How much value does your leadership team place on philanthropy? What would happen to your bottom line if employees cared not only about their paychecks while at work but also about customers and supporting their community?
Scott Moorehead is a coauthor of Build A Culture of Good: Unleash Results by Letting Your Employees Bring Their Soul to Work. In this book, Moorehead and his coauthors Ryan McCarty and Marshall Goldsmith make a case for promoting philanthropy in the workplace.
He’s also the CEO of Round Room, a third-generation, family-owned business based in the United States. The company is an owner and investor in multiple wireless businesses and retail stores in the United States. Through its subsidiaries, Round Room employs more than 2,300 people, mostly in Indianapolis.
“As an owner, as a president and CEO of a company that was growing quite quickly, I was becoming frustrated with the level of engagement of our employees,” Moorehead says.
“We were experiencing high turnover. So I went on a venture to try and figure out how to get [our employees] more engaged, give them some more passion, and really put together some glue that would really hold us all together.”
Moorehead realized Round Room employees were turning up at work for a paycheck and felt no allegiance to the company or a wider mission. After talking through the issue with McCarty, who is also a pastor, Moorehead decided his business should do more than generate revenue.
“There was more to our business than just selling phones…We were going to become an integral part of our community,” he says. “We were going to drive connection and purpose and meaning through philanthropy and giving back. And it took a long time for our employees to believe that.”
Today, Round Room donates money to local causes around Indianapolis. The company and its employees regularly take part in local activities and recently gave away free backpacks from local stores to kids going back to school.
“We do about four of those events a year as a company,” Moorehead says. “They don’t owe us anything. There’s no coupons inside the bag. There’s no purchase necessary. And it’s just a really great day filled with feeling good about helping our communities.”
The Culture of Good
Many business leaders focus on culture, albeit without the emphasis on giving back. Moorehead calls his approach the “Culture of Good.”
It starts with the leaders of business rather than from the ground up. In other words, a leader must recognize the strategic advantage of giving back to a local community.
“In a retail environment, your turnover can go north of 100% annually, and that’s quite usual…but our turnover hasn’t crept up a bit, and we track at about half of what our peers do,” he says. “It will also bring you new customers and more business.”
Interestingly, Moorehead argues a leader doesn’t need to spend hours on a new philanthropic project or take their eye off critical business numbers either.
“You should never overemphasize [The Culture of Good] and break anything else. Don’t give it too much focus so that something else doesn’t get the proper amount of attention,” he says.
Through his book, consulting and some proprietary software, Moorehead and his team teach other companies how to ensure philanthropy plays a part in their culture.
Typically, a smaller company can embrace this culture in a little as six or seven months, whereas it might take much longer, and even some software, for the leaders of a larger company to implement meaningful change.
“Most of the companies we started with were $1 billion-plus in revenue. That’s a big venture to try and move that ship and change anything inside of your culture and allow people time to breathe and be proud of what they’ve done,” he says.
“You can do it fairly quickly with a company of five [employees]…because you can just get together over breakfast or dinner and have a few beers and knock a lot of this stuff out.”
Most successful leaders recognize the importance of enabling a positive workplace culture. Giving back just might be the fastest way to produce it.
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