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Tamir Fishman – People and Professionalism Come First / by Hila Yaakobi

Eldad Tamir and Danny Fishman, joint owners and CEOs, founded Tamir Fishman ten years ago, building the company with their bare hands. Their vision was to build an investment house that would provide a solution for a wide range of clients. Today the company has 200 employees, manages a broad range of investments and offers its customers a range of financial services. We spoke with Einat Shachar-Yatziv, vice president of human resources, about the human capital at Tamir Fishman, the exacting recruitment and screening processes the company conducts with its job candidates and the importance of employee assessment.

What are the areas of expertise at Tamir Fishman?

Tamir Fishman provides a comprehensive range of services for the lifecycle of the business enterprise, from managing private capital funds to managing financial assets.
Managing private capital funds – Includes real estate projects in Eastern Europe and a movie fund to invest in the movie industry.
Investment banking – Includes private and public share issues, mergers and acquisitions, bond issues, financial products, institutional brokerage, etc.
Comprehensive financial assets management – Portfolio management, private foreign banking, trust funds, pension funds, compensation funds.
Benefit plans management – Managing various types of benefit plans for employees, including managing options for employees at high-tech companies. Tamir Fishman is a pioneer in the field.
Research – Research of companies traded on security exchanges in Tel Aviv, the US and Europe.

What distinguishes Tamir Fishman from other investment houses?
This is a company that succeeds in maintaining a very warm and ethical corporate culture.
Professionalism, excellence, responsibility and integrity are very important to us and these values guide us in selecting our employees. The Tamir Fishman vision was not to be a bigger investment house, but a more professional and smarter investment house. We’re a very unique company in terms of the personal-professional side.


Einat Shachar-Yatziv, vice president of human resources

How does the personal-professional side come across in the company’s human capital?
We have an all-star team made up of very high-caliber people. We don’t have more and less educated people, high and lower quality people. Everybody here is at a very high level in terms of both personality and intelligence.
Eighty percent of our employees have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, because most of our work requires professionals. Our starting requirements are very high – college degrees, very good English and proven experience in the financial market. Most of the people we hire have prior experience.

Do you hire young people who have yet to complete their bachelor’s degree?
Definitely. We have quite a number of young people, especially in the Options Department, who come to us as they’re wrapping up their bachelor’s or master’s degree in economics or business administration, as well as lower level workers who start at a point where they have something to offer. In choosing our employees we’re very careful about screening on a personal level. That comes before degrees and experience.

How do you conduct the screening process?
Our screening process is very long and exacting. Candidates go through various interviews and exams. Candidates for high-level positions go through a process that includes 4-5 interviews and tests. The first interview focuses on personality and is conducted by the Human Resources Department. The second interview is with the manager of the department with the job opening. Afterwards is an interview with the manager’s superior, followed by an interview with a manager parallel to the first manager, a colleague who can offer another professional angle. And the final interview is sometimes with one of the co-CEOs. The CEOs meet with some of the candidates based on their time schedule. The exams are given by an external organization. The candidates are called in for a full day of tests suited to the respective positions. For lower-level positions the process also starts with a Human Resources interview, a second interview with the department manager, a third interview with his supervisor and personality tests based on the nature of the job.
For all positions at any level we require 3-4 references.

Why is the first interview a personal interview?
Of course it’s no coincidence that the first interview is an HR interview. First of all it’s important to us to see who the person we’re dealing with is. In the professional interview, whether the person is better or worse does not presage his potential. It’s important that the worker fit the organizational culture and the values the company aims to uphold. So when we meet a candidate for an initial interview, first we examine his personality.

What do you look for in the personal interview?
We look for a spark in the eyes, energy, motivation, a desire to accomplish, learn and succeed, as well as a desire and ability to communicate. I’m a big believer that professionalism is important, but the person inside you is the winning ingredient. We have outstanding managers who can inculcate professionalism. So when a candidate comes with a strong background, proper values, motivation and integrity – all this takes precedence over professionalism.

How can you evaluate that in a personal interview?
I’m not a magician and an interview is always a two-way street. Sometimes mistakes can be made, but in an in-depth interview, which is a personal conversation that touches on the individual’s life and his ability to cope with various situations in life, you can figure out what makes the person sitting opposite you tick. I ask very few questions related to work. It’s more important for me to hear about the candidate’s personal life. I try to develop a friendly conversation to get down to the real stuff. It’s proven itself. The interview is built on a lot of serenity and calmness because I believe that leads to the truth. A stiff, aggressive question-and-answer interview doesn’t tell me who the person really is. Since I live and breathe the organizational culture, oftentimes during the interview I can sense if the person is right for the job.

What distinguishes the organizational culture at the company?
Our organizational culture is based on values like a family atmosphere, cooperativeness, integrity, friendship and a desire to give and contribute. Love for one’s fellow man, mutual respect and good relations among workers are very characteristic of the culture here. There’s a lot of trust between the workers and employees. Our work is based on performance and results, not hours. Nobody counts the hours worked – not by the managers and not by the employees. People work because they want to give of themselves and be part of the family. To be part of the family is a really big privilege that comes with certain obligations. We invest a whole lot in our employees, in their advancement and development, which comes across in company events as well. We have events that are hard to compete with, both in terms of quantity and quality.

