We Are EPIC: An Immersive Tour of SEI’s Core Values
Four commitments that shape the heart of who we are
These are the core tenets that shape who we are as a business and what we believe. They motivate SEI consultants to uphold high quality standards, engage deeply with their work, innovate together, and create value for our clients, our colleagues, and our community. They express who we are to prospective talent, and serve as a compass for all team members, shaping our attitudes and actions every day.
Because “good” is not enough
The number of clients we work with across 16 industries
The number of SEI clients that are Fortune 500 companies
The number of SEI offices opened across the U.S. since 1992
The number of consultants on our team to date
The number of hires we made in 2019
The percent of SEI hires made via referral in 2019
The number of hours our consultants spent volunteering in their communities in 2019
Our consultants excel at what they do
We set high standards for ourselves and for each other, but we also know that excellence is not monolithic. Our consultants come from a wide breadth of backgrounds and industries — but they are each highly competent problem-solvers, thought leaders, and expert project managers who deliver quality results every time. Taken together, consultants’ personal commitment to excellence drives our collective success and the success of every client.
To achieve excellence, you must be motivated to exceed expectations and consistently deliver superior value. Here, autonomy and collaboration are not mutually exclusive. SEI fosters excellence by hiring the right people, trusting them to serve clients, each other, and their communities, and offering consultants a platform to act and think like owners. We confidently approach each day with the support of a world-class team, and carry out bold, transformative initiatives for each other and for our clients.
I’d been at SEI for only two months when the global COVID-19 pandemic struck. As an organization, we experienced what many organizations likely experienced: a significant number of unknowns.
What makes SEI excellent for me — and different from other places — is how we came together not as an organization but as a “family” during unforeseen times. Most companies would have made decisions that benefited the business’ bottom line. SEI made decisions inclusive of its people. For me, that speaks volumes.
Empowering everyone to be decision-makers
Participation means that everyone has a voice.
We believe that unnecessary bureaucracy filters out potentially valuable opinions and hinders teamwork. That’s why we operate on a flat management structure that encourages participation at every level.
By lowering the barriers to entry, we empower every consultant to engage actively in key decision-making processes and work directly with leadership up to the C-suite level. We ensure that everyone is given a seat at the table. Ultimately, this helps us increase trust, foster greater communication, and grow as a company.
Our consultants actively participate in growing our business.
We believe that success is achieved by building trusting, mutually respectful relationships. That’s why we empower each and every team member to nurture their own relationships and leverage their personal networks to help us tap into new opportunities.
Our business development process is open, transparent, and team-based. New opportunities are always discussed during in-person or online meetings. We empower all consultants — from day one — to take an active role in shaping the direction of our company.
At SEI, every member of the team thinks, acts, and makes decisions as owners. Our flat structure sets the tone — we do not have to be overly concerned with getting permission. All of our colleagues are empowered to judge a situation and make the right decisions, and we rely on like-minded team members that treat each other with respect. You have support from everyone around you when necessary, and you can trust every other person at SEI to be thinking, acting, operating, and representing in the same way.
We participate in our communities.
Our local service delivery model means that our consultants live and play in the same cities in which they work. With offices in ten major U.S. markets, we encourage every SEI team member to not only add value to their clients, but to their local communities as well. In fact, community involvement is part of our DNA. From mentoring inner-city youth to running 5k races to raise money for cancer research, our consultants have made a habit of giving back.
We reached out to donate to Blue Skies for the Good Guys and Gals during the holiday season, but we’ve since become much more involved. No other organization does what they do, and we wanted to help them make an impact. They bring Purple Heart veterans and Gold Star families from different wars together. It’s about the healing nature of being together. We invite employees to events and volunteer when they hold fundraisers — we’ve become an ingrained part of this charity.
When times are tough, SEI rallies around our members, like any family would. I saw this firsthand when a colleague’s wife suffered from leukemia. Eight people, including myself, volunteered to participate in a ‘Team In Training’ half marathon to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. SEI raised almost $45,000. This was my first half marathon. Throughout the process, from fundraising to the event itself, the support we received from SEI was unlike anything I have experienced at previous employers. It gives me profound comfort to know that if I was ever the one in need, SEI would do the same for me.
Building trusting, honest relationships
Integrity informs everything we do.
We build trust by maintaining high standards of integrity. For us, integrity means taking accountability and maintaining trusting relationships, credibility, and reliability.
