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6 Reasons to Work (and Stay) at Fidelity Investments

Fidelity Investments is hiring and here are just a few (of many) reasons to head on over to their job listings to apply to your next dream job!

I had the distinct pleasure to have Harold Stankard, the Senior Vice President, General Manager and Regional Leader of the Fidelity Investments Regional Center in Jacksonville, FL as a recent guest on Hard Workah with Pete the Job Guy. He shared great information based on his 21 years at Fidelity Investments (that’s a LOOOOOONG time).

To listen to the full conversation (or read, if you’re a reader), click here.

Before I dive into the reasons to consider working at Fidelity Investments, I’m going give important background information.

Fidelity Investments is one of the largest and most diversified financial services firm in the United States with over $7 trillion in customer assets. Fidelity Investments serves over 27 million Americans by helping them build a strong financial future. One in five American investors has an account with Fidelity Investments (and they actually handle our 401k at GEE Group Inc. NYSE: JOB). For more information on Fidelity, click here.

All in all, Fidelity Investments is a hot destination employer nationally. Specifically, in Jacksonville, Fidelity is planning to hire 70 to 100 people by the end of the calendar year of 2018. If you’re already convinced that you or a friend should work for Fidelity Investments, (then great!) click here to view the current job openings. If not, keep reading for my 6 reasons to work (and stay) at Fidelity Investments.

  1. Two words: “Mom room.”

So, if you’re like my co-host Arren and you’re a working mom, this is going to be something VERY appealing. They have a whole room dedicated to moms. And get this, IT WAS DESIGNED BY MOMS. So, it has everything you need if you have just had your child and you’re ready to enter the workforce again. The room concept is so thoughtful and cool itself, but this is just one of the many things that prove Fidelity Investments will go the extra mile for YOUR comfort – again, the word “comfort” is not even on the radar for most companies, just remember that!   

  1. Central Location = Shorter Commute

At the beginning of the show, I shared a couple stats on how long commutes can affect your work day, ultimately wasting your time and making you more stressed. You’d be happy to know that Fidelity Investments is in the center of Jacksonville, off Gate Parkway, on Touchton Rd. This not only means lunch at some of the best places in Jax (I may be biased) but also a shorter commute for many of you!

See how far it is from you:

4601 Touchton Rd Jacksonville, FL 32256

  1. Open Concept

“I just LOVE going to work and sitting in a boxed cubicle for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, not interacting with people around me,” SAID NO ONE EVER.

One thing that Harold mentioned that is VERY rare in Jacksonville is that the office has an open floor plan. There is nothing traditional about walking into their office – the cube walls are down, which ultimately drives flexibility and work ethic up. They have a new 50,000 square foot facility here in Jacksonville!

Harold Stankard: We wanted to do things in a new, modern manner that created a really collaborative work environment for our people. So, when thinking about this new 50,000 square foot facility, most people would visualize a traditional call center setup. Where is there is this big room with lots of cubicles and everybody has a headset and they are tied to their computer all day, and also tied to their phone.

Let me tell you, this is not that.

Every one of our associates works off a laptop and a wireless headset. There are no cubicles. It’s all flat desks with open areas. There are standing stations all over the place where, if you want to get up, you could even mid-conversation, detach your laptop and walk around the building and go to a couch to finish the call or a standing station to finish the call.

We’ve been in this space for about six months and the results are just awesome. Most people feel much more free while at work, they collaborate with their peers better. We tore down the walls. We tore down the traditions and we’ve created this new, really cool work environment.

  1. No Dress Code

Fidelity Investments allows you to dress comfortably (of course, if it’s appropriate) so that you can save your brainpower to focus on more important issues and feel good!

Now, I will say there is a difference in dressing appropriately for interviews, but once you land the job and prove that you’re a ‘hard workah’, then enough spending hours on thinking about what to wear or moving to adjust your pants or socks that ride up or down throughout the day – just dress for comfort and work hard! I like that, I mean Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerburg did/do it.

