By ALAN J. ORTBALS
Jamie Foster came to First Clover Leaf Bank five years ago as its first Human Resources director.
“It was an opportunity for me to build HR from the ground up,” Foster said. “The bank was in a growth mode and it gave me an opportunity to try some new ideas and implement some new programs to nurture the human performance here at the bank.”
Foster was born and raised in Glen Carbon and received a degree in industrial organizational psychology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Upon graduation she went to work for Anderson Consulting where she designed and developed on-line training modules and worked in organizational redesign. Her first job in the financial sector was with Edward Jones, the St. Louis-based investment company, designing and maintaining its compensation structure and working on performance management and leadership development. She came to First Clover Leaf Bank in March 2009.
First Clover Leaf Bank has three branches in Edwardsville, one in Wood River and recently opened one in Highland. While Foster’s main office is at the Goshen Road branch, she makes a point to visit the branches on a regular basis to maintain personal contact and keep a finger on the pulse of how each bank’s team is doing.
“I try to make sure that people know I have an open door,” Foster said. “In human resources, you’re always trying to balance people’s needs with the business’ needs. That’s the true balance of HR.”
Five years later, First Clover Leaf Bank is still in a growth mode. The staff has increased by more than 30 people since Foster arrived. The first key to building a good staff is good recruiting, according to Foster, making sure that you are selecting people who are a good fit.
Another key is creating the right corporate culture. She said that FCLB has a very family-friendly culture, and she also works to make sure that their compensation and benefits are competitive in the industry.
“We’re constantly benchmarking those against similar institutions, making sure we’re competitive and providing the best we possibly can.”
She said that she’s also working on leadership development, creating a succession planning program and career planning to groom the bank’s future leaders. FCLB will be opening its sixth branch in Swansea July 1.
Foster is heavily involved in the community through First Clover Leaf Bank’s Green Team and is a past president of the Glen Carbon Centennial Library. “If you’re in community banking, it’s important to spend your time and invest it in the community as well,” she said.
She said the thing she likes the most about her job is the ability to work with people and digging in to the details of what drives human performance and how that translates to the business’s bottom line.
“It’s all a balance,” Foster said. ”I chose the profession because of my interest in business operations and my admiration for the corporate atmosphere but also because I love to be able to be a problem solver and help people on the human side as well.”