What characterizes the company events you hold?
A lot of work goes into the events we hold and all of our employees play a vital role in preparing them. We believe cooperation is the key to real success.

Can you give an example of one such event?
For instance, last Shavuot we held an event for all of the departments centered around food competitions, which of course included Shavuot dishes prepared by the employees as well as table design and creating a complete event with music, song and dance. People went above and beyond, putting together really impressive productions. Everybody was decked out in white that day and the company offices were decorated. The big success was that all of the workers took part. The spirit of volunteerism and unity made it a truly amazing event.

Do the CEOs participate in these events?
Sure. They’re an integral part of the company and bring this feeling out and articulate it. They dance at the parties and take an active part in the events. They’re very busy people who are out of the country a lot of the time and these events provide them an opportunity to be with the employees and bring them closer to people at the company. They attach a lot of importance to that.

What’s your attitude regarding employee mobility within the company?
Tamir Fishman has made a commitment to the matter of employee retention, and mobility is one of the ways that comes across. We have a very clear policy regarding new positions that open in the company. Every job that opens is first posted on the internal company website and the Human Resources Department updates the board of directors once a week regarding open positions. Every manager can offer a given job to candidates inside his department and at the same time employees are exposed to it through the internal site, and every job opening is first offered inside the company before we offer it at large. We have a lot of high-level positions for which we’re looking for people with many years of experience, so it’s not always possible to hire someone from the company to take the position, yet in the past year and a half about 15 employees have been transferred within the company.

Which recruitment sources do you use?
For high-level positions we generally use headhunters. Often we use our employees’ knowledge and acquaintances. Many positions are manned through websites such as Jobnet, which we work with a lot. We also make use of placement companies that specialize in the capital market. Employee referrals is another substantial channel. In the Options Department 70%-80% of the employees came through employee referrals. That’s a very nice rate and augurs the employee’s success. Workers who came to us through employee referrals are more successful at the company.

How do you explain this?
First of all the new employee comes from a place of knowledge, and knowledge is power. The friend who brings him tells him about the company and provides him with relevant information. And when he enters the Tamir Fishman family he already has a friend who’s a member of the family, and that helps him a lot with the integration process.

How do you invest in managerial reserves?
We hold two types of courses to develop managers – one for acting managers and one for the managerial reserves. These are courses held throughout the year. We have a substantial stratum of workers who developed themselves inside the company and advanced to managerial ranks. We also have employees who left and came back here for high-level positions.

What is the turnover rate among employees in the capital market?
It’s a field with a lot of young people, and the more young people the less stability there is in the job market. These are people who are not yet looking for opportunities to settle into one particular job. They’re still learning about themselves and about the field, so employing young people comes with a price to pay. Young people are not always sure this is what they want to do. They examine the industry and try it out until they reach a decision.

How do you deal with the turnover problem among young employees?
Among young people in the capital market most of the dreams and aspirations are channeled toward the internship period. It’s a 6-9-month period that demands a personal trainer from within the investment house, and eventually the intern becomes an authorized investment manager. This license is the dream of most young investment house workers.
We run a project called Ofek, which is aimed at providing an opportunity for all of the workers in whom we see potential, and provide them all they need during their internship period – a personal trainer, lectures, mentors and exams – until they receive the license. The internship period can only be done at the investment houses. Today we have a lot more trainers and possibilities to provide employees more training.

How do you use the worker evaluation processes?
It’s a very important tool for us because it allows us to analyze the company’s needs and processes, from handing out bonuses and giving raises to investing in employee training, granting promotions and retaining workers. It provides a very good reflection of the state of the company. Many organizations hold assessment talks, but don’t analyze the data, and this analysis is very important and significant since it helps us make strategic decisions regarding how we want to advance the company in the coming years.

How is this process carried out?
The process is built of two parts. The first part is a conversation with the employee’s immediate supervisor. The manager receives an orderly evaluation file including guidance on how to conduct the evaluation and how to fill out the evaluation form. Evaluation talks are held with every staff member at the company, including the CEOs. At the end of this process, all of the forms are passed on to the Human Resources Department, and we pass them on to an expert outside firm for analysis.
In the second stage I sit down with each of the managers and present him with an in-depth analysis of his department. The manager also receives feedback from me based on his evaluation as a manager as reflected in the data analysis. That same performance assessment analysis also enables us to see different managing styles, which plays a part in differing styles of evaluation.

What’s the most important information you generate from this analysis?
Through the analysis we can determine our training needs, how to strengthen capabilities and areas marked for improvement at the organization level. The analysis allows us to see the company’s strengths and weaknesses and serves as a tool to back decisions, allowing us to place the entire staff on a scale, from the top tenths to the bottom tenth. Using this analysis every manager can see who his strongest employees are and who his weakest employees are, and reach decisions accordingly – who to promote, who to invest effort in, who needs support, etc.

How does the state of the capital market affect your recruitment activity?
The capital market is currently experiencing a slowdown, which means less recruitment and less employee mobility. People are less active in looking for work. For now we’re mostly working to maintain our present levels.

To wrap things up, what is the Tamir Fishman vision?
To grow and to expand company activity. To continue developing more products, to continue investing in our employees and to keep being a warm, loving family for many years to come, based on a belief that this will lead to success.


For the Hebrew Article  

 
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