Business Guidance / Insurance Protection

Building Culture Through Servant Leadership

What is your company’s culture and engagement strategy? The employers who embrace the power of servant leadership and have strategies in place to communicate their culture and promote employee engagement will be in the best position going forward. At Univest, we highly value our culture and truly believe it drives performance. We also realize that culture isn’t something that just happens – it has to be defined and cultivated.

The Univest Way consists of 18 fundamentals that describe the daily principles and practices that make our five core values come to life and truly serves as the foundation of our culture. By incorporating The Univest Way into our daily business practices, we are cultivating a high-performing culture that drives performance and encourages our employees to work together to serve our customers and communities while remaining focused on carrying out our core values. We firmly believe that an engaged workforce who follows a common set of fundamental behaviors creates success.

Our commitment to these fundamentals is a means for us to hold one another accountable while also motivating us to be part of the collective whole and achieve high-performing success. It is our culture that differentiates us, drives our continued success and helps us attract and retain top talent.

One of my favorite of the fundamentals is “Practice Servant Leadership.” The Univest Way explains this fundamental as putting the needs of others first and helping each other to succeed. The best way to influence others is through your own example. Walk the talk. Take responsibility to coach, guide, teach, and mentor others. Be the change you want to see.

The phrase “servant leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay that he published in 1970. In that essay, Greenleaf said: “The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.” The servant leader moves beyond the transactional aspects of management, and instead actively seeks to develop and align an employee’s sense of purpose with the company mission.

Empowered staff will perform at a high, innovative level. Employees feel more engaged and purpose-driven which, in turn, increases the organization’s retention and lowers turnover costs. Well-trained and trusted staffers continue to develop as future leaders, thus helping to ensure the long-term viability of the organization.

Servant leadership ultimately starts with an unselfish mindset. Trust is a prerequisite for servant leaders because the leaders must trust that the employees are worth serving, and that they, and the organization, will benefit from their service. Practicing servant leadership generates trust in the employees, who may be inspired by their manager’s competence and character and convinced by their manager’s serve-first practice that he or she has their best interests at heart.

Stephen Covey said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” One of Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is to “seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Practicing that habit is a form of servant leadership. I’m personally inspired by leaders who “walk the talk.” What inspires you?

An experienced employee benefits consulting firm like the team at Univest Insurance can identify which strategies are best for your company’s culture and engagement strategy and create a roadmap to implementing it successfully. To have a conversation to help you determine the best approach, please contact us at 610.966.1315 or


Insurance products offered through Univest Insurance, LLC. are obligations of the issuing insurance companies, not obligations or deposits of or guaranteed by any bank and are not insured by the FDIC or any other agency of the United States.