More and more companies have made values a part of the process for defining who they are and how they do business. Values can mean different things and serve different purposes, but the general idea is to create a better company and happier employees, which in turn pays dividends in many ways including to a business’s bottom line.
Forbes recently wrote about how Patagonia strove to expand its stated value in environmental sustainability to also include advancing diversity, inclusion and equity within the company. The goal was to engage employees and communities who typically overlooked outdoor lifestyle community, and to bring new life experiences, skill sets and diversity into the company as well as those communities. The company went through Talent Rewire Innovation Lab to partner with Washington, DC’s Latin American Youth Center. The objective was to pilot a 10-week initiative to work with four associates for the summer and then have them return during the holidays to work in the local store.
4 tips learned during this process
Everyone involves hailed the experience as positive one. Some of takeaways for Patagonia included:
- Find a good fit: Look for a partnership where the goals are complimentary, even it at first appears to favor the partner rather than the business.
- Learn from them: Businesses can look at how LAYC and other organizations work with clients and children to achieve positive results. The staff at LAYC was a particular resource.
- Communication is key: Like any relationship or business, communication is the key to success. Patagonia worked closely with the associates and the LAYC to get feedback and exchange information in a dynamic and nimble way.
- Find common ground: The partnership was based on human beings with different life experiences coming together to find common ground.
Change is good
Oftentimes new companies feel very much of the moment when they are launched. As these become successful and the years pass, it is often necessary to reignite inspiration as new generations of employees enter the workforce or rise through the company. Management is not entirely responsible for changing the mindset of older, slow to adapt or longtime employees, but fostering fresh ideas and new talent ensures the ongoing health of a business.