  1. Student Loan Forgiveness + Tuition Reimbursement Programs

Pete: Harold, maybe you can help me out with this. I see a lot of folks that graduate college and they’re wrestling with so much student loan debt and people make life decisions based on that debt, or perhaps maybe they decide not even go to college just to stay out of debt. Do you have any kind of programs or something that Fidelity Investments offers for people carrying substantial student loan debt.

Harold Stankard: Yes! It’s a legitimate concern for people today and on one side, we’re constantly advising parents, grandparents and others on how to best save for future college, so debt isn’t required, but there are a lot of us, myself included, who leave school with debt on the books. And, about a year and a half ago, Fidelity Investments unveiled a pretty awesome benefit.  In addition to tuition reimbursement programs that most companies have, we now have a Student Loan Debt Repayment Benefit where we will help you pay back your student loans if you’re a Fidelity employee. We’ll help you pay back up to $10,000 worth over five years.

So, I took away two things when Harold told me this: (1) Free money and (2) Fidelity will support your educational endeavors! Which leads me to the number one reason on why you should work at Fidelity Investments:

  1. They Offer World Class Training

When making hiring decisions, Fidelity Investments looks for hard working individuals that have a passion to serve others.  Fidelity Investments has a phenomenal and innovative training program to help you to be successful no matter what previous experience you bring to the table.

Harold Stankard: If there are people in this industry that are interested in Fidelity Investments, we’d love to talk to them, but the majority of people we hire, believe it or not, don’t have financial services experience. We teach those skills… It’s really important for us to find people who are learners, who thrive on learning…  we’ll help you get licensed. We’ll teach you the dynamics of our firm and how we serve customers. Just getting licensed in this industry is not easy. In the past, the historic pass rates for the Series 7 license have always hovered in the high 60 percentages nationally. We hover around 90%. So, we make sure we prepare people for that examination.

*BONUS: They Treat their Customers like People* 

Harold Stankard: When it comes down to talking to customers who are real people with real problems, they’re worried about their finances, because finances empower so many of the other things that you care about in life: family, retirement, vacations, college, etc. So, we try and create a learning experience that’s as real as possible. In fact, one of the things that we’ve been piloting this year is a virtual reality learning experience. Imagine being new to the industry, new to Fidelity, and we’re trying to teach you our systems, products, services, and how we communicate with customers. It’s one thing to learn it with role-playing or in a book or in video, but it’s quite another if you can put on a virtual reality helmet and we can place you right in the kitchen of an investor who happens to be juggling two kids and calling us with their statements on the counter, pen in hand, feeling the stress that they’re feeling when they call…

Fidelity will train you so that you can be the best in your field. Whether you are already familiar with the finance industry and just don’t have certifications OR even if you are new to the industry, it will definitely bump up your personal development!

Additionally, they are aware of the human condition. I firmly believe that businesses who recognize that customers are people and not numbers will create a highly valued experience for their customers and gain even MORE business. Fidelity Investments uses technology (virtual reality) to teach their employees, firsthand, this concept that ‘people are people and they have real problems’. You don’t get this type of training just anywhere, it only comes from successful businesses who have a genuine relationship with their customers rather than simply a transactional relationship. This is truly invaluable.

There you are! These are the reasons you should consider working for this hot destination employer, Fidelity Investments, provided to you by me – a staffing expert who has been in the field for over 20 years. So catch this opportunity and apply now, before it’s too late!

If you have your resume ready, apply here, today!

Ready to listen to the full conversation, click here.

Tips on Buying your new house from a real REALTOR™

I had licensed Realty Professional, Kim Sessions, in the studio the other Sunday and we talked about “everything houses.” In case you missed the full conversation, here were her tips for before buying your dream house.