In each engagement, we promise professionalism, transparency, teamwork, and dedication every step of the way. We are committed to acting not as vendors, but as trusted long-term partners to our clients. That’s why we work hard to develop an intimate understanding of every client’s business, culture, pain points, and goals in order to deliver customized solutions and strategies that drive tangible results.
SEI consultants are leaders of character for our clients. We have one standard for integrity and we don’t depart from it. Our thoughts and actions are conscious choices we make between what is convenient and what is right.
We practice peer accountability.
At SEI, our flat organizational structure means that we are each invested in the success of our colleagues. We pride ourselves on fulfilling our promises to each other and to our clients. We take personal accountability and we hold one another accountable. Peer accountability can take many forms; perhaps it means setting the pace, communicating proactively, holding one another responsible for meeting deadlines, or modeling best practices.
Our interactions orient us toward a common goal and illuminate the path to achieving it. From new hires to our CEO, every member of our team pushes themself — and their colleagues — to be better. To create win-win solutions, our consultants exchange ideas using the productive conflict model. By listening intently and communicating respectfully with one another, we determine and commit to actions with collective buy-in.
We cultivate integrity through employee ownership.
At SEI, we believe integrity comes from a sense of personal ownership. As a 100% employee-owned business, we encourage every SEI team member to see their wins and the company’s wins as one and the same.
Each SEI office is registered as an independent LOC, and we offer equity to new hires at each LOC. To create value and build our brand, shares are thereafter awarded on a merit-based system, and periodically, sold. By empowering employees to embody an “ownership mentality,” we motivate deeper engagement and produce better results, together.
Achieving more, together
Together, our value is amplified.
We promise our collective value to every client. Clients have access to both a local, dedicated team, and a national network of consultants and resources. Each of our consultants have access to tools, templates, and experts that expand their individual capabilities and skills to offer more comprehensive service to clients.
Collective value enables us to deliver consistent value for our clients nationwide. It also empowers our consultants to develop new skills and competencies, and contribute more effectively to the success of our business.
At SEI, collective value in action is part of the SEI culture, professionally and personally. Clients see firsthand the stellar results that our consultants deliver because of our strong collaborative model. But what the public normally does not see is what ten offices can achieve when working together to support each other, whether it be in our philanthropic endeavors or coming to the aid of an SEI team member who is going through difficult times personally. This is where our collective value in action really shines and what makes me most proud to be a part of the SEI family.
Collective value isn’t just about having a team full of diverse backgrounds and skill sets; lots of companies have that. At SEI, it’s also ingrained in our culture to be able to say, “I don’t know…but I’m sure one of my colleagues does.” To me, collective value is first about having the right people on the team, then also being confident and humble enough to lean on that team when needed to get answers for our clients.
Our advocate program expands our knowledge base.
Our advocate program helps new consultants acclimate quickly to the SEI business and operating models and positions them for long-term success with the company. In the advocate program, new team members are paired with an experienced consultant, who helps them develop a deeper understanding of policies, procedures, and culture.
The advocate program is an extremely rewarding and inspiring opportunity that SEI offers. It encourages us to push ourselves as we mentor new hires, who, in turn, end up teaching us so much. The program also offers us a chance to collaborate with advocates from other SEI offices, challenging us to think outside the box while bringing new ideas back to our local offices. Most of all, I really value the relationships I’ve been able to build across the company as part of the program.
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
Creating a welcoming, empowering environment for every team member
Our differences are our strength.
SEI is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We pride ourselves on hiring talent from a range of backgrounds, and we champion voices from varied perspectives. We work hard to cultivate a welcoming, supportive, and compassionate environment in which all team members feel included and valued.
We have a responsibility to work every day to create a culture of safety, inclusion, and equality at SEI. We know that this begins with exercising empathy, but that’s just step one. As an organization, we are dedicated to taking real action — in the form of hiring policies, trainings, workshops, volunteer events, and more — to build an inclusive and diverse community.
What it takes to be an SEI team member:
We hire experienced, knowledgeable, passionate talent who embody the EPIC values in their daily lives. Our consultants come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, but they have certain key traits in common. They are hungry, humble, and people-smart. We only hire talent who:
- are self-motivated and exhibit great career progression
- team- and community-oriented
- make connections quickly
- can adapt continuously and demonstrate situational awareness
- are always reliable