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Recently, I have had some shocking pushback to articles about a few of our company’s unique polices, notably paying vacationing employees to stay offline, our Mindful Transition program to help people leave their jobs smoothly and our Slack channel for employees to share what made their week.
“This is absolute ridiculous nonsense,” one reader wrote. Another said, “What’s the catch?”
To be fair, negative comments are in the minority, but they reflect an anti-corporatism that seems to be in vogue. Nearly two in three Americans told Gallup this year that they’re dissatisfied with the size and influence of major corporations.
I believe that this thinking is an outgrowth of personal experiences; many people have spent some time at a bad company. But judging all businesses based on the bad apples fails to recognize the great companies that are out there leading their industries and attracting top talent by focusing on people and culture. Here are a few examples, several of which I have the experience of working with directly.
Fairly or not, few sectors raise more ire than financial services. Wealthquest is working to change that with an approach that, according to its website, is “the opposite of how most of the industry operates.” Wealthquest has helped more than 1,000 clients plan for tomorrow, minimize costs and build legacies.
But nowhere is Wealthquest’s “do right” approach more apparent than in its office. The firm matches charitable contributions and pays for employees to take mission trips. The company also closes at noon each Friday to give team members additional family time.
James Lenhoff, Wealthquest president and author of Living a Rich Life, says giving workers ample time off is good for both them and the company. “A lot of companies say they’re family-oriented, but they ask so much of their workers that it’s just not true. I often hear people point to that problem when they say corporate America is unfair,” he explains. “We want our employees and their families to see us as a source of family time, not just income.”
2. Elite SEM
Marketing agencies often get a bad rap when it comes to work-life balance. But Elite SEM does a better job than most of living by its mantra: “Great lives for great people.” Employees get unlimited paid sick leave and vacation, equity from their first day on the job and free food every day. They receive 401(k) matching, as well as disability, life and health insurance.
As one reviewer noted on Glassdoor, “Companies always tout how much they care about their employees, but you can truly feel that as an employee here.” Elite SEM has won culture-related awards from Ad Age, Entrepreneur and Mashable.
3. Scribe Media
Scribe has an entire Culture Bible to set the tone for its team members. Its10 core principles range from the expectation-setting “We before me” to the egalitarian “We all eat the same dirt.”
Its ninth principle, however, is its cultural crux: “Do right by people.” To illustrate this, the Scribe team tells the story of Ron, a freelance editor who’d been struggling to find a place to stay. Ten minutes into a team call, Ron was forcibly removed from his home and the call was cut off. Scribe quickly offered to put Ron up in a hotel until he found a new place.
According to CEO J.T. McCormick, Ron’s story is par for the course at Scribe. “Three letters do not make you a leader. MBA, PhD, CEO: Those are all roles, titles and credentials,” McCormick says. “True leadership—and it’s an overused term—is servant leadership. You’re only a leader if you serve.”
4. Globalization Partners
At a time when “globalism” has become a dirty word, professional employment organization Globalization Partners is on a mission to bring the world closer together. Before launching the business, CEO Nicole Sahin co-founded the Sweet Life School in rural Cambodia, which worked to provide access to electricity, Internet and English language teachers. That experience made her want to help businesses expand globally and encourage travel abroad.
The motto of Globalization Partners is “the obstacle is the path,” and the company is dedicated to giving employees paths around their own obstacles. Team members enjoy generous medical, dental and vision benefits, equal-gender family leave and a paid six-week sabbatical after five years of employment.
“Cultivating great relationships with people—whether your employees, business partners or clients—are what ultimately will help you to be successful as an entrepreneur,” Sahin told SheStarts, a group for women entrepreneurs in Boston.
Corporate America is far from perfect, but it’s not the employee-neglecting club many make it out to be. For every unscrupulous company, there are dozens that try to do right by their employees, clients and communities. As a result, they are the ones most likely to win the talent war and dominate their industries over the next decade. You just have to look for them.
December 19, 2018 at 08:52AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs