By Bryan W. Adams, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Integrity Marketing Group

a diverse group of employees gathered around a table in a bright, modern office space.

The modern workplace has changed dramatically since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. One consequence of the Great Resignation has been that employers must now work harder than ever to recruit and retain top talent. With the employment climate shifting towards the job seeker, It is important for corporate leaders to move with the times and rethink their approaches to employee recruitment and retention. As Co-Founder and CEO of Integrity, I have seen a fundamental change in this dynamic.

In 2019, Integrity, a leader in life and health insurance distribution, and provider of wealth management and retirement planning solutions, introduced its Employee Ownership Plan. The plan allows hardworking individuals at Integrity who invest their time and efforts into the company’s success to have meaningful ownership in the organization. As you might expect, the response has been phenomenal.

“I am so excited to work for a company that not only tells you they care, but demonstrates that care in their actions by committing to our success,” said one grateful Integrity employee. Another rhetorically asked, “Who does this? Who just gives like this? I can now provide better for my family because of this.” Still another exclaimed, “It’s exciting! And it really makes you want to work even harder to help the company succeed — it just does!”

As a CEO, I recognize that job satisfaction doesn’t come from a paycheck alone. Employees need to feel valued and appreciated for the job they do, and fully connected to the company’s vision and mission. Hearing employees say they love their job is a goal every CEO should strive for — and when a company succeeds, leadership should attribute that success to the hard work of everyone who made it possible. That’s why we developed our Employee Ownership Plan in the first place.

The results speak for themselves. Integrity distributed $125 million to Employee Ownership Plan participants. That’s on top of a $50 million retroactive distribution that was made when the plan was introduced in 2019. The consistent growth of the company from year to year has created a dynamic where giving back is not only a way to reward employees for their efforts, but a powerful tool to help retain a dedicated and highly engaged workforce.

Taking great care of employees has certainly been good business for Integrity. It’s helped us achieve year-over-year annual growth in excess of 100% for the past five years. Our nearly 6,000 employees support approximately 500,000 agents and advisors in serving the life, health and wealth protection needs of 11 million Americans annually. In 2022, Integrity will help insurance carriers place nearly $20 billion in new sales and oversee more than $30 billion in assets under management and advisement. None of that growth and success would be possible without dedicated team members who are completely bought in.

As today’s tight labor conditions persist, it’s more crucial than ever for companies to recognize the benefits that can come from rewarding a dedicated team in ways that go beyond business as usual. Because no matter the size of your organization, your most important and influential stakeholders are your employees.

Steve Young, Hall of Fame Quarterback and Chairman of Integrity’s Board, succinctly articulated this when he stated, “Our employees are undoubtedly the most valuable part of our business. So it’s only fitting that we reward the people that work so hard to serve the life, health, and wealth needs of Americans.”

Integrity is focused on serving people and is an organization powered by people. Understanding that people are the backbone of our company made it easy for us to make them full partners in our success. The hard work of our employees is married to Integrity’s growth — they deserve to have a real stake in what they’re building. That’s why I have ensured that every full-time Integrity employee has the opportunity to become an official owner of the company. We all work, win, prosper, and share together.

It’s my hope that Integrity’s mission to empower hard-working employees will not only affect and influence our stakeholders and shareholders but inspire other companies and industries to follow suit. As employers, we can accomplish more by giving more to the people who matter most. The famous motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said, “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” We stand by that ideal here at Integrity.

I’m calling on other corporate leaders to follow Integrity’s example and include employees in meaningful company ownership. I would also encourage job seekers to hold companies to higher standards by looking for workplaces that have their employees’ best interests at heart. In both cases, it’s an opportunity to fundamentally rethink and reshape employer-employee relationships — and bring about change that is long overdue.

About Bryan: Bryan is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer for Integrity Marketing Group and leads the day-to-day operations of the company. 

Bryan also serves on the Board of Directors of Integrity. Bryan has been instrumental in attracting new partners to the Integrity platform, and in recent years the company’s M&A growth has been meteoric. 

Over the past 15 months alone, Integrity has acquired more than 70 new companies with expertise ranging from life and health insurance distribution to wealth management and retirement advisory services, to data, technology, and marketing. In addition, Bryan has played a pivotal role in securing three separate rounds of funding from leading private equity firms: HGGC in 2016, Harvest Partners in 2019, and Silver Lake, the global leader in technology investing, in 2021.