Jennifer Dunleavy built a successful small business placing executive-level finance, technical and management talent in some of the world’s largest corporations.
But then came the recession, and the staffing industry hit its toughest period in years.
It couldn’t have been luck that got Dunleavy’s 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 couldn’t 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 she’s embraced since starting her firm a decade ago: Treat every stakeholder with respect and love.
Align with companies that treat their workers with care and concern, sign on jobseekers with honest ambition and drive to succeed, and match the two groups through a process that ensures happiness and contentment on both ends. 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 Dunleavy’s 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.
“It’s about treating others as we’d like to be treated,” Dunleavy said. “It’s 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.
Conscious employers empower their workers to get involved in the community, to lend an existing skill or learn a new one.
“You’re giving them opportunities to grow that don’t require dollars or training, Jacobs said. “And you’re 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 Hat’s support of her passions outside of her job. And she’s more convinced than ever that social consciousness and community involvement are crucial in today’s business world.
“If you don’t 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.”