health and lives of our clients’ employees and their families). Our service teams strive to make every customer experience exceptional. If we never receive any public or formal “pat on the back,” a client’s referral is all the validation we need for a job well done. We may not strive for perfection, but we do strive for excellence!

I do apologize for the lack of humility in this blog, but I make no apologies for the pride I have working alongside the people and enterprise of Holmes Murphy.

If you have a story to share about Holmes Murphy or have heard a story third-hand, please feel free to share in the Comments section below!

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