By Daniel Turner, TCG President
In February 2017, TCG endorsed the American Business Sustainability Council’s (ASBC) Principles of a High Road Employer. Why? Because these principles embrace all of the TCG’s core values, such as to be fair, honest, and open; to value our families; and to prove our value. And, besides, being a High-Road Employer is just good for business. Some of these practices and principles are shown in action in The High-Road Workplace: Route to a Sustainable Economy.
ASBC’s report provides a framework for a new minimum standard of acceptable workplace practices, guidance on how businesses can adopt these practices, and the necessary policy changes that are needed to support businesses in doing so. As shown in the report, high-road business practices are effective across all industries, in all parts of the country. TCG is proud to have been highlighted in the report alongside other successful, high-road employers.
It has always been my belief that, as a business owner, I have a level of responsibility for my employees’ well-being. By supporting their needs, we help them to support their families, to be more productive for the company and our clients, and to contribute to their communities. While it’s true that taking the high road has financial implications, like all good investments it has generated great returns for our company.
For example, we offer paid leave for new parents and financial assistance (and the same paid leave) to adoptive parents, and our telework and alternative work schedule help staff meet their professional and personal responsibilities without having to sacrifice or let down either group.
We find that when staff are able to manage their time based on the many demands in their lives, they are more productive and meet deadlines more consistently. Research shows teleworkers are, on average, 13 to 22 percent more productive than those who work on-site; our experience is that the productivity gain is substantially higher. They’re less distracted and have fewer unexpected absences. Additionally, teleworkers generally have a better work/life balance, and are overall happier and healthier. A happy byproduct of our telework and flexible working arrangements is that TCGers saved more than 42,000 gallons of fuel in 2016. This is a win-win-win arrangement for the company, staff, and the environment!
A few years ago we started having monthly “TCG Sprees.” Sprees make $1,000 available to any staff member who wants to organize a social or charity event, as long as six TCG employees participate. TCGers have taken tours of vineyards, had paintball and bubbleball tournaments, visited local museums, cleaned up the Potomac River watershed, packed meals for families in need, learned to cook interesting foreign foods, and many other fun and benevolent activities. These events aren’t mandatory — they’re entirely elective — and they’ve had a great impact on our employees. Our staff are eager to run them, and it’s the very rare month that elapses without at least one spree.
What impact has this investment made on the company? In anonymous third-party surveys, 99% of our staff say that they want to work for TCG for a long time, 99% say they feel good about the way TCG gives back to the community, and 99% are proud to tell others they work for TCG. These practices led to our being named a Top Workplace three years in a row by the Washington Post, and being Fortune magazine’s #3 Great Place to Work in Technology and #4 Best Medium-size workplace in the country. Employee retention rates are high and we’ve been recognized as a fast-growing company by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, Inc, Fortune, and the Washington Business Journal.
It is possible to be a high-road employer and a successful, profitable company. We’re not the lowest-price service provider, and don’t aim to be, because we rarely lose a client. Our customers know we treat our people well and that means they get excellent continuity, experience, and service in an industry and city where employee turnover is high. Happy employees are more pleasant, better able to absorb stresses, and more willing to help our clients achieve their goals. Paying staff a fair and livable wage so that they can meet more than the basic needs of their families, giving them an avenue to learn, grow, and have a network of peers to support them helps staff reach self-actualization (or even self-transcendence). When staff are operating at their full capacity, employing their creativity and ingenuity, the results for the company and our clients are limitless.
Download the ASBC report: The High-Road Workplace: Route to a Sustainable Economy