Jennifer Dunleavy built a successful small business placing executive-level finance, technical and management talent in some of the worlds largest corporations.
But then came the recession, and the staffing industry hit its toughest period in years.
It couldnt have been luck that got Dunleavys Raleigh-based Accuro Group through those tough times. Instead, it was an outpouring of support from corporate partners who brought on consultants even when they couldnt afford it, referred Accuro to new corporate clients and made introductions that would allow the firm even more business when the economy turned around.
Clients came out of the woodwork and helped us make business decisions that were very sustainable and smart, Dunleavy said. They were very loyal to us because we worked hard for them.
Dunleavy attributes that kindness and generosity to the company philosophy shes embraced since starting her firm a decade ago:
• Treat every stakeholder with respect and love.
• Align with companies that treat its workers with care and concern.
• Sign on jobseekers with honest ambition and drive to succeed.
• Collect a fee only when both parties are satisfied.
It also means taking the success of your employees upon yourself. Empower them to contribute to your business and develop in their own careers.
Whole Foods co-founder and CEO John Mackey has since named Dunleavys philosophy in his new book Conscious Capitalism. The most successful businesses have a higher purpose than profits, and the most successful leaders act as servants to employees, clients, suppliers, investors and the communities in which they operate.
Its about treating others as wed like to be treated, Dunleavy said. Its not difficult business, and in the long run, you become more successful and profitable.
Becky Jacobs has watched that philosophy play out in her unofficial role of global volunteer coordinator at Red Hat (her official role is senior director of global operations change management) and as incoming board chair of the Interfaith Food Shuttle.
Socially conscious employers empower their workers to get involved in the community, to lend an existing skill or learn a new one. Youre giving them opportunities to grow that dont require dollars or training, Jacobs said. And youre driving engagement and retention.
Jacobs plans about 10 community events a year for Red Hat employees and refers employees to nonprofits that fit their passions.
Jacobs is grateful for Red Hats support of her passions outside of her job. And shes more convinced than ever that social consciousness and community involvement are crucial in todays business world.
If you dont have a focus on being socially conscious, giving back to communities and doing things the right way, you lose your target market, Jacobs said. This is how you attract key talent.
Laura Baverman spent eight years covering business for Cincinnati newspapers before moving to Raleigh in 2012.