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Great work environments require great people

As the Baird culture statements detail, we seek individuals who value honesty, teamwork, quality work and integrity. This strategy is often referenced by Paul Purcell, our late Baird Chairman, when he met with job applicants. Paul used a very down-to-earth way of making his point when he said: “We have a ‘no asshole rule’ here.” It clearly makes an impression and leaves no doubt that everyone is expected to respect others. New associates often comment on “the rule” and the fact that it’s fully supported by the way they are treated long after the interview process.

Baird’s “no asshole rule” is something Paul and Steve Booth, our President & CEO, are very passionate about because it is so important to ensuring we hire the right people and is a crucial part of creating a great work environment. Paul has also been quoted in national and regional publications about the rule. Paul and Leslie Dixon, Chief Human Resources Officer, were featured in a WorksSpan magazine article titled: “No Assholes Allowed.” Paul shared why the rule is important at Baird.

“When you’re happy, you’re more productive,” Purcell said. “When you don’t feel good, you don’t get as much done. It all goes to human psyche to being respected, trusted and valued.”

Paul and Leslie were also quoted about the importance of the rule in the hiring process.

“When we interview, we really put people through the wringer,” Purcell said. “And the more senior the position, the deeper the checking. We have people who ask us, ‘how do I get through all of this?’ But they do. Do we make mistakes? Of course. But when we make them, we fix them.”

Dixon added that “if you’re interviewing someone and they’re using language like ‘I this’ and ‘I that’ instead of ‘we,’ that’s a sign of a difference in values. You can get signs of where there might be an issue. And we really do have a lot of our interview questions and performance competencies around our values.”

Associates have occasionally questioned Paul’s use of the term “asshole,” and Paul has apologized if the language itself has offended anyone. He emphasizes, however, that the rule very clearly shows how important respectful behavior is at Baird. As he told one associate: “The No. 1 reason people join us is culture, and the ‘no asshole rule’ is part of it and highly differentiable.”

Following are a few comments from associates about the “no asshole rule” from the open-ended question from Baird’s Great Place to Work® Trust Index© survey:

“A distinguishing characteristic about Baird is its emphasis/insistence on teamwork. The‘no assholes rule’ is a clear warning to all associates not to engage in selfish, self-centered conduct. The civility among colleagues stands out versus other financial services/investment banking firms.”

“Our ‘no asshole rule!’ It is the truth. Kindness and respect will get you much further at Baird than anything else. Jerks do not last long around here.”

“Baird has a very unique and strong culture, which embraces their employees and clients. Their ‘no-a…-hole rule’ on hiring is a serious commitment to keep the culture of good people working together as a team.”

“I really like Baird’s ‘no asshole rule.’ It helps to develop a culture of kindness and respect in the workplace. We feel that we were each carefully chosen, not only based on our education and occupational skills, but also on our personalities and how we get along with one another.”

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