The Bureaus, Inc. has been in the accounts receivable management industry for 94 years. Pushing nearly a century in business, it’s safe to say that buckets of experience and hopefully even some pearls of wisdom have been gained along the way. We’d say our favored ingredients for success are not necessarily original so much as they are meticulously intentional. They are, in sum: 1) Do the right thing—always. 2) Hire the right people; then invest in them. The following are a few retrospections on our story, our culture, and how we have achieved longevity amongst our team and in the industry.
Be the Tortoise
Due diligence applies to everything we do—and we mean everything. We choose to be selective about our partners and our employees because we are committed to our vision. Knowing who we are and what we stand for, and then making hard decisions as a result of that, can sometimes feel like a slow process. In the midst of it, it can be tempting to focus more on keeping up, sealing the deal, or filling the slot for immediate gains or “fixes.” However, maintaining the patience, perseverance and discipline to prioritize the extended view in our decision process has been critical to our success.
“The long and short of our philosophy has been that following our blueprint is more important than finishing first,” says Aristotle Sangalang, President and Chief Compliance Officer of The Bureaus. “But of course, ultimately, it’s like the tortoise and the hare; steadiness and sustained effort has created our greater long-term success.”
Test the Fit
We’re thankful that our turnover is low, with employee tenure averaging 15 years. For us, the key to the puzzle begins at step one in our requirement of a personality test (TTI Success Insights) before any consideration of hiring. We implemented this step in our hiring process in 2009, and have found the test to be an essential tool for considering additions to the company. Not only do we require it of potential candidates, but also leaders of potential new partner companies.
“We want to make sure we’re going to have a shared vision so we can work cohesively. It may sound odd, but for us, these results take precedence over a potential candidate’s resume. If a candidate looks perfect on paper and has all the right experience, but isn’t a fit for our culture, we pass. That’s not always easy! It’s unconventional, but over time the whole team has seen the value of the testing process and in taking the time to find the right fit,” continues Mr. Sangalang. “There can be a fine line between friction and cohesion. What works in one place may not work in another. We try to be cognizant of that in our partnerships both internally and externally.”
Share the Vision
While one important factor of “best fit” for us is finding people who strive for results, we also believe strongly in integrity, accountability, social responsibility, and philanthropy. We aim for our culture to be centered around all of those values. New employees all share a common first-day assignment: read John G. Miller’s QBQ! The Question Behind the Question. This is just one concrete method we use to help set the tone for personal responsibility, initiative, and teamwork.
“As I’ve mentioned before, each person is like a spoke in a wheel. When you’re working closely toward a common goal, you all need to be aligned with the centralized vision and focused on the right thing at the right time. Otherwise communication, morale, teamwork—they can all deteriorate or break down,” says Marian Sangalang, Vice President at the Bureaus and Past President of RMAI.
Everyone has personal challenges. We aim to provide a supportive, positive environment where people have the opportunity to grow and succeed, but also have resources left to go home and focus on their families or personal lives. Our company’s leaders worked their way up over time. They value family and recognize the reality and importance of fulfilling responsibilities outside of work.
“When it comes to respecting one another and appreciating the next person’s strengths—even though they’re probably different from your own—you have to stay humble,” continues Mrs. Sangalang. “It helps that my husband and I both have the vantage point of ‘the school of experience’ to get to the executive level, all while overcoming obstacles and life challenges of our own. We’re thankful for our mentors and we bear in mind how much they contributed to where we are today. Hopefully we can pass that on for others.”
Pass the Torch
One last tenet of our culture is the value of mentorship and professional development opportunities. We value internal growth when possible. While promotions are earned through hard work, we believe in rewarding loyalty by providing the opportunity for internal lateral or vertical growth when the situation fits. Although sometimes genuinely supporting our team members means understanding life is calling them another direction, we’re thankful for each person who has helped us to build success over time.
Are you interested in joining our team or partnering with us as a business? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any inquiries or visit our Careers page.
About The Bureaus, Inc.
The Bureaus, Inc. is a master servicer for accounts receivable portfolios and a Certified Receivables Business (CRB) by the Receivables Management Association International. Using cutting-edge technology, internally developed proprietary tools, and the vast expertise of its management team, we combine technological strategies with data mining capabilities to identify opportunities not usually found by other asset management firms. The Bureaus was founded in 1928 and is located in Northbrook, Illinois.