Scott Moorehead had a problem.
As CEO of TCC Verizon, the nation’s largest Verizon authorized retailer, he knew that his industry suffered from habitual long-term employee turnover, as is true with most companies in the retail space. More than 80% of TCC’s employees are Millennials, and retention was an ongoing challenge.
At the same time, Moorehead knew that young employees tend to be particularly socially conscious and interested in giving back. He wanted to find a way to create a program that would empower employees to show how they cared while making customers proud to do business with TCC.
“Executed properly,” Moorehead observed, “we could grab the hearts of young employees and engage them while engaging customers. I knew that if we started with employees and helped them care about something great, offering lots of ways to get involved, they’d feel proud and tell others. If you mix this with corporate strategy, you create a culture of good.”
And with this, Culture of Good, Inc. was born. Moorehead hired Ryan McCarty to ingrain giving back into its own core values as a company, leading its 3,000 employees at 800 stores across the U.S. to do everything from dressing up as superheroes for a children’s hospital to distributing hundreds of thousands of backpacks for kids.
“When we initially embarked on this, we didn't have a fully baked plan but we knew that we wanted to go hyper-local and give each employee the opportunity to experience giving back personally,” says Moorehead. This wasn’t just about Moorehead writing a check, but instead going deep into the communities across 39 states where TCC had stores and learning more about the employees, customers and community.
The concept of connection became more apparent to McCarty and Moorehead as the program continued. Customers come into stores looking for a connection, literally and figuratively. Employees want to feel connected to something larger than themselves. The culture of good helped everyone feel more connected to each other and to a bigger purpose, one that helped teachers, children, veterans, the elderly, and all people in general. “Our promise is that we’re going to foster this connection and leave all stakeholders in a better place,” says McCarty.
Along the way, the success of their efforts turned what began as a program into a bona fide movement, including a book, bus tour and a full business that teaches other company leaders how to inspire their own employees in ways that positively impact their communities and bottom lines.
Four years since its launch, Culture of Good is an ongoing work in progress, as Moorehead and McCarty continue to refine the methodology. Their book, Build a Culture of Good, examines the positive results that are unleashed by letting employees “bring their soul to work.” As laid out in the forward by leadership thinker and New York Times bestselling author Marshall Goldsmith, the book shows executives that when people are engaged, they are committed, interested, active, productive—in short, they care. Build a Culture of Good showcases Moorehead’s and McCarty’s philosophy of creating a philanthropic mission that is deeply connected to every facet of the organization and demonstrates how this is good for customers, employees, and the community. (Portions of each book purchase are donated to charity.)
The 30-city “Culture of Good” bus tour was driven (literally) by the desire to share this philosophy with the world, transitioning the idea of Culture of Good from a concept to a full-blown operation designed to help others. Moorehead and McCarty now offer their wisdom as consultants, with a full product suite available soon that boils down to culture of good in a box, including digital delivery and video modules. The two “good guys” also make themselves available for keynotes.
“Executives at large companies are as interested or more as leaders of smaller businesses,” Moorehead notes. “Smaller company leaders tend to be more concerned with the dollars and how to scale this down, what this means per employee and then what the net benefits are to the company. We’ve shown over time how this culture of good approach drives business forward.”
Indeed. Under Scott’s direction as CEO, TCC has grown from annual revenues of $135 million to over $1 billion. TCC was named to the Inc. 500/5000 list of the nation’s fastest growing private companies for four consecutive years and has maintained a position in the rankings of the Hire Power Awards from Inc. Magazine as one of the country’s top job creators. Studies at TCC show how the program has reduced turnover and saved the company $5.8M per year in turnover costs. That same study on turnover and loyalty showed that for every dollar spent on culture of good effort, there is an average return of $10.
“This is a huge ROI,” says Moorehead. “What’s unique about this is that the positive impact on the business is not the endgame. Companies can do even greater good as their profits increase.”
McCarty and Moorehead believe that every company has a soul. The Culture of Good methodology helps companies figure out how to define their “why,” making sure that their cause is relevant to the intersection of employees and customers.
“If you can imagine three circles,” says McCarty, “the middle spot is the sweet spot, the soul of the company. The intersection between what matters to customers and employees as well as relevance to strategic intent.”
This sweet spot isn’t easy to figure out. “Many leaders stop short of looking at all three areas and only worry about one silo,” Moorehead notes.
A culture of good also helps provide a consistent foundation as companies grow. “As TCC started to evolve from a family organization in the Midwest into a larger operation, it made it hard to keep what was special about the company in first place,” Moorehead observes. “As we scale, we need something to centralize and keep us together. The culture of good connects us all together.”
One of the things that these “good guys” try to leave leaders with is the idea that CSR programs are good and have the best of intentions but it’s important to do more than write a big check. “Take that resource and give it to employees,” says McCarty. “Really help them discover their why and their purpose and what they are most passionate about. Align this to customers and a cause.”
“Identify why you’re in business to begin with,” says Moorehead. “Leverage your company to do good, and do that through your employees. It’s a win-win win for everyone.”