Columbia, SC - Luigi Wewege is the President and CEO of Vivier Group a multinational banking and financial services group of companies, providing its select services worldwide through representation in jurisdictions across Africa, Asia, Oceania, Europe and South America. Vivier Banking & Financial Services comprises of Vivier Bank a licensed offshore private bank and Vivier & Co a boutique financial services firm. Summarized, he's a busy and productive man.
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What is it that keeps you so interested in the banking industry?
"What fascinates me is how the industry is evolving so rapidly, and over the past several years' financial service innovations have contributed to a complete new way in which consumers are able to bank, threatening the status quo of traditional banks and redefining a banking model which has been in place for generations. These technological advancements have facilitated the rapid emergence of digital banking firms which has led to established high street banks being forced to reduce the amount of regional bank branches they have as well as to increase their pace of digital adoption; due to being unable to stop mass client attrition to these agile start-ups and niche players."
You must have set standards that are followed in selection of team members?
"I believe in a holistic approach when it comes to assessing team members especially those who I will work closely with. Although we all communicate daily with each other, often we're all incredibly busy and don't have much time for informal discussions. Thus I believe it to be absolutely essential in getting to know your employees as not just work colleagues but as people. By meeting with them outside of the office in a relaxed setting will creating the necessary environment so to have frank and open discussions about their views on the business and the role they play within it."
Best interview question you've asked?
"How do you plan on assisting the company improve its bottom line?" More than an academic pedigree, I am looking for lateral thinkers who can develop creative solutions to bolster our current initiatives. Someone that is inherently innovative and can be counted on for delivery of creative solutions is absolutely invaluable for any company."
What is the secret to effective recruiting?
"Naturally, one must have an exceptional human resource team available to you, but to ensure the continued success of your business you must involve yourself in the process. By being part of every single recruitment decision, even if only in a small introductory capacity, allows for a better screening of candidates as well as providing your HR team with alternative input, which they may not have considered."
What makes your company culture unique?
"I set company wide goals for employees in addition to their position specific ones, which has helped build morale and camaraderie in the company. This came about due to noticing over a period of time that my employees tended to be more receptive to a goal they were responsible for with others, rather than being solely accountable. Once this was implemented it completely transformed my business due to employees becoming much more self-aware, focused and willing to put in the extra hours when needed because they realized that their actions impacted not only their fellow employees but also the financial success of the company."
How can you make sure team outings or activities appeal as best they can to all employees?
"Having periodic company retreats has been an incredibly enlightening and important initiative for my business, and before scheduling them I request input from my staff on potential trip locations, and once confirmed for them to then suggest possible activities while there. What I have noticed is that by asking for their contributions has created a willingness amongst all of them to happily participate even if their location or activity was not selected because they at least felt part of the process."
What's an easy way any company at any stage can invest in their company culture?
"Celebrating company wins together. Having started my company from the ground up I can appreciate how important small wins can be especially when you have felt like you have been swimming against the tide for several months. By setting many incremental goals for my team, enables me to find numerous opportunities to acknowledge them for achieving and surpassing their milestones which has consequently led to my business having a dynamic and high achieving company culture."
What have you done that has been very effective in helping grow the business?
"Hiring multilingual staff because language barriers can be a challenge with remote offices. Although a company may face certain economic or strategic bumps along the way, always ensure your staff can communicate well in in several other languages. This is because you shouldn't assume all your international clients can speak or write in English. Besides the professionalism of being able to correspond with potential clients in their native language, always remember this great quote from Nelson Mandela, "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language that goes to his heart."
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