First United Bank is a financial services organization that is dedicated to helping our customers protect and make the most of their assets. But we're a lot more than that. Banking, business, and finance are what we do, not who we are.
We started our culture journey several years ago when we decided to put our organization’s values down on paper. We knew this would help us to focus on our values in a consistent way and give us a way to hold each other accountable. Many companies would have probably hired a marketing firm to talk with their leadership and develop values to roll-out to employees. We knew we wanted to do things differently. We felt it was extremely important to involve our employees and ask them who we are and who we aspire to be.
We hosted meetings with every employee and asked, “What do we value?” followed by, “What should we value?” Our employees answered! There were walls, conference rooms, and white boards covered in sticky notes with words and phrases that meant the most to our employees.
After more than 40 Values meetings, with over 600 employees (we had just under 700 at the time), the committee had gathered hundreds of words and ideas. They then began to try to make sense of all those ideas. It took many hours, but they began to see a pattern in the ideas and emotions that had been expressed. They found that there were six words that repeated over and over. Those words were faith, family, integrity, teamwork, relationships, and community. Our values were not created by an outside agency or passed down from our Board or Executives. The words truly came from the hearts of our employees.
In 2017, with the help of our employees, we added a seventh value to our list – learning. Because we are a learning organization, and personal growth is one of our four Spend Life Wisely pillars, we felt like it was time to add this word that means so much to our organization.
We use these seven values to guide each of our decisions and they act as a daily reminder to do what’s right for our customers, our employees, our shareholders, our partners and suppliers, and our communities.