“What I absolutely love about my job is serving my clients and families,” says Kimberly Lawrence, wealth management advisor at Fifth Third Bank. “We are very much incented and encouraged to build a team around a client. I really feel excited when we are able to make such a tremendous impact on their lives.”
Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank entered Charlotte via a 2007 merger with First Charter. Leadership fostered the merging of two corporate cultures by holding town hall meetings to prepare employees for the transition. Today Charlotte is home to 39 Fifth Third branches with more than 600 employees.
The company’s employee review process strives to ensure employees have the jobs they want. Everyone has an individual development plan, which documents their career aspirations. It is reviewed biannually, but is accessible whenever an employee is interested in relocating or moving to a different department. In the latter case, the company provides mentoring, matching the employee with someone to help them, explains senior vice president Regina Wharton, who is also the regional human resources director.
Employee participation in community service is routine. “If someone is not interested in working in the community, they probably don’t want to work for Fifth Third Bank,” says Wharton. Each employee is allowed two paid days to volunteer at an organization of their choice, and the company offers opportunities to serve the community on company time. Teams have worked with Children’s Hope Alliance, UrbanPromise Charlotte, Levine Children’s Hospital, and Habitat for Humanity.
The Young Banker’s Club is an initiative Fifth Third Bank offers to fifth- graders in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. The curriculum is once a week for 10 weeks. The kids are given piggy banks, and are taught about savings and the stock market by creating pretend portfolios that they are taught to track.
Individual employee recognition ranges from circulating emails that praise employees, to the President’s Circle, an annual trip for top performers. Last year they ventured to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana.
Management is united in helping employees succeed. “One of the things I have always loved about the company is from our senior manager down we believe the client is at the center of everything we do,” says Lawrence. She’s impressed that the head of the Wealth and Management Group, who has hundreds of people reporting to him, knows her name and details about her portfolio.
Wharton joined the company in 2010 and loves that she was able to use innovation to build the department. “Putting the customer in the center of everything we do results in empowering, energizing, and engaging our employees,” she says.