#1 Get pre-qualified first

Kim: Get pre-qualified first! So, the biggest thing a lot of times is people just, they think they can afford “x” and they start a window shopping and even start looking and then they can’t afford it. And then, you have your mind set on a certain price house and you can’t get it. And then it’s a big struggle. So, it’s very easy to get pre-qualified I would say. That’s the absolute first thing that you need to do.

#2 Check/ Work on that Credit Score

Pete: What’s your payment? What the total cost is? What you’re looking to accomplish? Is it 30, is it 15 [years]? And you know, FHA, VA, you got all these different programs out there and the adjustable/ nonadjustable I don’t even know what the heck…

Kim: Oh my gosh, they have something for everybody. But it’s, that’s why it’s so important to pre-qualified again because if your credit is not that great, it can affect what your interest rate would be. And that could actually push you out of a whole price point of a house.

#3 Envision what you want

Kim: I would really start to think about how you live your life. Where do you go, how do you live your life, not only in your house but within a facility because I mean, if stores are very popular to you or, or whatnot, you really need to think about what is in the area and can it fit your price point. And within that time too,

#4 Interview Realtors in the Area

Kim: I would interview agents that do take buyers out and see if they’re qualified to know what you want. Do they have the knowledge and the ability to get you the best deal.

 

To listen to the full conversation, click here.

Check out Kim’s advice for home-sellers here.

To connect with Kim Sessions:

Phone: 904-537-8380

www.KimSessions.com

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Tips on Selling your house from a real REALTOR™

I had licensed Realty Professional, Kim Sessions, in the studio the other Sunday and we talked about “everything houses.” In case you missed the full conversation, here were her tips for before putting your house on the market.

#1 – Declutter

Kim: Well, the first thing you should do…

Pete: …it’s called Kim sessions, right?

Kim: [laughs]. Well, yes. The first thing you should do — Which is everyone’s non favorite thing to do is declutter. Go through closets, depersonalized, things like that. It gets very overwhelming because you open a closet and you have a small closet and you take everything out and it fills the whole room. It’s amazing what we just shove in places. So, really it’s not really cost. That takes a lot for a lot of people their time.

Kim notes that it is important to declutter because it does take a lot of time, but also, could cost you money in the end.

Kim: You could have a house that wasn’t even updated but was super organized and clean and you would maximize and get a great price for it. You can have an updated house that was dirty and not organized and people view that as you don’t take care of your house and you will not get the maximum price. You can’t for your house.

#2 Fix the little things

Kim: I get this a lot. “Well, I’m going to leave a couple of these obvious things out because the inspector has to get, you know, ding a couple of things.” But the reality is, is if you take care of these things before you put it on the market and get a contract, you can have a handyman or you could do it yourself. When you start getting into your home being under contract per the contract, you do need to use a licensed contractor, which means you are most likely spending more money and frankly, buyers are walking in and they’re looking for things. So, if they see a ripped screen, that’s so easy and cheap to fix, you don’t want them to see that; you want them to walk through and see an immaculate house and they will be impressed. They will give a really great offer for that and just have the confidence that the house has been really taken care of.

 

#3 Stay neutral … when painting

Kim: So, a lot of people can’t visualize, so I do recommend to neutralize. I don’t go into every house and say you need to repaint your whole entire house, but if it’s a color that doesn’t really meet the mass, a lot of people will walk in and they can’t get past it. And painting is very easy fix. So, you know, the grays are the new neutrals right now. So, we really recommend sometimes it really will bring more money to the table by painting.

 

#4 Stay safe and use a Realtor

Kim: So, we’re actually seeing more for sale by owners right now because we are in a great market. But, it’s not as easy and as it is; there’s a system in place and there are strong statistics that show that you are leaving probably money on the table by not listing with a professional that does this on a daily basis.

You are also putting yourself in a safety situation. We are in the one of the most dangerous occupations; we have to really pay attention. We have to field out people, and really try to qualify them before we even meet them because I am putting myself in big jeopardy meeting a stranger. So, the safety is a huge factor.

