Do We Practice What We Preach?

Putting Gravity's culture to the ethical test

At Gravity, we’ve stressed the importance of running a purpose-driven company who puts their clients and people before profit. With policies such as a $70,000 minimum wage and open paid time off, our goal is to remove distractions from our team’s life so they can thrive. Giving our team the best life possible and ensuring our clients are supported is just common sense. But, what else are we doing to make sure we’re running an ethical business?

We found a study that lays out three different factors that determine whether or not a company has high ethical standards. The first factor is if a company has a culture where employees aren’t retaliated against for reporting concerns. The second is how employees are rewarded for how they accomplish tasks. The third factor is the actual action taken to resolve ethical issues when they arise.

So, let’s put Gravity to the test. Are we practicing what we preach?

Does Gravity encourage a culture where our team feels like they have a safe environment to express their concerns and provide honest feedback?

Our CEO, Dan Price, has said publically, “A person on the Gravity team will never be fired or punished in any way for sharing the truth.”

Dan understands there is an explicit power difference between him as a CEO and the person that’s actually working with him. He recognizes it takes a tremendous amount of effort on his part to give our team the confidence and trust to provide him honest feedback.

“People aren’t going to believe you when you say, ‘You can tell me the truth.’ You have to show them with your actions. You have to continually push the boundaries of being creative and figuring out different ways to show them that it’s OK. And it’s not one thing. You have to try everything you can.” – Dan Price

A measure we’ve put in place to provide feedback is a service called TINYpulse which sends out a weekly one-question survey to our entire team. The questions vary from how our leadership team is performing to personal development opportunities to how happy they are at work. There is also an area for suggestions that have helped improve our culture. Check out this blog post for how TINYpulse has worked for Gravity.

On a semi-annual basis, each member on our team has a one-on-one conversation with someone on our HR Team. During the discussion, they have the opportunity to provide feedback on their personal and professional development at the company, what they think Gravity can do to remain successful, how Gravity’s culture can improve, and much more.

How is the Gravity team rewarded for what they accomplish?

Often, organizations don’t reward their employees on ethics because it can be difficult to measure. But, it’s less about rewarding ethical conduct and more about NOT rewarding an employee when corners have been cut or standards aren’t met in order to just “check-a-box”.

Also, we 100 percent do not believe you should do something just because someone told you to do it. We don’t believe you should do something because it’s the “easy way out”. As one of our reps told us:

In some situations, we have resistance to our method of consulting with a client. That can incentivize us to do things the easy way. It’s in those times where it is worth the effort to do it the correct way, even if it’s harder. If we don’t do it with a consultative approach, we might allow a potential client to make an incorrect decision that could really hurt their business.

That’s one of the main reasons why we don’t have a commissioned Sales Team at Gravity. We find incentivizing them for making a sale sends the wrong message. If we did it that way, they’d only be incentivized to make as many sales as possible, instead of building long-term relationships with our clients. Our entire sales model is dependent on making sure our independent business owner clients feel as supported as possible.

Finally, how does Gravity take action when ethical issues arise?

We believe there is a moral imperative that comes with leadership to do what’s right for those you are leading and those you’ve made promises to. We’re responsible for making sure our team is growing and improving.

Understanding those two things was a major motivation behind Dan instituting a $70,000 minimum wage. As he put it:

I started my business because I wanted to stick up for the little guy. I wanted to help independent businesses. Eventually, that grew to the folks at Gravity being the little guy, too. Did I really mean what I said or was I like everyone else? The fact that I could get away with paying people less and raking it in for myself did not mean that was OK to do. I realized it was a character test.

Dan was faced with an ethical issue, but, he knew what he had to do.

On April 13, 2015, he announced to a room of 120-team members that he was implementing a living wage of $70,000 for everyone in the company effective immediately. Most people know what happened after that.

We know there are a lot of great, ethical companies out there who are putting purpose before profit. We want to keep ourselves in check and make sure we’re not losing sight of what we stand for.

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