#5 Save Valuable Time with a Realtor

Time. I mean, you’re taking a lot of time. You have to leave work to go open the house up buyers. I mean when they want to see a house, they want to see a house. So, not all of them are going and wanting to see it from 7 – 9 on the evenings or on the weekends. So, you really want to try sell your house, be available at all times.

#6 Have a game plan for post-sale

Kim: Sellers should have a game plan of where they’re going to go next. We are seeing this very often right now, where someone’s putting their house on the market and it’s going in a week or less. And a lot of people were like, “oh, we’ll just list it and see.” And they have nowhere to go or an idea. So, really kind of have an idea if you decide if you really want to sell your house…

#7 Crunch some numbers

Kim: I would say the financial part of selling a house, have an idea of what the closing costs are, what are the fees are, so you really know what your profit is at the end of the day and you have no surprises.

 

To listen to the full conversation, click here.

Check out Kim’s tips for homebuyers here!

 

To connect with Kim Sessions:

Phone: 904-537-8380

www.KimSessions.com

Facebook | Instagram Twitter | LinkedIn

8 Practical Tips to Prepare Your Business and Employees for a Hurricane

Hurricane season has begun (dun dun dunnn); which means we should start boarding up our houses and buying all the canned foods and water bottles we need for 3+ months — RIGHT NOW. Right?

On the contrary, hurricane season preparation doesn’t begin as early as it should AND we are not preparing everything that needs to be prepped. Unfortunately, we forget about the other important things like our business properties and our employees in the event of a hurricane/ storm, which means we may not be as ready as we thought.

You’re probably thinking, “So, Pete, you’re telling me, in addition to preparing my family and my house, I have to prepare my business and employees?”

Yes, that is absolutely right! You need to ensure that there is a plan in place so that your business can keep going.

Now, you’re thinking: “how do I prepare my business buildings, employees, and processes so that we can continue to serve our customers during and after the storm?”

Luckily, I have these 8 tips that I gathered from a conversation with my good friends at Florida Family Insurance and SNI Companies on exactly how to do that! So, keep reading! (For the full podcast, click here)

1. Speak to your Insurance Agents, now!

Stephanie: “We suggest you call your insurance agents now and ask them to review your coverage. The last thing you want is to go through a hurricane and have a surprise. So, call your agent, ask them, and don’t be afraid to ask: ‘how did my current carrier perform during [Hurricane] Irma?’” 

Takeaway: Stephanie from Florida Family Insurance suggests that you call your insurance agents and go over what’s covered and what’s not. This will help you get an idea of how to react once the storm has past and if you have an damage, how to report it.

2. Ensure your Employees are Cross-Trained 

Stephanie: “Our hurricane plan is making sure both our policyholders and our agents are prepared and have the materials they need, but making sure our staff is ready by the time hurricane season hits… And it’s about making sure that everyone is cross-trained. We all become staff members of the Claims Department if there’s a hurricane. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re in actuary or a financial analyst, you’re on the phone taking claims calls.”

Takeaway: Not everyone will be able to make it into work during or after the storm. If your employees are not cross-trained, there is a lower chance that your business will be able to take on the post-hurricane demand. You’re probably thinking, “Pete, I don’t have time to cross-train my employees before the storm comes, what are my other options?” If you cannot cross-train your employees in time, look to our third tip!

3. Speak with a Staffing Agency to Fill Temp Positions Immediately

Rose from SNI Companies:  “If you know your business gets a boom during a certain time, I think it’s always important to partner with a staffing agency so they understand what your needs are, what your culture is, what the job duties are, so they can plug the right candidates in for you when you have the need…Our office always has a pool of candidates that we steadily used to fill positions that are open and we’re not waiting for a client to call us. We’re proactively recruiting and getting those candidates ready. So, as soon as we get a call, we are ready.”

Takeaway: Hurricanes are not all bad, in that they can create business for companies, which means more work for you. Therefore, if you are not properly staffed to take on all those requests, it will be hard to stay organized and leverage your new customers. Staffing agencies like SNI Companies can immediately place temporary candidates to help with the influx. We’re talking about positions like cost accountants, project estimators, claims adjusters, customer service representatives, and more. Call SNI Companies to find out more about how they can help your business prepare.

4. Let your Employees Prepare their Families/Homes

Stephanie: “At the beginning of hurricane season, we make sure that our employees put a lot of focus on preparing themselves, their home, and their families. If they don’t feel confident about their family’s [safety], if they are insecure and unprepared, they’re not going to be able to and shouldn’t be able to devote the time and attention to the policyholders; so, we make sure that they spend the time on the front end preparing themselves and they are ready when they need to come back to the office. So, we have plans to text message and our employees. We have an employee hotline. Each employee gets a card that gives them the information — so that they can get regular updates on what’s expected of them in the office.”

Laurie: “I think one of the most important things you can do as an employer is to remember your employees are people and their primary concern is about their family and their homes. So, what we do at Florida Family is we’ll rotate people in and out during a workday to give them time to go to the grocery store to get the food they need to go get plywood from home depot to get their house ready. So, we just feel it’s really important that they feel 100 percent confident that they’re prepared for the storm.”

Takeaway: Allow employees to focus on their family and home before they take on the challenge of maintaining the business. Once they feel confident that their family and home are secure, they will do the same for your business.

5. During/After the Storm, Provide your Employees with Food/Snacks/Water

Stephanie: “If you’re in a situation where your employees are going to have to come in rapidly and worked for long hours after a storm, supply them with some food and snacks, they’re not going to be able to take breaks to eat lunch and it’s hard to find lunch…”

Takeaway: Make it easy for your employees to work in the conditions of the aftermath. Providing food is a simple way to do that.

 6. Protect the (Tech) Goods

Stephanie: “So, practical things that people should think about for their plan are, what are you going to do with your equipment? So, you have all these computers and if we work downtown on the South Bank, in San Marco, which we knew the during [Hurricane] Irma was going to get some water. We didn’t know how much. So, you might want to think about taking all your computers home or having the employees take them. [Ask] how are you going to process payments? Do your employees have calculators and practical things, enough paper receipts, right? So, all that should be in a plan and thought/ about purchased in-advance.”

 Takeaways: Figure out each scenario (no power, no internet, no computers) and ask, “how will you conduct business through each?” and then plan accordingly.

Also, if you do have expensive equipment and you are near a body of water, place the equipment at least 5 feet above the floor in case of flooding or ask your employees/ IT department to take them home.

7. Have a Paper Copy of Everything

Stephanie: “Make sure that you have your home insurance agent’s contact information, how to know how to report a claim, take a photo of your policy number and your agent’s phone number, carrier’s information. Make that a note in your phone and keep that handy.”

Takeaway: Do not rely on your electronic devices and the cloud for important documents. Write them down, take pictures, and print them out to guarantee you have everything on hand.

8. Create a “boredom” box

Stephanie: “I’m preparing my “boredom” box is one of the last things I do. You don’t, you forget how bored you get during the storm, so get all your games down, get your puzzles down, books you want to reread and put them in a central location in your house so you’re not climbing through dark closets, letting things fall on your head during the storm.”

Takeaway: Things don’t have to be gloomy during/after a hurricane. Keep the ambiance light and fun. The “boredom” box is something that you can easily do at home and in the office to get some good energy out of a terrifying or stressful situation.

 

So, there you go hurricane/ storm preppers! If you didn’t get any new information, fantastic, sounds like you’re prepared for the next gust of wind flying our way. If you did get some new insights and you want more information, feel free to visit the links below!

Happy prepping from your Hurricane Staffing Expert,

-Pete Langlois

 

Visit Florida Family Insurance’s Resource Center here.

Get more info on Temporary Staffing Services here.

Get Free Business Hurricane Guides here.

To listen to the full podcast, click here.